What Agents Do for Their Authors, Part II01:00
Greetings WEbook. I can’t believe it’s been an entire week and here we are again. Speaking of an entire week, just so you know, going forward I am going to try to be here for you on a regular basis. And by that, I mean weekly, but, you know, I am a busy guy (a busy and hugely important agent at that!). Really, I’m busy like everyone else, so I can’t absolutely promise the weekly thing. However, I will endeavor to not let too much time go between posts. That I CAN promise.
I also want to thank those of you who took the time to read and write in about my first post. I know you’re all busy too, so it means a lot that you’ve taken the time. Thank you. There were a lot of good questions and points, and not one that I won’t address in future postings. The most frequently asked question last week was about finding a good agent -- specifically, how do you do it? -- and that will absolutely be what I’ll write about next, after today. So stay tuned. But first I want to finish up my top ten list from last week about what good agents do for their authors.
Here it is:
6) We help shape your ideas into full, selling proposals for nonfiction; and we edit your fiction manuscripts into shape to send out to editors.
7) Because we know all the editors pretty well, we can identify the ones right for your project. We will strategize about the submission process and tailor a submission list that is right for you and your project. A good agent will not simply throw your work out there and hope it sticks.
8) We’re also your career advisor. We’re not in it for just one book. Because we’re in it for the long haul, we will be thinking, and encourage you to think, about what’s next and why; and we’ll help you get there. We do this with an eye towards your entire career in writing.
9) Eventually we WILL sell your book, and that means you will have to sign a contract. Have you ever seen a publisher’s contract? Twenty-some legal-size pages of fine print… We negotiate with the publisher all the fine points on your behalf -- the advance and its payout, the royalties, the subsidiary rights, reversions, delivery dates, option, revisions, etc.
10) We’re your partner in this whole writing and publishing thing, and your champion and advocate every step of the way. On call 24/7. Well, not exactly, but we do return your emails and phone calls pretty quick!
I’m going to end today by answering one of the many questions that came in this past week. It’s from Athinia, and the question is: “What is the most wanted type of book?” And I say, good damn question, Athinia! If I really knew the answer to that one, I’d be a very rich man.
There is of course no single answer, just like there is no one type of book everyone wants. If you tune in here from time to time though, I think you’ll see that it’s both more complicated and more subjective than you think. But what it really comes down to is your book has to be the very best one you can write. Period. You write that good book and you really will have a shot at finding a good agent.
More about which next time…