What Are Literary Agents?

Literary agents are all about business. They do not make edits or make suggestions to make the book better. The job of a literary agent is to read the book and see if it will sell. They try to sell the book to publishing companies to gain a contract, so they can make a profit as well. If the literary agent believes the book will not sell, he or she will not do business with the author of the book.

Before a literary agent can gain a publishing contract, he or she must get writers who want publishing. They find writers through submissions from writers. The literary agent will then ask writers to send in their manuscripts to see if it is any good or not. The ones that seem like the literary agent can make a profit from, he or she will represent them. Once the literary agent finds the writers he or she is looking for, writers sign a contract and start working on query letters. Writers will have to put some finishing touches to their manuscript as well. The literary agent wants the finishing product to look good since this represents him.

The literary agent proceeds to send the information to several publishing companies to see if they like what they are reading. In the beginning phase of selecting writers, the literary agent made sure that writers fell into the genre that they represent. For instance, a literary agent in the romance genre could not represent someone in the horror genre. That is why literary agents have to read each manuscript to see if they could work with the writer.

Most literary agents have worked with publishers in the past, so they have a working relationship with them. The literary agent will somewhat likely know if the manuscript is good or not. On the other hand, sometimes more than one editor wants to sign the writer. When this occurs, there is an auction where the highest bidder gets the writer. Negotiations between literary agents and publishers begin. There are contracts and payment. The literary agent has to make sure that the writer is secure.

Someone interested in becoming a literary agent can start by getting a Bachelors in English. Even though, a college degree is good, you can still become a literary agent without one. It is best to have experience when it comes to becoming a literary agent. Some literary agents begin working as editors or editorial assistants before getting into their career. One thing you can do is to get an internship with a publishing company. It is a good idea to start making connections early on in your career, that way the publisher you interned for is your first point of contact once you start getting writers.

Literary agents have a choice of working on their own or for an agency. It’s  difficult in the beginning to work on your own because you have to do a lot of networking. Social media is not the only place where you will need to network.

It takes a lot as a literary agent. You have to become a reader, if you already are not. Start reading books in your genre and see what the best-sellers in your genre and others as well.

Literary agents have to do a lot of communicating. This is a career where you cannot be shy. You have to negotiate for writers to make sure they are getting the best deal for their work. This is a profitable career, but you also get to read different manuscripts before they hit the shelves.