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Reader Questions: Agent Involvement

I would like to know more about how involved agents get in their authors’ careers. How much of an author’s short stories, novels in progress, novel ideas, marketing plan, etc., do you like to see? Would you prefer your author to keep you in the loop about these things, or do you expect an author to do a certain amount on their own and only let you know about the “big stuff” (i.e., a completed novel)?

Agents differ as to what level of involvement they expect and want, so make sure you have this conversation early on to clarify these points. Some agents are strong on editorial input, others are not. Some agents represent an author’s entire body of work, while others might prefer a more limited scope. I do prefer to be kept in the loop. Authors sometimes don’t let me know what kind of marketing they are doing and I miss out on opportunities to relay their efforts to a publisher or to use the information to negotiate better terms. And I certainly like to know about any novels in progress. Information, as they say, is power, so the more armed I am, the better off you might be. A good author/agent relationship involves a good amount of synergy, which won’t exist unless the agent is informed.

—Jacky

Category: Blog

5 comments

  1. I recently submitted work to an agent who doesn’t like time travel, but my wip is a time travel. I always thought an agent would represent all of an author’s work once they’ve agreed on a contract. A person wouldn’t have two agents, would she, based on the genre?

    Thanks!

  2. Having one agent is ideal. We do have special circumstances where an author might write children’s books as well and have a separate children’s book agent, but by and large we do represent our clients’ entire bodies of work. It’s worth a conversation if you are offered representation.
    js

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