Literary agents sell an author’s work to publishers. These days, working with a literary agent is a path traveled by some authors in an attempt to obtain book marketing success. There was a time when this wasn’t the case; when authors had to rely upon their own resourcefulness to convince publishers about the viability of their literary material.
Today, however, publishers, especially the big ones, will not accept submissions that are not made through literary agents. Authors who advocate using a literary agent claim that it’s very hard to get a publisher without one. Their rationale – literary agents hold the key to the best manuscripts so it is only fitting that publishers deal with them. Hiring a good literary agent can put you in a better position to gain contracts from different diverse buyers, increasing book awards from different parties which are even unknown to you. As such, the odds are almost always is favor of authors who seek out the assistance of literary agents.
Responsibilities of Literary Agents
The roles of literary agents have changed drastically with the passing of time. Their objectives and purposes are wide ranging and will sometimes vary depending on the author in question. ChatEbooks lists down some of the responsibilities you can expect them to fulfill:
1. Literary Agents Act as Filters
Editors and publishers are so busy these days that they cannot possibly consider the submissions of every author that shows interest in them. Therefore they rely on agents to filter through the myriads of aspiring writers and locate the best projects worthy enough for consideration.
2. Literary Agents Help Authors Prepare their Work for Submission to Publishers
It is their job to assist authors in perfecting their manuscript before presenting it to editors. These days a project has to really be perfect in order to attract an editor. So it’s necessary for agents and authors to work together to get the project or proposal as perfect as possible ahead of time.
3. Literary Agents Help Authors Submit their Manuscripts to Publishers
Agents have an intricate understanding of the publishing world. Not only will they help authors find the right editors for their work but they will represent their clients to potential publishers.
4. Literary Agents Guide Authors Along the Way
Once an author’s submission receives the green light from a publisher, the agent is responsible for guiding them through the processes that follow. This is especially necessary when it comes to negotiating offers. There are different types of offers with different territories and terms, therefore an agent’s expertise can help alleviate the burden of sifting through the various intricacies.
5. Literary Agents Negotiate Contracts
An agent will negotiate contracts on behalf of his/her clients, maneuvering the pitfalls of the publishing arena and getting them the best deal possible for their manuscript.
6. Literary Agents Monitor the Publication Process
The work of a literary agent does not end once the contracts are signed and the editors take over. Rather, he or she will track the publication process – monitoring the payments, watching key dates, discussing marketing plans and essentially mediating between the writer and the publisher.
7. Literary Agents Shape an Author’s Career
A literary agent can play a crucial role in the shaping of an author’s career. This means providing them guidance on their next projects, acting as a sounding board and keeping the author apprised about any changes occurring in the publishing arena.
This is by far an exhaustive list of what a literary agent does. It’s quite a catchall job, one that requires a long apprenticeship, time in the business, a strong work ethic, a good eye, and a passion for books. When all is said and done, the literary agent involves him/herself in every single stage of the writing and publication process and ultimately helps an author achieve success.