Well, this is a question I have been asked many times over the past twelve months, and particularly since I got accepted for publication with Harlequin Special Edition last November. I write category romance, and traditionally writers of this genre haven’t needed an agent as manuscripts can be submitted directly to Harlequin and through their ‘slush’ pile, awaiting the opportunity to get noticed by an editor. I fast tracked myself through this process (after 20+ yrs of submitting via the slush pile) by winning an RWA chapter contest and getting a request and then another request some months later for revisions. During this time I also signed with my agent, Scott Eagan at Greyhaus Literary Agency. Why? Because I wanted to be part of team with someone who would advocate my stories and whose work ethic and approach to the business of writing was like my own. Publishing is a tough business and there are countless aspiring authors out there aiming for their break, their ‘call’. Does having an agent make it easier to get published? I’m not sure. The books still need to be written – and that’s the job of the writer. However, having an agent means I have a strong support network with someone who is an industry professional who knows the publishing business and who can steer me to make the best possible choices and decisions in my career.
My advice to anyone looking for or submitting to agents – do your homework and find someone who connects with your work, and with you.