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How Do You Find A Reputable Agent/Publishing Firm?

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by DPayne, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. DPayne

    DPayne Dreamer


    I am new here and new-ish to writing. I've been looking for an agent/publisher to get things rolling. I recently came in contact from a company but what struck me as odd was that I had yet to start my book. When I went to the website I saw that they offered publishing packages ranging from $580-ish to $11000 that I would have to pay up front. This screamed scam to me. So I was wondering, how do you find an agent or company that is reputable and not going to screw you over?

  2. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    Google helps. There are tons of reputable people out there publishing. I've done my own legwork finding them. Yes, it's time consuming compiling lists of publishers, but it's worth it in the end.

    The number 1 rule of thumb is this: never pay anyone to be your literary agent. That's not how most of the reputable ones work. If you're serious about publishing, buying the most up-to-date Writer's Market book is always a good investment. They'll weed out most of the crap for you.

    Here are some other sources (the top 2 searches on Google):

    Literary agents directory - find an agent on WritersNet

    AgentQuery :: Find the Agent Who Will Find You a Publisher
  3. DPayne

    DPayne Dreamer

    Thank you for the information.

  4. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror


    To add to what Phil the Drill said:

    Don't pay any company to publish your novel, especially thousands of dollars. You could self-publish and do better, even paying for quality cover art and a solid editor.

    Most traditional publishers/agents have far more submissions--good ones--than they could ever publish/reprsent, so going out and beating the bushes to find writers to submit and publish/represent is a red flag.

    A couple of places to do a little research to start:

    Preditors & Editors

    SFWA's Writer Beware

    Absolute Write (the Beware, Background Check and Recommendation section)

    Don't be in a major rush to decide on submitting to an agent(s)/publisher(s). A week or two of research will pay off and in the big scheme of publishing and a career, a few weeks is nothing in that timeline.

    Good luck moving forward.

  5. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

    I second Absolute Write (the Watercooler has threads on many agents) and AgentQuery. I used these two resources when compiling my own list of agents to submit to.
  6. DPayne

    DPayne Dreamer

    Thanks guys :)
  7. MAndreas

    MAndreas Troubadour

    Howdy :) Two really good places to find agents are agent query and query tracker. You'll just need to Google them as this system doesn't want to let my post links ;).

    But both are free and very handy. And yes- DO NOT pay an agent or publisher.

  8. The Dark One

    The Dark One Inkling

    I would even query why you want an agent in these days of profound change.

    In fact I do have an agent myself, but she's done virtually nothing for me so far - the two books I have published were done via my own efforts. The only reason, I suspect, that she took me on was because I'd already managed to get published by myself.

    The pro of having an agent (especially a big agent - mine is one of the biggest in Australia) is that if she walks through a publisher's door with my ms it will be 5000 times more likely to be published than if I send it in myself. The con of having an agent is that until you are big and famous they will have very little time for you and your work. You can't send it out yourself (because that's unprofessional) so you have to wait until she has time for you. Of course you can always sack such an agent, but then you're back at square one. (Of course, it would be unprofessional in the extreme to approach another agent while still contracted with the first.)

    But do you really need an agent? With the publishing paradigm changing so profoundly - the inevitable trend seems to be towards all books being sold as ebooks but also available POD for a much higer price. The people who will be cut out of this model are the traditional bookshops, the distributors, the mass printers and, possibly, the agents.

    As the new model becomes normative there's going to be a mad scramble for talent. Online only publishers with high standards and production values are already springing up and traditional publishers are moving heaven and earth to get their titles online. With the major costs disappearing from the print model, publishers will be freed up to publish more of the writers upon whom they couldn't afford to take a risk under the print model - so we're likely to see a lot more new voices.

    They will still be discerning. The risk for publishers in the online world is mostly to reputation; ie by publishing too much crap in the desire to find that next voice that really resonates with readers (and more reading will be done as the price of ebooks plummets). Publishers will see themselves as islands of quality in an ocean of mediocrity, but there will still be a lot more room for the unpublished than there was under the print paradigm. Many good writers have been rejected in the past purely because the publisher couldn't afford the risk of another cost centre. Now they will not be rejected (plenty of big publishers have recently opened up their doors again to unsolicited submissions) at least on that basis.

    For the talented writer, it is suddenly an exciting time and full of opportunity. I don't know how much room there is for agents in an increasingly online writers' market.
  9. Talespinner

    Talespinner Dreamer

    I second SFWA's Writer Beware and Preditors and Editors. Both are useful sites. And I know it's been stated several times but I reiterate, never pay a publisher to publish your work, they should be paying you.

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