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Get a Literary Agent to Advance Your Freelance Writing Career

Updated on December 27, 2013

Reputation in the literary world is important for an agent

Literary agents bring together a writer and a publisher.
Literary agents bring together a writer and a publisher. | Source

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Get a good representative for your writing career

Getting a literary agent as a freelance writer can certainly help you. You can get your work published without one. Though, if you choose to work with one, it can certainly help in the right circumstances to further your profession.

As a writer, you may not need this professional to get magazine articles or poems published. Lots of magazines and related sources will generally use their in-house talent to take care of creating articles and poems. These works are something that usually will not generate enough income to make it worth any agent’s time as well as energy with the amount of commission earned for them to bother dealing with outside talent. Though, there are times when your career will benefit working with one.

Do you need one?

This is a question you really need to answer before you begin the process of investigating hiring one. Gain some knowledge of what is entailed with employing one and make an informed decision about such a move for your career. Reour remember, the income you earn will be shared with your rep.

What can a literary agent do for you?

Agents bring together written work with a publisher. Their job is to represent a writer to obtain the best financial income for the work they produce.

There are some publishing platforms and companies that won’t employ a writer without one. They have the ability to negotiate contracts and make certain you get paid what you have contracted for and when you should receive your payment.

What do they earn?

They do have a stake in the entire process because they earn revenue according to what they sell to a publisher. They will get paid only when you get your payment. The more income you get, the more they will recieve. Literary agents typically earn comissions for their part between 10 and 15 percent of a writers gross for a project.

The most important aspect of dealing with one is what they bring to the table in the form of contacts in the writing arena. A credible and reputable one uses their contacts in this industry to help get their clients the best deal possible.

Be careful with selecting one

There are a number of these representatives that can be sharks. Some want to make the money, but don’t deliver the goods. Any that ask for money upfront before delivering anything should be a red flag. A number of these call this a “reading fee” or “evaluating fee”. Any charges at all should turn you in another direction for services.

This is a website that provides a listing of particular managers that operate in the publishing industry that have been identified as sharks and as a writer think twice about dealing with them for your freelance career.

There are directories which have been compiled to include credible reps with a good reputation that are operating in the business. This is a site that has been recommended by several freelance authors for finding those with reputable resumes.

Another resource for trustworthy managers is associations that these reps belong to. One for American reps is the Association of Authors Representatives and England writers should consider reviewing the Association for Authors Agents. Both organizations have strict requirements for membership and will exclude practices that are questionable.

A lot of the writers advise working with a rep for the specific type of work you create is ideal. A good one knows which publishers are searching for what type of creations and match you with the ideal contract to make you more money.

Stephen King is a notable author that received a number of rejections before finally being published. He began his career without the help of a literary agent. However, eventually dealing with one was beneficial with his noteworthy writing vocation.

Working with one of these reps is a personal decision that can help you promote your writing profession. Find a good one to work with and bring your writing and a publisher together.

techniques for finding a literary agent

Amazon has a lot of useful information for finding a literary agent


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    • pmccray profile image

      pmccray 6 years ago from Utah

      Thank you for sharing. Much needed advice for the novice writer.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Useful and interesting Hub. Appreciate the infromation and the resources.

    • smcopywrite profile image

      smcopywrite 6 years ago from all over the web

      random creative

      i just added another hub similar to this one which discusses your contract with the agent and writing a query letter

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks for the resources!

    • smcopywrite profile image

      smcopywrite 6 years ago from all over the web


      not me in the video, simply someone offering advise. there are some great literary agents out there and i have heard some horror stories also. depending on what you are trying to achieve with your career this can be a useful tool. thank you for your comment.---by the way, you are not narrow minded. have your own opinion, always..

    • SubRon7 profile image

      James W. Nelson 6 years ago from eastern North Dakota

      Was that you on the video? I don't know. I kind of compare an agent to a union rep, and suspect I'll end up having two people telling me what to do. An employer/union rep and a publisher/agent.

      I know: Narrow-minded.

    • pmccray profile image

      pmccray 6 years ago from Utah

      Very interesting and useful hub, bookmarked. Thanks for sharing.

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 6 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      A very useful hub on how to find a literary agent - an absolute minefield for new writers. A lot of good information and the video was also very helpful.

      Voted up!