You signed with your literary agent in the hope that they would sell your book. What you might not have even considered is how much more your agent will do for you and how far-reaching their job is.
Sure, an agent’s job is to find the right publisher for the book. That’s just the beginning. They are also responsible for finding the right publisher for translation rights to your book, the right audio publisher and the right production company for performance rights. The goal is to sell that book as many times as possible.
Most literary agents have close connections with a number of different agents and publishers throughout the world. Most have co-agents–agents they work collaboratively with to sell your book to other places. A co-agent has contacts in film or France or Japan that your literary agent doesn’t have.
Once a book is ready to be pitched it isn’t just going to US publishers (using the US as my base). Your agent is also pitching for translation, audio, and film (to name a few). In all cases the goal is the same, to find the best place for your book.
Once an offer is made your agent’s job is the same as it was for the book. To work with their co-agent to get you the best deal possible.