No. It’s a valid question, but there’s definitely an important distinction between a literary agent and Pubmission.
Literary agents act solely on a writer’s behalf. They help writers connect with publishers and negotiate contracts.
Like an agent, Pubmission helps writers connect with publishers (and literary agents), but the site’s primary goal is to act as an arbitrator between writers and acquiring editors/agents. It serves both parties equally. In real estate terms, we would be more akin to a dual agent (not a double agent, though that would be cool).
This is what sets Pubmission apart from other sites that let writers “display” their works. Because I was an acquisitions editor, I’ve tailored the site’s services to assist publishers and agents as well as writers. It allows them to transition their current submissions to the digital format offered on Pubmission.com. The last thing they want is a second slush pile! And that’s why other sites are ineffective.
If Pubmission doesn’t help publishing professionals, then it can’t help you. It’s that simple. You could post your work on one of our competitor’s sites, but all you can do is hope editors want to use their limited spare time to look for your submission in addition to their regular slush-pile reading.
So Do I Need a Literary Agent If I Use Pubmission?
It’s up to you. In addition to helping you find a publisher, they also handle the delicate negotiations that occur once a writer is offered a contract. Before big publishers started closing their doors to unsolicited manuscripts, I’d say this was their primary responsibility.
Contract negotiations can be lengthy and difficult to navigate. If you’re unfamiliar with a publishing contract and you sign on the dotted line because you’re just so excited about seeing your book in print, there’s a chance you might be giving away the farm. Publishers don’t design their contracts to benefit writers—and nor should they.
I’m not saying most publishers are out to swindle you, but there are nuts and bolts in a typical contract that are certainly teetering in their favor. I’ve written a few of these contracts myself.
But if you have someone on your side to help you negotiate, you can shift the balance a bit (particularly if you’re a good writer).
Don’t forget that it is my goal to have agents subscribing to Pubmission as well as publishers. Agents are swamped with slush piles, too. If an agent contacts you via Pubmission, rejoice. A good, reputable agent (and only reputable agents will be allowed on the site) can do wonders for you.
Agents: what are your thoughts on this? Do you see Pubmission as way to help you manage your slush piles or are you happy with your own system? I recently spoke with an agent at the SC Book Festival who said that he preferred to have the printed query letter in his hand because he could automatically tell the quality of the writer by how she formatted it. Is this true for you as well?