Reflections by award-winning maritime historian Joan Druett, author of many books about the sea
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Saturday, May 3, 2014
Do authors need agents?
Dana Beth Weinberg on Digital Book World has produced fascinating conclusions and data from a recent author survey
The appraisals of the value of agents was indeed quite high, with over 80% of published authors agreeing that agents are worth their commissions. However, a minority of published authors in the sample, only 9.3% currently had an agent.
Authors who had only traditionally published were the most likely to have an agent currently, 16.1%, and authors who had only indie-published were the least likely, 1.6%. Hybrid authors, who are both traditionally published and self-published, were more likely than the other types of published authors to have had agents in the past but to have parted ways, 20.6%.
Given the rosy estimates of what agents can do for authors, one might expect the proportion of published authors seeking literary agents to be quite high. However, just over a third of unagented published authors, 37.7%, are actively seeking agents: 35.2% indie-only, 45.5% traditional-only, and 37.13% hybrid.
In total, 39% of the published authors in the sample have discarded the prevailing wisdom and opted out of the agent search, never having submitted their work to literary agents and not seeking one at the time. Of these, about two thirds, 67.5%, were indie-only authors.