Do you need a Literary Agent to get PublishedNeed a frahling to be published?
But why a writer needs a wife
Nowadays many of these older publishing houses survived only as prints of gigantic conglomerations. As a result of these fusions, the number of journalists has decreased, even though publishing houses are producing more and more of them. Critical writers who have to spend their day on administration and postpone their day on night and weekend just don't have enough to click through the entries.
Increasingly, they are relying on an agent as a filter mechanis. In the meantime, many large publishing houses have completely shut down their prints. As the number of prints that are accepted by accidental entries dwindles, they have minimum precedence. You may be contacted for a year or more, and the individual looking at your entry will probably not be an editorial clerk, but an apprentice or an aide.
Or in other words, no matter how good your script is, there will always be an writer with an agent in front of you. There has also been a shift in the agency industry in reaction to the changes in this area. Many, many more operatives than a few decade-long ago, and they have far more powers (this shift is reflected in the shadows of the deceptive and inefficient operatives, where the number of operatives has also grown enormously.
In the 1980s, agent fraud was uncommon; today it is widespread. It is no longer the case (if it ever was) that incumbent agencies have no interest in authors who have no success story of the release, or who do not have a publisher agreement in their hands. Indeed, most first purchases, at least to the major players, are handled by intermediaries.
Smaller, independant publishing houses will still be happy to deal with the work of unknown authors. However, if your aim is to resell to one of the major publishing houses, your effort is better to look for an agent than to turn directly to the few impressions that are considering unintentional work. Finding an agent can take a long while, but if you do, he or she can reduce editors' reply times to a bare minimum and it is equally important to get your script straight to the desktop of an editors who can seriously consider it.