Kristen Lamb

Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

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Posts Tagged: what do literary agents do

Signs of a bad agent.
Signs of a bad agent.

Hey Guys! I know it’s a wild and crazy world. Indie and self-publishing are exploding while traditional publishing is struggling to reinvent itself in the Digital Age. Yet, here’s the thing. Even if you go it alone, it is still a good idea to have an agent. There are contracts and film rights and foreign rights and pillow fights and…

Okay, I’m going to just shut up about this, because I am NOT an agent.

All right, I AM a secret spy agent in my own mind, but that’s totally different.

One of the reasons I LOVE Laurie McLean (my guest today) is that she’s seriously fun. But, aside from that, she’s been one of the most forward-thinking literary agents I’ve been blessed enough to meet.

Years ago, when MySpace still roamed the Earth, Laurie attended the very first Twitter class I’d ever taught. When other agents wouldn’t have been caught dead learning how to tweet (“because Facebook was just a fad”), Laurie attended and TOOK NOTES. She’s kind, brilliant, and VERY visionary and trust me when I tell you we are all very blessed to have her at WANA International.

So take it away Laurie!


If I had a live camera feed into every home around the world (which is a very creepy idea, but stay with me for a minute), each January I would be able to see a huge percentage of writers penning the resolution:

“This is the year I get a literary agent!”

It’s a great goal. Agents can be very helpful in not only getting you a publishing deal, but educating you on the business of publishing, helping you create and promote your author brand, making you a better writer, and basically having your back in the coldhearted world where you’ve decided to build your career.

Some agent relationships last longer than a marriage, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into when you accept an agent’s offer of representation. What you really need are some inside answers (along with working on your craft until you are proficient enough to succeed in being published) to speed you on your way.

I’ve been a literary agent for eight years now and I’ve amassed a huge arsenal of information that I am happy to share with writers. I’ve put them all into a presentation called AGENT SECRETS.

It explains what an agent does, how to find one, the best way to score representation by an agent, how to have a great client-agent relationship, what to watch out for, etc. I’m giving a super-cheap webinar where I reveal these secrets to anyone who has $25 and 90 minutes to spend with me. It’s a great way to start the year off right.

Here’s an example of some agent secrets:

What does an agent do? At the most basic level, a literary agent is an author’s business partner. An agent locates a publisher interested in buying an author’s writing and then negotiates a deal. But a literary agent is so much more than that. An agent is:

* A scout who constantly researches what publishers are looking for

* An advocate for an author and his or her work

* A midwife who assists with the birth of a writing project

* A reminder who keeps the author on track if things begin to slip

* An editor for that last push before submission

* A critic who will tell authors what they need to hear in order to improve

* A matchmaker who knows the exact editors for an author’s type of writing

* A negotiator who will fight to get the best deal for an author

* A mediator who can step in between author and publisher to fix problems

* A reality check if an author gets out of sync with the real world

* A liaison between the publishing community and the author

* A cheerleader for an author’s work or style

* A focal point for subsidiary, foreign and dramatic rights

* A mentor who will assist in developing an author’s career

* A rainmaker who can get additional writing work for an author

* A career coach for all aspects of your writing future

* An educator about changes in the publishing industry

* A manager of the business side of your writing life

I bet you didn’t know an agent did all those things, did you? You only wanted one to get a book deal, right? Well, agents do all this and more. With the publishing industry changing as much as it’s done in the past four years, I think you need a savvy agent more than ever as a guide through the literary jungle.

So I hope you’ll join me for an evening of fun and enlightenment…an evening of secrets. To register, go to WANA International and sign up NOW

…or Kristen gets the hose :).

I love hearing from you guys, so leave a comment, but better? TAKE THE CLASS. Best? Leave a comment AND taker her class.

Yes, I get lonely and you guys are my only tether to the outside world.