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How do I know if I need an agent to represent my book?

There are advantages to having an agent—agents have extensive contacts with editors already, they will handle the financial aspects of a prospective deal, and they will be able to negotiate potentially confusing contractual terms such as subsidiary rights. The thing is, for most academic books, including those intended for a broad audience, you are going to be able to negotiate the terms that are most important to you directly with your editor. Our contracts are fairly standard across the board, and they are intended to share your book’s success with you in every way and to protect both parties throughout the process. Editors are also very well versed in the language of their contracts and will gladly explain anything confusing. In the majority of cases, you should be able to find a good home for your manuscript and agree on the contract on your own. Ask your published peers working in the same subject area about their experiences and pay attention to your rapport with the editors you are in touch with. Pick the best publisher for your book based on its strength in your field, your relationship with the editor, and the strength of its offer.

—NYU Press, November 2020