The Evolving Role of the Literary Agent

Writer's Digest (October 2014)

Writer’s Digest (October 2014)

In the most recent issue of Writer’s Digest magazine, you’ll find my feature article, “The Evolving Agent.” I discuss how literary agents’ business models and services are changing to fit the needs of their clients, who are increasingly self-publishing or choosing hybrid paths.

The article covers:

  • the value of agent-assisted self-publishing
  • what happens when agents use third parties to assist you (e.g., Argo Navis or Amazon White Glove)
  • specific agencies that assist with self-publishing and what their terms are
  • what questions to ask an agent before having them assist with self-publishing

Regarding that last point, here are a few of those questions to ask:

  • Who covers the costs associated with self-publishing? In most cases, the author covers the cost, but sometimes the agent will cover expenses and deduct them from the author’s earnings.
  • Who controls the rights to the self-published work? (It should be the author.)
  • How long must you commit to giving the agent 15 percent of sales on the work? (It shouldn’t be indefinitely.)
  • How/when can the agreement be terminated?

To read the full article, buy the October 2014 issue of Writer’s Digest, available in print or as a digital download.

For additional context, I also highly recommend reading:

Posted in Getting Published, Publishing Industry.
Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (March 2018).

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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6 Comments on "The Evolving Role of the Literary Agent"

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[…] Writer’s Digest (October 2014) In the most recent issue of Writer’s Digest magazine, you’ll find my feature article, “The Evolving Agent.” I discuss how literary agents’ business models and services are changing to fit the needs of their clients,…  […]

Marcy Mason McKay

You are everywhere, Jane Friedman! I’ll be at Barnes & Noble tonight and plan to buy a copy there. As always, thanks for your great insights.

Dan Erickson

It’s an interesting time in the book and music industries. Everything is changing.

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[…] Writer’s Digest (October 2014) In the most recent issue of Writer’s Digest magazine, you’ll find my feature article, “The Evolving Agent.” I discuss how literary agents’ business models and services are changing to fit the needs of their clients,…  […]

Sue

Definitely submit to pinebasil.wordpress.com!

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[…]  The Evolving Role of the Literary Agent by @JaneFriedman via @WritersDigest […]

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