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Do you really need an agent?


Many agents and editors attend writers conferences where pitch sessions are offered (usually for an additional fee). The author in question often sends their synopsis, first chapter or ten pages, or whatever is requested ahead of time, and then has 10 minutes to speak with the agent/editor. Sometimes it's just a session where the author sits down and pitches their novel, with maybe the agent/editor scanning the synopsis there on the spot.

I had one coworker that landed a contract with a major agent that represents authors who've been best sellers and had movies made from publications. I've stumbled across a few other authors at SF/Fantasy conventions that met an agent/editor that way. However, I've heard more often that a personal introduction by an established author to their agent is a route to success. I've only ever come across two authors that I can remember who landed an agent and then a publishing deal (they were speaking on a panel) where they went the query/slush pile route to an agent.