I hear from a lot of writers these days who either want an agent or wonder if they should want one. For the rest of this month I'm going to deal with some of the issues/information that you need to know about agents.
* First, realize that many agents will not even consider an author who has no track record, so with a first book you may need to just approach publishers on your own.
* When you approach an agent for the first time, most will want to know you have a completed manuscript--not just a proposal. This is especially true for fiction.
* If you plan to get an agent, you must do it before you start approaching editors. An agent is not going to want to take on a book that has already been shopped around.
* If you have already approached publishers on your own and found one who is interested or has offered you a contract, at that point you might want to seek the help of an agent to represent you and negotiate the contract. Of course, this offer needs to be from a royalty publisher--not a subsidy one.
* More to come.