“…because the publishing companies I’m querying don’t require agents.”
Hear me roar. Loudly.
It doesn’t matter whether the publishers you’re querying are open to anyone or not. If they offer you a contract, you need an agent.
Let me say that again.
YOU NEED AN AGENT.
We allow authors to query us directly, but that doesn’t mean I don’t hope and pray that an author I offer a contract to will rush out and get representation. There is nothing worse than trying to negotiate a contract with an inexperienced author. Plain and simple, you simply don’t know what points are negotiable, and what points are hands off.
I’ve seen more deals go south because the inexperienced author screwed the pooch, and the acquiring editor decided drinking poison was preferable to trying to convince an author why she couldn’t have 2,000 free copies.
Don’t make us drink poison. If a publisher offers you a contract, get yourself a good agent…A GOOD AGENT…who can negotiate on your behalf. It is literally the difference between being published, and being told to go forth and multiply with the Pillsbury Dough Boy.