The target: A literary agent
Objectives: Finding a good one
Searching for the right agent can be tough as good literary agents are elusive. They don’t come easy and certainly not in high numbers. But what does an agent do?
Well, think of the agent as a messenger. Your manuscript will be pitched by that messenger to the publishers for production. They should have the right contacts in the publishing industry. A literary agent may help to promote your work, update you with the details of your progress, negotiate your contracts, offer advice for your following work or all the above. An agent is many things and finding an excellent one can really change things for you, therefore researching your target is important to ensure that you find the right one for you.
As such, your target should have the following expectations:
Your target should represent your genre. Most agents will explicitly tell their prospective authors through their website or social media outlets. Don’t find an agent that represents non-fiction when you like to write stories about the make-believe.
Find an agent that has a good sales track record. Chances are that the agent will have had experience and a certain amount of success in selling the books that they are representing. Finding an agent that has a good list of publishers that fit into the category of books you are trying to write can also help to boost your chances of getting published exponentially.
An agent should be well-versed in the ins-and-outs of a book contract. They need to know how to negotiate the proposal to the publisher and to advise you if there is something shady or unscrupulous about the organisation that you may be pitching to. An excellent agent should also help you to target your queries and proposals to specific publishers.
If you want more clues on the target, come along to our seminar “What To Expect When You Get An Agent” – with Justine Barker” on the 23rd of March to learn more.