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.
* * *
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?
* * *
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?
* * *
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.