I'll bet you're reading this blog to get the down and dirty, to hear what someone else really thinks. Right? Well, okay. Pull up a chair and let's talk. I'll tell you exactly why I'm darned glad to have my agent and why I'd be shaking in my boots to go it alone. You might be like me, or you might not. I'm not saying my way is right for everyone, just one author's point of view.
#1 reason why Angie needs an agent: I drove a Saturn for 12 years
How is this relevant, you say? Well, dear reader, besides the fact that my little Saturn was gold, cute and got great gas mileage, I bought that car because I didn't want to negotiate. I can't stand going back and forth with a car salesman on a price, always second guessing myself, wondering if I'm making the best deal. After I bought that Saturn, I kept it for more than a decade - for the same reason.
As you can imagine, this makes me a very bad person to negotiate my own book contracts. Not only is there more emotion involved in a book I love vs buying a huge chunk of metal, I actually know less about book contracts that I know about cars.
Yet my agent lives for this. She loves it. I can hear it in her voice when we're in book negotiations. It goes something like this:
Me: Err…any news? (even talking about negotiations can make me queasy)
Jessica: (gives update with glee)
Me: When do you think we'll have a deal? (when will this be over?)
Jessica: I'll keep you updated. Just keep writing.
And I do, because that's what I like to do. Jessica worries about the contracts because that's her area of expertise. Thank goodness.
Plus, even though contracts are written in English, it doesn't always feel that way. As I work my way through the details, Jessica is right there to answer my questions and explain just how we can hammer out a contract that works for everyone. I always appreciate how smoothly things go, and I'll bet my publisher does too.
So can you be a successful author without an agent? Sure. Would I recommend it? Not if you drive a Saturn.