I have been lurking over the Getting Published thread, seeing the topic lightly touched on, and I wanted to get a discussion going solely on the subject. I spoke to my cousin who has been an author for 20+ years, writing non-fiction historical books about the mid-west (mainly used for higher education and hobby reading). His advice was, "if you can get a fiction published without an agent, do so. If by chance your sales pass the medium to best selling mark, than consider it". His reasoning behind this is because he has only made a partial income over the years from his historical books, his best being just over 18k, while maintaining full time work. Allowing a agent to cut an 8-12% out of it would just be too much. However, I explained to him (his works aside) that an agent serves a promotional role of said work, thus creating a potential for greater sales. Now there have been several well known authors that have published unagented in their humble beginnings, S. King being one that comes to mind, while others have chosen an agent. What are your thoughts?