7 Things You Need to Know About Your Book Agent
Some authors are unclear or have unreasonable expectations about what a literary agent can and do for them. They experience frustration and wonder why they can’t find anyone who will take them seriously. A clear understanding of the agent’s role can help you form a strong business partnership with your agent that leads to publication success. Here’s a listing of what NOT to expect your agent to do.
Not a Scam Artist – Agents don’t charge for reading or evaluating material. If they do this, they are not members of the Association of Author’s Representative. Run the other way! Partner instead with agents that adhere to industry standards and ethics.
Not Your Publicist – Publishers have greatly reduced the amount of money spent on author tours and other publicity efforts. Some authors believe that agents should take up this slack, but agents represent your work to the publishing industry not to the public. Hire a publicist for help with that.
Not Your Lawyer - Agents may be very savvy about contracts but unless they are a contract lawyer and offer legal services then they are not your lawyer. Some book contracts involve a lot of money. It doesn’t hurt to get your own lawyer on board when your agent presents you with a contract from a publishing house.
Not Your Therapist – Your agent is not there to talk you through the drama of your life. There are professionals for that.
Not Co-Author – Some authors have a good idea for a book and feel that it will sell well. They contact agents with the idea that the agent will help them write the book. Here’s the real scoop. Write your book, then contact agents. The only exception is non-fiction. In this case, write a detailed proposal and then contact agents.
Not Your Editor – Some agents take a highly editorial role with their clients, many do not. Don’t expect editorial feedback from your agent unless this is her passion. In all cases, no agent can move your substandard work up to a professional level, so go in with the best work.
Not Your Chew Toy — Writers invest lots of themselves in their books. This sometimes leads to highly charged conversations and a hellish work environment for agents. Don’t treat your agent like a chew toy. Step back from the drama and treat your agent with professional respect. Remember, he is there to help you.
So who is your agent? Simple, your sales partner! Your agent will sell your book. They will get you a better advance. They will insure your book connects with the best publisher to showcase your work.