An Agent’s Role in Publishing Paid Me
- By: Jessica Faust | Date: May 12 2022
I think an agent’s number one job is to have the hard conversations. It’s to let a publisher know when they’ve really fallen off the mark with a cover. When cover copy is just plain boring and, most importantly, when the offer they’re making is not at all what they would be paying if the author were a white man. In past conversations about publishing paid me, authors have been wonderfully transparent about what sort of advances they’ve been receiving. And it’s of no surprise to anyone that white male authors lead the way by thousands, likely tens of thousands of dollars.
A reader asked what role an agent plays in specifically the gender pay gap. I chose to broaden that conversation.
Show Me the Money…the Job of an Agent
It is 100% the job of an agent to fight for your value. This includes not just the advance the author is getting paid, but also the royalties and other rights. This means negotiating. Sometimes fearfully, but never driven by fear.
No agent should ever accept the first offer made. No author should ever accept an agent who isn’t negotiating on their behalf.
An agent should understand the market and be able to say to you, I hear your concerns and I’ll negotiate the hell out of this and also, I know what the market is supporting now and I know what you deserve based on that.
An agent’s role in the conversation about publishing paid me is to be on the front lines of change.