We represent journalists and thought leaders who speak to a range of important political and social issues. As our world changes and evolves, we seek insight into the culture and influence of both macro and micro issues at hand. Whether through personal experience of careful research, our favorite authors are those who examine the implications of today’s social, economical, and political climates.
Literary agents exist largely to provide services to authors. These services include connecting the author’s work with appropriate publishers, contract negotiation, ensuring payment of royalties, and acting as a mediator if there are problems between the author and the publisher. With the help of agents especially young authors are able to get known by the public. Agents also assist publishing houses and others in expediting the process of review, publication, and distribution of authors’ works. Many well-known, powerful, and lucrative publishing houses (such as the big five) are generally less open than smaller publishers to unagented submissions.
A knowledgeable agent knows the market, and can be a source of valuable career advice and guidance. Being a publishable author doesn’t automatically make someone an expert on modern publishing contracts and practices, especially where television, film, or foreign rights are involved. Many authors prefer to have an agent handle such matters.
Literary agencies can range in size from a single agent who represents perhaps a dozen authors, to a substantial firm with senior partners, sub-agents, specialists in areas like foreign rights or licensed merchandise tie-ins, and clients numbering in the hundreds. Most agencies, especially the smaller ones, will specialize to some degree, representing authors who (for example) write science fiction, or mainstream thrillers and mysteries, or children’s books, or romance, or highly topical nonfiction. Very few agents will represent short stories or poetry.
This prevents the author’s working relationship with his or her editor from becoming strained by disputes about royalty statements or late checks. Another frequent function of the agent is often that of counselor, advising an author on various aspects of how to make writing a paying proposition on a timely basis. Literary agents are often very experienced members of the publishing industry who usually transition from years of working in the industry before moving on to being agents. Though self-publishing is becoming much more popular, literary agents still fulfill the role of acting as the gatekeepers to the publishing world.