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To Query an Agent or Not?

Now that I have polished manuscripts, I am ready to see if my work is ‘publishable.” I set a goal to start querying publishing houses August 1st. So, any publishing houses that align with the theme/genre/mission of my book, will be on my list.

Except for one big thing…

I can only apply for houses who accept unsolicited submissions.


Unsolicited meaning... I don’t have an agent so I can only apply to those that allow “cold calls”, essentially.

That narrows my list significantly but still offers opportunity.

However, the deeper I get into this process, the more I wonder if I should query for agent representation first.

I am still working through this but, ultimately, I think it is a good idea for a few reasons...

  • More opportunities offered for publication

  • Knowledge of ins/outs of publishing houses

  • Contract assistance

  • Representation/growth in career

It seems like an obvious choice, right?

I mean, it’s already hard enough to get noticed as a debut author…

I read an article that likened a literary agent to a real estate agent. They get a cut but help you showcase and sell your book for the best deal to the best fit publishing house. The alternative is selling it yourself

– “for sale by owner” aka submitting to publishers directly.

Okay - this is helpful to visualize.


There are a few smaller publishing houses that I follow and really respect. I love the mission and community-feel that some of the mid-size houses offer to authors. But I guess I can talk to an agent about those houses - if I gain representation.

I will make my decision in the next week or so… I am attending a children's book conference this weekend which will offer further clarification.


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