Do Non-fiction Books Need Agents?

Hi Angela,

I’m writing a nonfiction book and am presently looking for an agent through The Association of Authors’ Representatives, Inc. I believe you gave me that great tip.

However, I recently heard that an author of a nonfiction book does not necessarily need an agent, but can go directly to a publisher.

Do you suggest getting an agent for nonfiction books? Or sending the book proposal directly to a publisher?

Thank you — for everything!!


Some publishers only accept manuscripts from literary agents while others accept them from authors.

Having a really good agent can get your foot in the door at a traditional publisher’s office faster than trying to do it yourself.

That said, there is no licensing requirement for literary agents and anybody can call themselves a literary agent. So, it’s best to only approach ones that not only belong to professional associations, like The Association of Authors’ Representatives (AAR), but also to only choose an agent who has many sales to traditional publishers under their belt.

You should do thorough research because some agents may falsify their sales records and some actually claim to have landed publishing contracts for their clients…but research has shown they actually “landed” a fee-based (POD or other vanity publishing service) “publishing contract” for their clients and some even own those fee-based publishing services!

Unfortunately, there are so many inexperienced and/or bad agents out there now that the really good ones are a rare find.