Negotiating Key Points in Literary Agent-Author Relationships | Law Journal Newsletters
It's why I always encourage authors to think carefully about what they need in a literary agent. I consider myself a good agent, having done this. Several of the same concepts that are in agreements between performing artists and managers also apply to agreements between authors and. Ah, the ubiquitous dance between querying an agent and the moment you start picking out curtains together. It's a frightening time, somewhere.
Literary agents often transition from jobs in other aspects of the publishing industry. Though self-publishing is becoming much more popular, literary agents still fulfill a useful role as gatekeepers to publishing houses. Diversity[ edit ] Literary agencies can range in size from a single agent who represents perhaps a dozen authors, to a substantial firm with senior partners, sub-agents, specialists in areas like foreign rights or licensed merchandise tie-ins, and clients numbering in the hundreds.
Literary agent - Wikipedia
Most agencies, especially smaller ones, specialize to some degree. They may represent—for example—authors of science fiction, mainstream thrillers and mysteries, children's books, romance, or highly topical nonfiction. Very few agents represent short stories or poetry.
Legitimate agents and agencies in the book world are not required to be members of the Association of Authors' Representatives AARbut according to Writer's Market listings, many agents in the United States are. To qualify for AAR membership, agents must have sold a minimum number of books and pledge to abide by a Canon of Ethics.
Cost[ edit ] Legitimate agents do not charge reading or other upfront fees e. Querying[ edit ] A client typically establishes a relationship with an agent through querying, though the two may meet at a writers' conference, through a contest, or in other ways.
Negotiating Key Points in Literary Agent-Author Relationships
A query is an unsolicited proposal for representation, either for a finished work or unfinished work. Various agents request different elements in a query packet, and most agencies list their specific submission requirement on their Website or in their listing in major directories.
It typically begins with the author sending a query letter pages that explains the purpose of the work and any writing qualifications of the author. The role of the writer I would love to think that all writers are cuddly and creative. That sunshine and prose falls from our fingertips instead of the reality of staring at a wall so long that you can see Patrick Swayze in the drywall cracks. Our role is much less defined, if just as hard as the agent's.
While typing out the next great hit, we are now the Primary Promotion Specialist for our work -- we are our own marketing team and idea generator. We make the rules about when to wear pants. As writers who would like to succeed and not just become a blip on the Amazon "whatever happened to" screen, we work with the agent to not only write but to engage readers via whatever method we're comfortable with.
What should a good author/agent relationship look like?
Don't enjoy Facebook or Twitter? Try connecting with readers at conventions, readings at local schools and libraries, start a blog and target readers that dig what you dig, or fire up your old Instagram or Pinterest account and find your tribe. As writers, we adapt or get buried under the rubble.
Our agents are there to brush off the dust and make you presentable before you roll out another idea. Priorities change, career vision changes, lives change -- so how do you handle it when it's time for you to leave or be left?
That's the call the blogs don't go over as often. Sure, it's uncomfortable but staying in a relationship that isn't working or is stagnant because no one wants to be the bad guy isn't just detrimental to your anxiety levels, it could be bad for your career. While most contracts ask for a written statement to end the relationship always do thisa phone call first is always preferred.
Even if you're not on the best of terms, your grandmother would be proud of you. As the publishing landscape evolves, the roles between agent and author are also changing. Agents work harder to keep their authors relevant while they search out new opportunities.