Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Forget Agents...They Are A Waste Of Time and Money

I have seen in the last couple of days a lot of people posting on social media, Twitter and the like about how agents are really a thing of the past. In today's climate, you really don't need to have an agent to be successful.

And they are right. 

As I reviewed the people writing these articles and making these proclamations, they are 100% right. They do not need an agent. Agents really are a waste of time and money.

And I know you are waiting for the bomb to drop here. You can't be expecting an agent to write a post saying that his job is useless. So yes, here comes the twist to the story.

As I reviewed these authors, there are a lot of trends that you have to ask yourself if you fit into their mold. 

First of all, many of these people who have dumped the "agent" route or even the traditional publishing route already have a career. They already have a following. And, when I talk about a following, I am not talking about some wimpy group of people who follow you on Facebook. These are people who have hit the REAL  New York Times and USA Today Best Selling List multiple times. I say REAL because we know of the hidden additional list that few can ever find and know of. These are the authors who have had many years with multiple book contracts. 

Think about it. When you see your favorite author come out with a new book, are you looking to see who published it? Probably not. For many of these people, they have skipped out on all of the traditional approaches and doing it 100% on their own. 

Secondly, these people have the time to do all of that marketing and publishing stuff. I found many who had no kids left in the house, a husband or wife making all of the money so they could simply just write and do their own thing. It is amazing how much you can get done when you have no other obligations such as work, kids and so forth. 

Next, these people, because of the time they have spent in the business with the agents and editors KNOW THE BUSINESS. They understand contract law. They understand how to get those books to the book buyers and sellers. They know how to promote beyond simply your "Join My Newsletter " promotions you use on Facebook and the like. Because of that time spent, they have made those connections.

They have also not cut those connections to traditional publishing. It is amazing how many of them still "dabble in that business." Look, once the contracts are up and rolling, it is easy to just stick to what you have, continue to write adequate books and not have to do anything with new contracts.

Finally, many  (I started to say all but I could not go that far), they are nice people. Because they have not burned any bridges, those book sellers, the reviewers and the like are still willing to do a lot of things for you. When they call their editors, they are able to get many of the changes they wanted because they have played nice and they have not been jerks along the way. They have proven to the world that they can be trusted.

In other words, do you really need an agent. No. Not if you can fit that mold of the authors I have talked about so far.


If you still need someone to play "good cop, bad cop" for you in negotiations.
If you still need someone to translate those ugly contracts.
If you still need someone to help  you with career planning. 
If you... I think you get the idea....

Then you might not be ready to throw out that whole "agent thing."


  1. Two things stood out in your post: Agents and editors KNOW THE BUSINESS and not burned bridges.

    One of the joys of being older and wiser, at least for me, is knowing when to keep my mouth shut. The other two joys are listening and learning.

    I have met highly intelligent agents and publishers. I cannot get enough of listening to what they know. Am I doing this for the sake of my novel....well, I wouldn't say no if they offered. But for the most part I want to learn the business and, it's a good idea to have them on my side.

    Good stuff, Scott. As always, great insight.

  2. Hummm....

    I love’s theriputic for me...but have BILLS.

    15% less than what I can get paid WITH an agent will ALWAYS be 99% more than I get without one. :-)

    Besides, I never want to be the kind of person who believes I know everything about everything. I’m going to leave all the business aspects of writing to the experts.