What Is A Literary Agent And Why Do I Need One?
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If you've been reading my posts for any length of time, you've probably heard me talk about Literary Agents. If you aren't in the writing business, there's a chance you aren't familiar with this profession. When I first started this process, I thought I would write my novel and send it to a publisher for review, but the business just doesn't work that way.
When I went to my first writer's conference in 2018, the term Literary Agent came up in almost every single class or session I attended. I didn't even know what a Literary Agent was, but I learned and I want to share some of what I know with you today.
What does a Literary Agent do?
The following explains it better than I can...
"It is a literary agent’s job to find publishers for the writers they represent. They negotiate contracts on the writer’s behalf and can also manage and plan a writer’s career.
In return for working for a writer, the agent receives a percentage (usually around 10–15 per cent) of the writer’s income from advances, fees and royalties. Literary agents are responsible for managing sales, contracts, publication, production (and reproduction), as well as maintaining good contacts in the writing and publishing industry, and knowledge of the current market and trends. They act as a middle person between authors and publishers to sell the author’s work."
But what if I don't want to use a Literary Agent?
There are those who aren't willing to go this route. There are other ways. You could self-publish, win a contest, get recommended by an editor that works for a publisher, publish with a hybrid publisher, etc.. Would I consider any of those options? Maybe, if I don't get picked up by a Literary Agent. I still have a couple editors that work for publishers that have asked for my work. That would be my next step. The work a Literary Agent does, though on the author's behalf is pretty valuable. On top of that, they will work harder for me because they will benefit the more I benefit.
Why don't you go straight to a publisher?
Here are some direct quotes from several publisher's submission policies:
Baker Publishing Group-
"Baker Books, Bethany House, and Revell do not accept unsolicited manuscripts (manuscripts we did not request). Therefore, we assume no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts submitted to our publishing house. Materials sent to our editorial staff through a professional literary agent will be considered."
"There are two common paths to publishing a book: traditional publishing through a commercial book publisher or self-publishing. Authors who feel the traditional path to publishing best meets their needs should consider developing a book proposal and finding a literary agent they believe can best represent their work and leverage their platform. Literary agents act as a mediator between an author and a publisher."
"Thomas Nelson does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Please contact your literary agent in order to properly submit your manuscript."
Those are some of the biggest names in Christian fiction publishing. Maybe starting smaller would be easier and maybe that's what I'll end up doing, but it doesn't hurt to try does it? Well, maybe some, but I think it's probably worth the effort.
If you didn't understand before why I'm working so hard to get picked up by a Literary Agent, I hope it's clearer now. A Literary Agent is my best chance of getting noticed by a traditional publisher, but the other work they do is also worth the effort. I know who to look for, because the American Christian Fiction Writers association (ACFW) introduces its writers to Literary Agents who are respected and successful in their careers. If it weren't for the ACFW, I wouldn't know where to start looking. Going to their conferences has made a huge impact on what I know about writing and how to go about getting published.
Author Jodie Wolfe plans to guest post for me here on February 24, 2020. Her new book, Taming Julia is scheduled to be released February 14 and she plans to come tell you about it. Please plan to be here to support this talented lady!
Thanks again for joining me today. I hope the rest of your week is great. May the Lord God bless you and your family with faith, hope and love, in Jesus' Name.