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  1. #1
    Senior Member L C's Avatar
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    The benefit of an agent for a nonfiction author

    As in, is there one? What does a nonfic agent do for you that a literary lawyer can't, for less? Just wondering.



  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by L C View Post
    As in, is there one? What does a nonfic agent do for you that a literary lawyer can't, for less? Just wondering.
    Haven't we been through this several times? A lawyer isn't going to either find a publisher for you or help with the marketing of your book. They are going to give you legal advice (at great expense) when you make an appointment with them. That doesn't having anything to do with connecting to a publisher or marketing a book. You already have a good publisher on the string who you can trust to market you without prodding? Then hire a lawyer to advise you on the contract (but better get an entertainment lawyer, which are rare, or they won't know what to look for in the contract). Otherwise, you'd be better having an agent.

  3. #3
    Senior Member L C's Avatar
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    I'm thinking that's more applicable to fiction. Nonfic is surprisingly easy to sell on your own. At least it has been for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by L C View Post
    I'm thinking that's more applicable to fiction. Nonfic is surprisingly easy to sell on your own. At least it has been for me.
    Nonfiction is agented at the top of the pile too. And most of the bottom of the pile is academic presses, where agents rarely play (there not being any money in it) the author isn't going to be getting enough money to worry about a lawyer--and, in fact, has to bring grant money in to get published to begin with.

    But, yes, in any (rare) situation where the publisher has dropped in the author's lap, a lawyer (if you can find one who actually understands publishing terms and workings) would be as useful as an agent.

  5. #5
    Senior Member L C's Avatar
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    I agree that agents get your stuff seen faster; I've experienced that first hand. I wasn't referring to academic publishing, though, which is really borderline vanity publishing. It just seems that publishers are more open for direct submissions for nonfiction work. Trying to get fiction published must be a nightmare.

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    Quote Originally Posted by L C View Post
    I agree that agents get your stuff seen faster; I've experienced that first hand. I wasn't referring to academic publishing, though, which is really borderline vanity publishing. It just seems that publishers are more open for direct submissions for nonfiction work. Trying to get fiction published must be a nightmare.
    I'm not sure what you mean by publishers being more open for direct submissions. More open than when? Is this being documented somewhere? Most nonfiction publishers I know about are developing their own authors, which is direct, yes, but a submissions process driven by them approaching the authors--inviting targeted submissions--rather than the other way around.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Susan B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L C View Post
    I wasn't referring to academic publishing, though, which is really borderline vanity publishing.
    Why? I know several people who have published academic books and all of them are dedicated professionals who write articulately about their subject with a genuine interest in sharing knowledge. There's no money in it for them. It's the epitome of integrity in writing- not what I understand vanity publishing to be at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Susan B View Post
    Why? I know several people who have published academic books and all of them are dedicated professionals who write articulately about their subject with a genuine interest in sharing knowledge. There's no money in it for them. It's the epitome of integrity in writing- not what I understand vanity publishing to be at all.
    Vanity isn't the right term for academic publishing, I don't think. Academics are required to publish to get tenure and to maintain professional standing. It's not being done for their vanity; it's being done to get their knowledge out beyond their classroom/institution and to help them keep current--and to keep their jobs (and to enhance the reputations of their institutions).

  9. #9
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    Anyone can send anything directly to any publisher. There's no law that says you need an agent. Agents, however, get you READ before your ms grows mildew buried at the bottom of a slush pile.

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