What is your opinion on literary agents

Literary agent as a freelance profession

Freelance literary agent


The literary agent is supposed to be a Mediating position between publisher and author take in. If they work in a publishing house, the literary agents often take over the trade in book rights. Free literary agents have a much broader field of activity. In general, literary agents can be differentiated according to their main activity: They work either as publishing agents or as authoring agents.

Service offers and professional activities

Literary agents take over in Publishing agencies the Trading in book rights, whereby it is not only about works in German, but also about international books, especially English-language literature. Are not in vain Foreign language skills Particularly important prerequisites for a successful activity for literary agents. The agents negotiate first edition rights, further processing and translation rights, and they monitor compliance with contracts.

Payments and compliance with calculated order sums also play a role here. The literary agent, who primarily looks after authors, accompanies the authors' works from the very beginning. The agent partially takes over Proofreading and reviews manuscripts for quality and market opportunities. If the assessment is positive, the search for a suitable publisher for the fiction work or the non-fiction book begins.

Note: literary agents are often also active as intermediaries and negotiate author contracts, fees and exploitation rights with the publisher.

Business etiquette

As in hardly any other industry, the freelancer who works as a literary agent has to Business etiquette dominate. It depends on the good tonewhen negotiations are being conducted with customers - regardless of whether they are from the publisher or the author. The literary agent needs a certain negotiating skill, because he must be able to mediate between two parties, even if the fronts may already have hardened.

A good literary agent knows how to behave in confrontations and unforeseen situations as well as when introducing different people to one another or at a business lunch. Even if business etiquette certainly has parallels to etiquette in private life, the special points should be known.

Comprehensive knowledge of copyright and contract law

A Literary agent must deal with the Copyright and contract law know particularly well. The Contract law plays a role for him especially when it comes to drafting the contracts between the author and the publisher. Depending on who has hired the literary agent, the interests of the customer will certainly come first, followed by those of the contractual partner.

Nevertheless, contracts have to be absolutely solid. For the freelancer, this means that he should have basic legal knowledge of contract law. The copyright applies not only to text productions, but also extends to the use of Images and other data. If, for example, a radio spot is being developed for an author's new book, for which a song is to be used as background music, GEMA must also be taken into account here. The literary agent also needs basic legal knowledge on this point if he wants to offer comprehensive support to publishers and authors.

Liability insurance for the literary agent

Every literary agent is advised to have one Liability insurance complete. Claims can be made from many sides, from customers as well as from publishers or agencies.

Remember: the job involves a high advisory part of the work and incorrect or faulty advice can lead to claims for damages.

Since the freelancer has to be liable with all his money, insurance makes perfect sense. It bears the costs for damages, for a possible court hearing and for all other costs that arise from property damage, personal injury or financial loss.

Author's fee

Conveying the writer to Publishers goes hand in hand with an agreement on the amount of the author's fee.Reputable agencies in Germany charge a certain fee for their work, but this is only due after successful placement.

Even in the first conversation, the Conditions for the contract clarified and the opinion of the authors on offers obtained. A lot of money can be made by working on a manuscript and looking after the authors, but only if it can be conveyed. Authors have to be sold to publishers, although this should be seen in a positive sense.

By the way:Some freelance editors also successfully represent writers to publishers, depending on the topic.

Author: J├╝rgen Busch

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