31 August 2012 - Literary Agents

Copyright - Clancy Tucker (c)

Quote of the day:

"Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you're born to stand up?"


G'day guys,

Today I offer a few  ideas about literary agents. I've come to realise that writers in the USA need an agent to submit their work to a publisher. Correct me if I'm wrong. It is not the same in Australia. We can directly submit our work to any publisher who is seeking manuscripts. Besides, agents in this country are as rare as dinosaur eggs. Anthony Carrozza, who will appear as my guest in September, once told me that it took him 12 years to find an agent. Wow.

I was recently approached by an agent who, according to her public profile, is well educated at two of America's top universities. Her proposition was simple: no contract will be signed until she has found a suitable publisher for my work. But, it seems obvious to me that you must approach an agent with the same attitude that you would with a publisher. After all, they are working for and on behalf of your best interests, you and your literary works. This might sound like a crazy comment, but being a writer and author is all about good communication, especially with those who are representing you. Trust me. Many writers have been burnt at the stake because they did not take all due care. One tip that has always done well for me is to check what books an agent has sold and contact the authors directly. Ask them how they felt about their agent.

So, what should we do when we finally crack an agent?

1. Do your homework. Find out all you can about the agent. Check their websites and blogs. Also check 'Predators & Editors'.

2. How many authors in her stable?

3. Do not rush into things ... breathe in, breathe out.

4. Write down questions.

a. What genre do they prefer?

b. What are the terms of their contract?

c. Is it for one book or several?

d. Find out how the agent wants to work with you.

e. Check out the legal stuff. Send the contract to a literary lawyer for an opinion.

f. What is the agent's percentage? When do they get it and how often?

g. What do they expect of you? What do you expect of them?

h. Don't be shy. Ask the tough questions, but be reasonable.

i. Does the agent have a publicist?

j. If in doubt, take a step back, take a deep breath and say, 'NO!'

Keep writing!

I'm Clancy Tucker


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