Questions about Agents

I don’t have an excuse for using this picture, I just liked it.

Okay. Agents. This post came about because I was running a workshop where someone brought up the topic of agents.

How do you get an agent?

Take a look through the Australian Writers Market Place, which is available through your library, or you can subscribe to the up to date online version here. This will give you an idea of who is out there and what genres they represent.

You can send them a proposal. (Synopsis and three chapters). Or can can attend a conference or festival sign on for a pitching opportunity and pitch to them. Seehere for a list of pitching opportunities.

Say you do get a nibble from an agent, but something strikes you as a bit odd.

Things to beware.

The money flows from the publisher (via the agent if you have one) to the author.

The money should not flow to an agent before they have sold anything of yours. ( Agents’ percentage is 12.5 to 15%).

So there should be no reading fee to look at your work.

If an agent says that your work is nearly ready, but it needs polishing and they happen to know a manuscript appraiser you should use, and they hint that they will be much more favourable about representing you after you’ve used this appraiser, they are probably getting a kickback from the manuscript appraiser. Don’t trust them.

Your agent should not charge you for photocopies or phone calls. My agent accepts my book as an email attachment, he sends it to the publisher the same way. Their editor goes through the book using track changes and they send me the edited book for approval via email. Nothing gets photocopied or printed.

Is the agent a member of the Australian Literary Agents Association? Here is their code of practice. And here are their tips on finding an agent.

What does a Literary Agent agreement look like?Thanks to the Australian Society of Authors for their support. Skim down this page to find the Literary Agent & Author Agreement.

Hope you find this useful. Any questions feel free to ask.

Meanwhile check out Predators & Editors — a really useful site.

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