Literary agents, by their very nature, have highly symbiotic relationships with authors: when an author does well, their literary agent does well; and when an author does not do well, a literary agent does not stand to benefit from that. So it stands to reason that a literary agent would not seek to tarnish a relationship with an author, especially because our work is commission-based, or performance-based.
Most book publishers, especially major trade book publishers such as big five publishing companies, do not want to hear from first time authors directly. Those publishing companies tend to prefer that authors work with literary agents that know their way around the business. For that reason and many other reasons, literary agents remain the gatekeepers of the book publishing industry. Read More.