Top literary agent tips below, along with access to our free Directory of Literary Agents… along with a warning. That top book agent that you’re thinking about querying might not be that great. Read this article before signing with a top literary agency.
As a former NY Times bestselling book agent, I’ve met lots of agents at writers’ conferences, parties, and other events. Many (most?) agents are wonderful, but some of them are %&$#?@!. There’s just no other way to say it.
So, scroll below and get the inside scoop… before you put your creative life in the hands of a top literary agent that might do your career more harm than good. This article is part of a 7-part series to help you Find the Best Literary Agent for Your Book.
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Top Literary Agent Warning for Authors
When you’re trying to decide on the top literary agent for you, there are a lot of things to consider. Some of them are more obvious than others. I’ve posted a checklist for you below, but make sure you read the special consideration below the checklist.
- Size of the Literary Agency
- Publishing Experience
- Editorial Experience
- Sales Record
- Genre or Category Interest
- Influence in the Industry
- Agency Location
- Agency Contract
- Current Workload
- Belief in Your Book
- Energy and Enthusiasm
- Commitment to Agenting
read my Guide to Finding a Literary Agent.
WARNING: Top Literary Agent Alert
Even if the “top literary agent” at a literary agency wants to represent you (and scores high marks in the areas listed above) there’s still one more thing to consider… and it’s just as important as all of the other criteria combined.
Yes, some very talented agents
It can damage you.
And it can damage your career.
- Your top literary agent might take reckless risks when negotiating deals
- Your top book agent might not return your calls
- Your top literary agent might have a big ego
- Your top literary agent might not send out more than a few copies of your work to publishers
- Your top literary agent might be a completely selfish opportunist
- Your top book agent might be involved in unethical business practices
- Your top literary agent might attempt to be sexually inappropriate with you or other publishing professionals
- Your top literary agent might use profanity in public frequently
- Your top book agent might be a bully
- Your top literary agent might not care about the people he’s trying to sell to
I’ve met agents (and heard stories about others) that do all these things. It was the beginning of a great disillusionment for me, someone who always held literary agents and other publishing professionals in the highest regard.
I’m over it now (mostly).
I’ve stopped trying to figure out what might have happened in someone’s childhood to make them such an %&$#?@! (or fix them). Now I’m pouring my energy into making sure you’re not naive about it.
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Avoid the %&$#?@! – Get a Top Literary Agent
So how do you avoid the financially successful (but otherwise slimy) literary agents, because that information isn’t included in most of the popular print and online literary agent directories?
Simply type in the name of the literary agent followed by the words “literary agent” or “literary agency” and see what comes up. You can also add the word “Warning” or “Beware” to your search. For example, here’s a screenshot of what I found when I typed in the search “Barbara Bauer Literary Agency Beware.”
Most literary agents are competent and kind.
Just make sure that your top literary agent is one of them.
Click here to read the next article in this 7-part series,
and see the The Best Book Agent of All Time.