Literary agents negotiate the sale of
an author’s work to book publishers,
television and film producers, or they
liaise with agents in other countries or
territories. Some specialize in a particular
genre, while others have various types of
authors on their books. An agent uses
their industry expertise and contacts to
get you the best deal possible and to
protect your financial and legal interests.
Agents can assist with:
- how advances work
- royalty payments
- negotiating overseas contracts
- translation rights
Whatever the genre, agents look for talented, marketable writers and finding the right agent can be almost as difficult as finding a publisher. It pays to know where your book fits in the market. Don’t send a romance novel to an agency that specializes in nonfiction, or a gardening book to one who specializes in literary fiction. Bona fide agents will not charge you to read your work or to represent you as their income is derived from a percentage the author’s royalties. The Australian Writers Marketplace has a comprehensive list of agents or you can visit The Australian Literary Agents’ Association and there is a very useful site called Prededitors that lists good and bad agents. There's some good stuff out there on the web about finding agents as well: here's a couple of links – The Benefits of Having an Agent and Literary Agents. Licensed to kill ... (this second article comes with a language warning).