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What are their roles when you are ready to publish?

Literary Agent

This person is hired by you to help present and hopefully sell your novel to a Publisher in return for a percentage of your earnings from that book.

Acquisition Editor

Editors represent a Publisher’s interest in any deal, not the writer’s. Their job is to get the best deal with the least amount of risk for the Publisher by paying you the smallest amount possible. They are not on your side, if you don’t sell anything they don’t make any money and you lose the opportunity to write for them.

Do you need an Agent?

Good question. An agent does some difficult work for the writer, but it isn’t free. The customary fee is 15% off the top of your writing income. They do some good work though.

  • They can critique and polish your manuscript ( not all of them do this)
  • Help develop a strong proposal
  • Pitch your proposal and manuscript to editors
  • Help with contract negotiations
  • Work as a Liaison between your editor and yourself
  • May help with career advice, developing marketing skills and branding
  • Will participate in accountability of the publisher regarding royalties.

If you can do all of these, then you might not need an agent. If you can’t do them with skill, then you might. Most major publishing houses do not accept un-agented submissions or queries from writers they do not know, so that is also something to consider.

You can sub-contract some of the jobs, but that will cost you, and it might be better to keep all the tasks with one person to avoid coordination issues. An agent should know what individual editors are in search of and can put you in touch with the right ones.

Before you look for an agent, make sure your work is ready, fully edited and polished. If not, you have nothing for an agent to sell. His job is to sell your work.


Acquisition Editors are very important, you really can’t publish without one, unless you are self-publishing ( another subject )

  • A good editor will find you in the huge pile of submitted works
  • They will push to have the publishing committee accept your work.
  • Strive to get you a great title and cover
  • Makes sure that the ‘back-blurb’ gives away enough but not too much
  • Will endeavour to get a good placement in the publisher’s catalogue and is presented as well as possible
  • Will pitch your book to the sales team so they can market it correctly and with enthusiasm
  • Encourage you to have your first draft ready on time.
  • Will stay on top of your revisions telling you what works and what doesn’t
  • Will track your novel through all the stages
  • Helps send the galley proofs to you for verification of authenticity
  • Works with the publicity department to get you coverage on TV, radio, or newspaper and magazine interviews.
  • Is your anchor when you feel like you’re drifting in a sea in the process
  • Tries to ensure the publisher will get a decent return on investing in you.

    this is your year written message, note book
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