Did you know that signing with an agent doesn't guarantee your book will be sold to a publisher? 8 True and Hard Agent Facts.
1. At the querying level...get ready: 99% of manuscripts are rejected by agents. Through talking with a few agents and assistants I have found that most stuff in the slushpile are novels that have not been polished. Contrary to popular belief, although agents work with clients to get their book ready for submission, they want polished work. Which means getting at least a beta reader or critique partner and an editor in most cases.
2. Of those agents that have signed you as a client, typically they sell three out of five projects which means that only 60% of the signed clients find homes for their book. This means just because you find an agent doesn't mean you find a publisher. Agents sign you for the potential of you MS.
3. An agent sells to editors but editors also have to "sell" the books to their teams which includes the publisher itself, possibly a sales or marketing team and many others who have to be on board for transaction.
4. There is no guarantee which publisher will take you on once you have an agent. It could be a small or mid size press you could have acquired on your own or a big publisher.
5. Your agent will take between 10-15% of your already low royalties. "Literary agents exist to get you into big presses that require one. After all, most small presses pay in royalties only, and those agents will be taking a chunk of those royalties."
6. You’ll have to wait twice as long before your book is published, because an agent "...will make you jump through some hoops before sending your book to a publishing house, which will make you jump through some more hoops."
7. Don't quit your day job. If you do sign you are not getting money right away. Any advances will be against future royalties and on average are between $1,000-15,000 for debut authors and usually nothing for small/mid size presses.
8. Reality check: 95% of published books sell fewer than 5,000 copies.