How to Choose a Literary Agent – Choosing Book Agents

How to choose a literary agent How to choose a literary agent – follow these important guidelines. There are 12 important criteria to consider before committing to a literary agency and letting them represent you. This article explains all of them.

This article is part of an 8-part series called Hiring a Literary Agent. If you don’t already have one or more literary agencies offering representation, and you want to know how to get literary agencies interested, click here to Read My Get a Literary Agent Guide. Click here to access our FREE Directory of Book Agents – Instant Access.

* * *

How to Choose a Literary Agent Criteria

* * *

Criteria 1: How to Choose a Literary Agent

Project Feedback

Want to know how to choose a book agent? Don’t get too excited when a literary agency raves about your book. It can be a bad thing if those accolades aren’t accompanied by ways to improve your book. No matter how polished your manuscript is, a good publishing agent should be able to help you make it better.

* * *

Criteria 2: How to Choose a Publishing Agent

Agenting Experience

The more experience an author representative has, the more likely it is you’ll get the results that you want. Want to know how to choose a book agent? Don’t be a brand new agent’s guinea pig unless it’s your only option.

* * *

Criteria 3: How to Choose a Literary Agent

Industry Knowledge

Just because someone’s new to agenting doesn’t mean that he or she won’t represent you well. If a new agent used to be a publisher, editor, or publicist… you might get quality representation anyway. Want to know how to choose a book agent? Don’t put too much weight on agenting experience.

* * *

Criteria 4: How to Choose a Literary Agent

Category Connections

Just because a book agent has a great deal of agenting experience and industry knowledge doesn’t mean that he or she has connections in your genre or category. Want to know how to choose a book agent? Select a literary agency that has sold books in your genre.

* * *

Criteria 5: How to Choose a Publishing Agent

Energy & Enthusiasm

When I was hired to work for the publisher Blue Mountain Arts, my boss at the time said that one reason was that I was “high energy” …and high energy people get a lot more done. She was right. Want to know how to choose a book agent? Hire a publishing agent that’s enthusiastic about your work and high energy.

* * *

Criteria 6: How to Choose a Literary Agent

Current Workload

It doesn’t matter if you have the most successful literary agency in the world representing you, if your representative doesn’t have time for you. Want to know how to choose a book agent? Select one that’s successful and busy… but not too busy.

* * *

Criteria 7: How to Choose a Literary Agent

Job Satisfaction & Focus

Some author representatives are successful but unhappy. Maybe they want to be somewhere else or they’re distracted by their personal life. Want to know how to choose a book agent? Select an author representative that’s happy, fulfilled, and focused.

* * *

Criteria 8: How to Choose a Publishing Agent

Attitude Toward Authors

Some publishing agents treat authors as though they’re doing them a tremendous favor by offering them representation. Want to know how to choose a book agent? Select a literary agency that treats the author/agent relationship like a partnership.

* * *

Criteria 9: How to Choose a Literary Agent

Communication

I don’t trust people in business that don’t communicate effectively. Want to know how to choose a book agent? Select a literary agency that doesn’t take too long to get back to you and actually gets on the phone with you (instead of just responding by email).

* * *

Criteria 10: How to Choose a Literary Agent

Support Team

Something awful could happen to your book agent the day after you sign a contract: job loss, rehab, relocation, terminal illness, even death. Want to know how to choose a book agent? Select a literary agency with multiple agents so you’ll have a better chance of not getting “orphaned” if something goes bad.

* * *

Criteria 11: How to Choose a Publishing Agent

Personality

Personality isn’t everything, but it’s something. Want to know how to choose a publishing agent? Select a book agent with decent social skills that doesn’t get on your nerves. Your author representative has to interact with people to sell your book.

* * *

Criteria 12: How to Choose a Literary Agent

Contract Terms

Want to know how to choose a book agent? If all the criteria listed above are equal, choose the literary agency that offers you the best contract terms. Most agencies charge the same commission percentage, but they vary when it comes to contract length, your freedom to work with other agents for other books, etc.

Now, click here to read the next article in this 8-part series
and learn the best Questions to Ask a Literary Agent.

Discover the best questions to ask a literary agent

Pin It on Pinterest

Shares