Literary Agent Agreement – Guide to Book Agents

Literary agent agreement Literary agent agreement  – what do you need to know? A literary agency contract or agreement is the first step toward getting a publishing agreement with a traditional publisher like Random House or Simon & Schuster. But there isn’t just one type of literary agency agreement you need to know about. There are two.

And one of them is a really bad idea.

See both literary agent agreement types below in this article from our 8-part Guide to Hiring a Literary Agent. If you don’t already have one or more literary agencies offering representation, and you want to change that, click here to read my Get a Literary Agent Guide for Authors.

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Literary Agent Agreement – Two Types

You might find this hard to believe but some literary agencies don’t give authors a written literary agent agreement. Instead, they offer a verbal agreement. Or, they give the author an option to choose between a written book agent agreement and a verbal book agent agreement.

Which one is best?

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Get a Written Literary Agent Agreement

A written literary agent agreement is the only type of book agent agreement that I recommend. If you have any business experience whatsoever, you already understand this.

Written agreements are best for many reasons:

  • People forget things. Don’t rely on your memory, or your agent’s memory, when it comes to your book and your business.
  • Misunderstandings happen. Writing things down makes it much easier to expose any ambiguity, and eliminate anything that both parties don’t agree on.
  • Other people might get involved. What happens if your agent gets fired, leaves the agency, retires, etc.?
  • Not all relationships are forever. If you or your representative ever want to terminate your verbal literary agent agreement, what happens then? Who’s entitled to what? What is the timeline?

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Literary Agent Agreement – Conclusion

I definitely want you to trust your book agent and I don’t want you to live in fear… but I also don’t want you to be naive and make yourself vulnerable. There are too many important parts of a literary agent agreement for them to not be put in writing.

Now, click here to read the next article in this 8-part series
and see the different parts of a Literary Agent Contract.

Learn about the different parts of a literary agent contract

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