I think I want an literary agent, but what does an agent do? Exactly? Other than take a percentage of my money.

Agents do so much it’s hard to tell you everything they do for their measly percentage, but here’s a brief rundown.

  • Agents keep on top of trends and do tons of networking, most have been doing this for years and years, so respect their insight and knowledge. It’s hard won.
  • A good agent usually has some legal background because they help you negotiate your contracts and make the best deals. You should be able to understand what your agent is saying to you, if not, wrong agent.
  • Agents assess manuscripts based on markets — that is to say, an agent looks for what has the potential to sell, not what he/she personally wants to read.
  • Agents will give you criticism, such as, “it drags here,” “you need another scene there,” etc.
  • Agents will tell you when revisions need to be done, gives you a deadline, and then expect you to meet it.  Agents don’t usually handhold you unless your really famous.
  • Agents can help you connect with the right copy editors, publishers, marketers, etc.
  • Being an agent is a business, don’t expect therapy, or sympathy.  You’re a commodity. You work is a commodity. It’s ok to like and respect your agent, but don’t forget you both have a job to do.
  • Agents are powerful, persistent, persuasive personalities usually.  If you have one, let him/her shine — for you.
Published in: on August 5, 2011 at 7:42 AM  Leave a Comment  
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