With the emergence of companies like Createspace and KDP, there has been a surge in self-published authors. Understandably, there is still a core of authors who want to be signed to a publisher. Even some self-published authors are aiming to be signed by major publishing houses.
For the most part, people who are in the industry often wonder, how do I get the attention of a major publishing house? How can I handle all of the responsibilities that go along with making sure that my name and product are visible to the world to see? We will be honest. Writing the book is the easiest part. If you have not published a book yet, you will definitely understand that statement after the fact. The truth is there are millions of authors with books vying for the same audience and attention. There is no clear cut path to the promised land, but you do have options. One of those options is a LITERARY AGENT.
This week we bring in Literary Agent, Heather Butler of the Butler Group Literary Agency to give you the deets about literary agents and what it is that they do to show you different options and to help you decide if this route is best for you.
A literary agent? Who in the world would have thought that little ole’ Heather, the avid reader would end up being a literary agent? Certainly not me, that is for sure. It has been almost a year to the day that I was asked by my very first client to be her literary agent, and it has been a whirlwind of a year to say the least.
When my client asked me to be her agent I had absolutely no clue as to what an agent was supposed to do. Like many up and coming authors, I probably did what most of them did, after of course saying YES and ran right to Google to search “what do literary agents do?” I had my handy notebook and blue pen (because I will only write in blue) and I was ready to take a ton of notes. After a few hours with Google, I then headed over to Amazon to see what free books I could download that would tell me how I could be the very best literary agent I could be. Sure, I found some great books along the way that would make me the best, but what I have found that works for me is listening to my client’s needs and following through on them.
Prior to making the decision of taking on a new client, I ask them what it is they are looking for in an agent. I ask this because you see, just like I did initially, the authors have done a search on agents so they have a general idea of what an agent is “supposed” to do; however, each authors needs are different. For instance; there are authors that want their agent to be their managers as well so in that case, the agent pretty much handles all of the business dealings for that author. You can also have an agent that just handles all bookings for the author and nothing more. This would include all interviews, speaking engagements and anything that would require the author to be present. Some agents also can be all of what I have mentioned AND be a personal assistant which would make them the keeper and doer of every dang thing! But the most important responsibilities of an agent are to ensure that the authors’ names are getting out there, that they are in no way being taken advantage of, and that what you agreed you would do for them is being done.
Now, you’re probably asking yourself “why do I need a literary agent?” Let me answer that for you. What most authors and aspiring authors don’t know or have found out by default is that most major publishing houses will not accept manuscripts from anyone other than a literary agent…POW!!! There goes plus #1. The other advantage of having a ME in your corner is that we have connections that you do not, and we also do a lot of the leg work that you very busy time constrained authors do not have the time for…BOOYAH!!! But at the end of the day, literary agents have nothing but their client’s best interests at heart and we work our very hardest to support you to make sure that your name rings bells.
I know I know, now you’re like Heather tell me more. Sure, I will give you one more tid bit and I need for you to pay attention. If you contact a literary agent and it’s advised that they will require payment up front…THEY ARE NOT LEGIT! Did you get that? Let me repeat it again. If an agent requires money up front RUN, they are not a legitimate agent. Legit agents get paid when you get paid, therefore; for someone to ask for a fee upfront is absurd.
So there you have it, my little pearls of wisdom. I hope that in some way I’ve helped you, but feel free to check back to see what other little gem’s I will have in store. Until the next time…
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Deciding to delve into your craft as a published author is a major responsibility. We encourage you to consider all of your options and having a good literary agent in your corner is assuredly one that can be time saving and life changing. Remember, in the new age of "do it yourself" that you do not have to go at it alone and that is not a bad thing! In fact, it can be a great idea that reaps great rewards. It all depends on you. Invest in yourself and your readers will invest in U.
Until next time...