We pass this article out to prospective clients. It ran in 2004, but is just as relevant today as it was then.
Who Needs an Agent? You Do!
By RACHEL TOOR
I had dinner recently with an eminent academic, a person whose book has been getting a lot of popular attention. We discussed his readings and radio appearances, chatted about the fact that the paperback was in its fourth printing. Finally I asked who represented him.
"Who's your agent?"
He looked at me like I'd asked if he paid for sex.
"Why give away 10 percent of my earnings to an agent?"
First I had to point out that, in fact, the going rate for most literary agents is now 15 percent.
Then I realized that this author, a senior professor at a fancy-pants university, long published by trade presses, well established in his field, had no earthly idea what literary agents do,...