Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Writer's Alphabet - A is for Agent

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.


  1. Wow, what a fabulous blog idea. That's half a year's worth of subject matter covered! Wish I'd thought of that :-) Ha!
    I didn't realise some of the stuff agents handled for/with an author. Great post.

  2. My agent didn't do all that. I don't know any agents who edit your book. If your book isn't good enough, the agent won't take you on. Agents are about making money. They need to gather as many clients who write books they can get contracts for as possible. That is their main job. The more contract, the more money they make. And it's all about the money. They can't afford to spend oodles of time on you. And if you need oodles of time, then they will not take you on. The agent makes the pitch to the publisher, not you. So there is no pitch to hone. Agents are most necessary for non-fiction. My agent had an auction going for my first book and it was exciting. My current publisher has done more for my writing and been more supportive than my agent ever was. IMHO.
    Great blog idea!