If you want a career in traditional publishing you’re going to need a literary agent. What you might not yet know is why or how.
In short, a literary agent is the person in your career who can do the things you can’t. And that goes well beyond the contacts a literary agent has. Sure, a literary agent will get your book into the hands of editors, but what happens next, and could you handle that on your own? Or, more importantly, should you handle it on your own?
The most important things a literary agent can do, and does, is understand the business, negotiate contracts, know not just which editors, but which would be the right editors.
As with many things in life, we hire or bring on experts because we don’t know everything. Doctors will always be a better alternative to WebMD and when it comes to complicated business taxes, an account is your person.
As a professional writer it will be important for you to learn as much as you can about the business. It’s also important to hire people you trust to help you through the stuff you just can’t do yourself.