Publishing Agents

Written by Christa Gatewood
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Publishing agents are sometimes called literary agents. They work on behalf of writers to secure a publisher, negotiate contracts, and help promote the book. The services provided by publishing agents vary by agent and agency. They do these things either for a fee or a percentage of your earnings.

How Publishing Agents Work

Publishing agents who work for a commission are the best kind to have. They eat when you eat, and they are more likely to work hard for you in this situation. They typically get 15 percent of your domestic earnings and 20 percent of earnings from overseas sales. They get a higher percentage of overseas money because they will have to share the commission with an agent working overseas.

Publishing agents who work for a fee will earn money regardless of how good a job they do. They might charge extra for incidental costs like photocopying, long distance calls, reading, etc. They might also work off an hourly fee. This can become very expensive, and you are not guaranteed anything will come from it. While there are some reputable agencies that work in the manner, this is also how scam artists can take your money.

Most writers struggle with the question of whether or not they need a publishing agent. The answer to that question is subjective. Strictly speaking, you don't need an agent to get a book published. Agents have to submit book proposals just like writers. A good book proposal will be bought even if there is no agent involved. You might find, however, that you will get a book sold more quickly and for more money with the help of an agent. Is you are having a hard time finding an agent, you may want to consider the next step: self publishing.

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