This article intends to help first-time authors find a good literary agent. Above writing and editing, it is the agent who plays a major part in the promotion of a finished work.
First of all, finding a literary agent takes some time. One can compare it to finding an ideal partner for a relationship, in which trust is, of course, an essential part of the criteria. Let’s look at the qualities that an effective literary agent should have.
A literary agent should be trustworthy. Not only regarding financing the best possible deals, but also in giving honest opinions of an author’s work. It is better to be honest in the beginning than have an author’s self-confidence broken by a series of publishers. On average, an agent typically takes a 15% cut from any deal that breaks. That is important to know, particularly for a first-time author.
Qualities of an Efficient Literary Agent
A good agent should also have strong social media skills. Being able to promote an artist through the most useful channels is an essential skill nowadays. The agent should know just whom to target according to the author’s writing style while also knowing the right publishing houses and other useful contacts.
An author should look for an agent who loves what they do: promoting author’s books in the most efficient manner. The agent should have the capacity to identify what it is an author wants, and subsequently deliver the goods effectively.
A good agent should have the contacts that are most relevant to the type of book an author intends to publish. As 80% of books in the main bookstores have gone through an agent, they still play a crucial part in promoting authors’ works.
Trying a wide variety of agents is necessary. In doing this, there is a need to send out query letters. These should not be sent to every agent and publishing house at once so that judgment can be made with regards to getting a response, and the general character of each agent. While on the quest to finding the perfect professional relationship and having your book published, get that all-important ISBN number.
Author’s face rejection all the time, and this is not necessarily a negative factor. Having constructive feedback from a variety of agents will enable an author to gain valuable experience.
Lastly, agents need to be well-versed in their field. Being given an honest opinion will not only give a first-time author confidence, but also enable them to understand the publishing industry as a whole, thus equipping them with greater self-confidence, assertiveness, and professional awareness of the field.
Originally posted 11/3/2015 and happily updated 10/27/2017. Thanks for reading!