An Agent’s Job—Besides Reading and Editing

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Apr 14 2022

I’ve been feeling guilty. I had about five different projects from clients languishing in my inbox. It wasn’t that I was busy Tweeting or visiting spas. I have been studiously at my desk for weeks. Doing all the things an agent does besides reading and editing. All the things that take us away from the things many authors think we do all day, but in actuality never have enough time for.

Today I am happy to report that I responded to the last of those clients. And apologized to each one. I didn’t get into specifics with them, but let me share with you all of the tasks (well not all, I don’t want to bore you away forever) that made me so slow. The tasks all agents have to do on a regular basis just to manage their own career and their clients’.

  • Reviewing contracts—a tedious, detailed, and incredibly important job. This can take quite a bit of time and back and forth with publishers.
  • Calls with clients—to discuss career strategy, offers, negotiations, and ideas
  • Scanning contracts—we’ve been updating our accounting systems. It’s already been nearly a year, but it’s amazing for us and our clients.
  • Following up on submissions
  • Writing pitch letters and emails for submissions
  • Sending revisions and discussing revisions with those clients I was able to get to
  • Updating our foreign rights database for when we’re pitching overseas
  • Pitching to our film agents
  • Updating our accounting system so when checks come in, authors get paid
  • Reading a submission that had an offer (otherwise I’m super behind and sorry)
  • Reviewing and supplying feedback on covers
  • Reviewing cover copy
  • Negotiating contract offers

My job isn’t really to sell books, although that’s the first step. My job is to manage careers and all that goes with them. I love all of it and I love reading and editing too.