Literary agents are negotiators between publishers and authors, theatre managers and film producers, and to advise authors on how to how to get a book published. Their job description is to be a writers agent & represent authors who write about all manner of subjects, both fiction and non-fiction, and to help them find the best publishing house.
At first, they would read an authors manuscript and find out whether or not to accept an author as a client. In addition if the author accepts the manuscript, they may be guided by an agent regarding ideas for books and changes to an existing manuscript. The literary agent must act as a book agent and will also have to promote the work of the author, and deal with press enquiries etc.
The literary agency then negotiates the best possible terms, and finds a publisher or producer for the authors work. In addition, the agent would deal with the publisher within all matters that could affect the client, which includes the contract, manuscript delivery, and advertising, follow up titles, paperback, publicity, film rights and television and receiving the payments when they are due.
Training and qualifications
Educational qualifications are not particularly necessary. Having experience within the book trade is one of the most important factors, and most literary agents have obtained this by carrying out work in a publishing house. Within the international field, foreign languages are defiantly an asset to have, as they may have to give submission advice to authors in foreign countries.
Personal qualities needed
Knowledge of the publishing market are needed as well as shrewd literary judgment from agents. Literary agents will have to read many manuscripts, from budding novelists, so a ability to read well is essential, as their main objective is to publish your book. In addition, agents must be hard working, adaptable, persistent and sympathetic towards their authors. They must have good communication skills as they act as middlemen.
A percentage of the money earned by authors is given to agencies, which is usually 10-20 per cent. In relation to the number of commission literary agents bring in, people working for these companies would receive a salary plus annual bonuses.
If you are interested in this field of work you can contact the association of authors agents through their webpage: