This is a new series of posts I am doing on the bloggy, regarding the various terms and definitions of author/writer/publishing words. One post per letter. Some posts may have more than one word, and some only one. I am sure I will forget some; doubly sure I will be advised in some fashion that I did. Anywho, enjoy all 26 letters!
When I was just starting out, had finished my first book and was researching the internet to see how this whole publishing thing works, I became aware very quickly that there is an entire other language with words and phrases I had never heard spoken outside the confines of this industry. As is my way, I started keeping a list of all the words I was learning. I am a SERIOUS list-maker. I came across my list recently and thought it might help some of my bloggy-buddies out. Hope so. Here we go!
"A" is for Agent
A literary agent is the person who agrees to represent you, and your book, for a fee. In return for 15% of your net proceeds, (a small price, if you ask me), the agent will shop your book to buying publishers, assist you in the marketing of said book, and, depending on the volume of sales of the book, create marketing opportunities for you. But, there's more. Oh, an agent will do so much more. They will hone your pitch to within an inch of its life. They will edit, or assign you an editor who will make your book sing, where before it merely hummed loudly. They will offer you their invaluable opinion on everything from the title, to the cover art, to the inside book flap blurb. And mostly, they will hold your hand, tell you the truth about your book when no one else will, and be right there next to you as you transition from scared newbie to seasoned professional.
You don't need an agent, but if you are interested in NOT doing all your own marketing, NOT having a friend in your corner, and NOT having an experienced person championing your work to the exact right place, then don't try and find one. If you are interested in all that, and just think it would be neat to hear someone say "I get where you are going with this." then by all means, look for one.