The Value of Agent-Assisted Self-Publishing

Writer's Digest October 2014

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.]

Also related: Agent-Assisted Self-Publishing and the Amazon White Glove Program

Posted in Publishing Industry and tagged , , .
Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman

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 co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors.

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. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (March 2018).

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.

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[…] Read my feature article for Writer's Digest magazine that explores the intersection of literary agents and self-publishing  […]

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[…] figure out whether an agent is worth their commission when it comes to self-publishing, be sure to ask some key questions. Usually, the author will be expected to cover self-publishing costs, but sometimes agents will be […]

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