Literary Agents


Overview

Literary Agents

Introduction

Literary agents, also known as authors’ representatives, serve as intermediaries between writers and potential employers such as publishers and television producers. Agents also represent actors, artists, athletes, musicians, politicians, and other public figures who may seek to undertake writing endeavors. In essence, agents sell a product: their clients' creative talent. In addition to finding work for their clients, agents also may negotiate contracts, pursue publicity, and advise clients in their careers. The majority ...

Quick Facts


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Median Salary

$66,040

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Employment Prospects

Fair

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Minimum Education Level

High School Diploma


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Experience

Internship


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Skills

Business Management


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Personality Traits

Creative

Earnings

Literary agents generally earn between $20,000 and $60,000 annually, with a rare few making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Because independent agents take a percentage of their clients' earnings (4 to 20 percent), their livelihoods are contingent upon the success of their clients, which is in turn contingent on the agents' ability to promote talent. Some beginning agents can go as lon...

Work Environment

Agents' hours are often uncertain, for in addition to fairly regular office hours, they often must meet on weekends and evenings with clients and editors with whom they are trying to build relationships. The majority of their time, however, is spent in the office on the phone. Novices can expect no more than a cubicle, while established agents may enjoy luxurious office suites.

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Outlook

Agents work in an extremely competitive field. Most agents who attempt to go into business for themselves fail within one year. Most job openings within agencies are the result of turnover, rather than the development of new positions. There are many candidates for few positions.

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