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Literary Agent

You've just put long hours, months, and maybe years into a novel, and you are interested in finding a Literary Agent to represent you and your work. There are many of them out there, and many who claim to be a literary agent that are not. How do you find someone who will represent your best interests and get a publishing house interested in your book?

For one thing, a good warning is to never go with an agent that charges you a “reading fee” for looking at your work. Agents that do this are known to be disreputable, and there are plenty of good agents out there who will not charge you a reading fee for your book. Ask your agent about their experience. How long have they been in the field? An agent that has been in the field a long time may have plenty of experience and contacts, but an agent who hasn't been in the field very long may have more time to promote your work without being distracted by many other authors. Ask them if they are a member of the Association of Author's Representatives or the Association of Author's Agents (UK). If they are, they have been in the field at least 18 months, and have sold at least 10 books during that time. Don't overlook those who aren't members, however, because they may not have been in the business long enough to qualify. The AAR has a strict set of guidelines that agents must follow, so ask your prospective agent if they follow these guidelines.

Be sure to read your contract carefully if your agent requires one. Be sure that if things don't work out, you are able to break the relationship with your agent without being tied down and miserable.

Also, be sure to do your homework, and find out as much information as you can about literary agents and how they can best represent you. You want a literary agent who is not only passionate about their work, but passionate about yours.


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