Last year, I wrote a feature article for Writer’s Digest magazine that explored the intersection of literary agents and self-publishing. I researched how literary agents are helping their established clients who self-publish, as well as when or how they offer services to new authors whose work doesn’t find a traditional publisher. I also addressed how authors benefit (or not) by having an agent help them.
Before self-publishing with an agent’s assistance, ask the following questions:
- Who covers the costs associated with self-publishing? In most cases, the author covers the cost, but sometimes the agent will cover expenses and deduct them from the author’s earnings.
- Who controls rights to the self-published work? (It should be the author.)
- How long must you commit to giving the agent 15 percent of sales on the work? (It shouldn’t be indefinitely.)
- How/when can the agreement be terminated?
To learn more about assisted self-publishing with agents, as well as a list of agencies that offer such services, read my full article, now available for free at Writer’s Digest.]
Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.
In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.
Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.