Mismanaged (or mismatched) expectations are a fundamental cause of problems in the author-agent relationship. Authors can often avoid many problems—before and after signing with a literary agent—by establishing realistic expectations about the author-agent relationship.
Step 1: Know What Agents Do … and Do Not Do.
A literary agent can wear many different “hats” and fill many roles in an author’s world. Some of the common ones include:
– Line editing client manuscripts (essentially, doing the job a private editor might do).
– Pitching manuscripts to publishers, and negotiating contract offers.
– Consulting with authors about new ideas, series development.
– Discussing short term and/or long-term plans for the author’s writing career.
– Marketing advice (but not usually helping with the marketing itself).
– Helping promote the author’s work on the agent’s social media feeds.
– Acting as an intermediary between the author and publisher, allowing the author to be the…
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