How To Develop into A Literary Agent


If you need know how one can turn out to be a literary agent, you’ve got an amazing objective. Agents are the hyperlink between the author and the writer, and largely chargeable for making a guide go from the author’s fingers into the fingers of the general public. 

Without literary brokers, historically revealed authors would have a particularly troublesome time getting revealed. If you’re obsessed with books, writing, interacting with others, and pitching tasks you’re obsessed with, turning into a literary agent might be the proper step for you.

There is a course of you may comply with that will help you attain your targets, wage expectations, and naturally, a coaching pathway. In this text, we focus on all three:

  • Process
  • Salary Expectations
  • Training Pathway 

Ready to dive in and get accustomed to how one can pursue your dream? Let’s go! 


When selecting to turn out to be a literary agent, it’s essential to comply with three core steps. You might dive in and work to determine it out as you go, however to succeed long run, it’s essential to set your self up for fulfillment. 

#1 – Familiarize your self with the method.

There are fairly a couple of steps between the conception of a guide thought and its closing publication. As an agent, it’s your job to grasp these steps, be capable of articulate them to your consumer, and assist them via the method. Below is a quick however not all-inclusive overview: 

  • Writer writes the guide and proposal 
  • Agent outlets the manuscript to acquisition editors 
  • The acquisition editor (in the event that they just like the guide) analysis the author’s platform and comparative titles
  • Acquisitions editor units up a gathering with the publication board (pub board) and presents their findings
  • Often, an acquisition editor could contact the agent presently and produce them up to the mark on their progress 
  • Pub board votes on the undertaking (both unanimous or majority vote)
  • If the vote goes via, the agent is notified and calls their consumer 

Next, community with others within the business. 

#2 – Network.

The extra business professionals you realize, the upper your possibilities of partaking with the appropriate writers, acquisitions editors, and publishers. If you wish to turn out to be an agent however lack contacts, networking is an effective way to start out.

Attend writing conferences, be part of reside webinars, create a Twitter account and be part of the #WritingCommunity, or attain out to writing teams. The extra folks you realize, the higher your possibilities of turning into an agent and securing the appropriate guide offers with the appropriate publishing homes.

#3 – Intern with knowledgeable agent.

Even if you’re put up highschool or school, an internship may be an effective way to get your foot within the door and be taught the method. Just as once you begin a brand new job, you’re educated, when studying how one can turn out to be an agent, it’s useful to have an agent prepare you.

Working with a senior agent permits you to see the behind-the-scenes of the method, take notes on how brokers and writers work collectively, and see particulars of the job chances are you’ll in any other case miss. An internship, paid or unpaid, is a useful technique to get hands-on expertise in your required job function.

Salary Expectations

Most brokers require a couple of 15% fee fee on the revealed works of their purchasers. This fee is all-inclusive, which means it encompasses something from movie rights to audiobook rights. 

Note that the fee fee will doubtless be larger for you if the work features a language translation or overseas rights gross sales.

This fee charge is one cause why it’s essential to tackle a consumer listing you consider in and are obsessed with serving to. It can be essential to vet writers earlier than taking them on. Ask your self the next questions earlier than taking over a author:

  • Are they onerous employees? 
  • Is writing extra of a facet passion or is it a profession objective they’re prepared to work for?
  • Are they actively studying how one can write higher, networking, and constructing their platform?

An agent and author contractual relationship could final for at the least two years, so ensure you work with writers you actually do wish to work with.

Training Pathway 

The pathway to turning into an agent varies individual to individual, however there are a couple of key steps you can begin taking at present to journey nearer to your objective. Many of those steps are merely self-educating on the multifaceted business that’s publishing: 

#1 – Learn what good writing is.

If you wish to make that 15% fee promoting your consumer’s work, it’s essential they’re an amazing author. Learn the distinction between dangerous writing, good writing, and what makes writing actually nice. 

Learn to select up the distinction between passive and energetic writing. Identify first and third particular person tales and why each used a distinct tense. 

#2 – Learn about proposals.

Your consumer’s guide proposal could make or break the potential of an amazing guide deal. Learn what goes into creating a robust advertising and marketing plan, why endorsers matter, and the assorted checklists a author must comply with when together with aggressive titles. 

#3 – Learn about acquisitions.

As an agent, it is going to be your job to submit your consumer’s guide proposal to an acquisitions editor. Knowing what they take pleasure in, what they’re on the lookout for, and the genres a specific home accepts is important to you and your consumer’s success.

Additionally, realizing when to pitch is a vital ingredient of profitable pitching. Does December seem to be an amazing month to pitch?* Make positive you realize these solutions. 

*(December is usually not one of the best time to pitch as a result of most publishers wind down their acquisitions between Thanksgiving and New Years.) 

#4 – Get accustomed to pitching (don’t apologize).

There is a distinction between pitching an thought, apologizing for including to an editor’s inbox, and ending with “I utterly perceive if you don’t want this title.” 

Instead, discover ways to pitch boldly, know the price of your consumer’s thought, and pitch it effectively. Understand how one can tread the road between being skilled and private, and be taught the artwork of claiming as a lot as doable with as few phrases as obligatory.

Take Your First Step Today

If this text appeared a bit overwhelming, don’t let it cease you from pursuing your dream. Yes, there was a whole lot of content material, however you don’t must pursue it abruptly! In reality, it’s doubtless higher to take it one step at a time.

Rather than attempt to grasp every of the above steps, concentrate on one to coach your self on at present. Buy a guide on how one can write an amazing proposal or browse the net without spending a dime articles on the subject. Learn what goes right into a proposal, and possibly attempt writing one your self. 

This will permit you to empathize with future purchasers whereas supplying you with concrete expertise. The higher you know the way to finish the steps by yourself, the extra you may encourage your purchasers in the appropriate route.

Becoming an agent is an thrilling endeavor. You get to bridge the hole between their dream and its actuality. This will not be one thing to take evenly, however neither is it one thing to let overwhelm you. Enjoy the method of studying how one can turn out to be an agent, signing in your first consumer, and don’t overlook to rejoice once you each earn that first guide contract!  

Read right here to search out how folks seek for literary brokers.


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