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Q. Do I need an agent before I start sending my work out to a publisher?

A. The short answer is no, you donít need an agent, but your chances of standing out from the crowd will be much increased if you do have one- a good one, that is. Most decent publishers get up to 50 submissions a day from unknown authors- and some admit that they donít pay much attention to these, agentís submissions taking preference. Publishers often see agents as Ďweeding outí the best from the bunch, but sometimes, editorial assistants will have the job of reading through unsolicited manuscripts, just on the offchance that a new bestseller is lurking there. Donít forget that J K Rowland was turned down by countless publishers before hitting the big time- this has happened to many now-famous authors, so publishers are more wary. The bottom line is; agents give you respectability, use their contacts and are more likely to get you a result, but donít give up if you donít get one.
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