Terra Chalberg of the Susan Golomb Literary Agency

Terra Chalberg of the Susan Golomb Literary Agency

Agent Advice

Posted 6.3.13

How widely should a writer be published and how large a body of work should she accumulate before it is time to consider finding an agent?

Karin from
West Sacramento,
CA
Chalberg & Sussman
115 West 29 Street
Third Floor
New York, NY 10001

There’s no hard-and-fast rule. You don’t even need an agent to get your novel published. Independent and university presses publish amazing writers, and some people self-publish. You need an agent for countless other reasons, including protecting your intellectual property. Reputable journals or independent presses that get review and award attention can help build a consensus about your work before you go to an agent. But there are also writers who skip directly to getting an agent for their novel, selling it to a big house, without building a body of work beforehand. Frequently this work attracts an agent because it has clear commercial appeal. Regardless of your individual path, publishing professionals notice good writing and want to be a part of bringing it to the rest of the world. Approach an agent when you are confident your work reflects what you want it to, but wait until you have a complete draft or complete proposal.

Current Issue

Cover Story 

Our Independent Publishing Issue features an in-depth interview with Graywolf Press editor Jeff Shotts; a look at the successful partnerships of eleven small-press authors and their editors; a profile of indie essayist Charles D'Ambrosio; Donald Hall recalls a golden age of American poetry; best-selling author Miranda Beverly-Whittemore on the rewards of self-promotion; advice for self-published authors; a conversation with Guernica publisher Lisa Lucas; and much more.

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