Agents and authors have more in common than you might think…

I know you writers think that agents have a pretty great gig. And we do! We do it because we love finding emerging writers and developing their career while sharing their work with the world. However, there are parts of our job that not all writers are aware of and I share some here:

  • We get rejected too! We manage the careers for multiple clients and if you think getting passes from editors for your book is tough think about us: we love all our clients’ books and get passes for the majority of them until we find a home.
  • If you think writing a query letter is difficult, we write pitch letters for all our clients’ projects. We do our research, tailor them to each editor, carefully proofread and re-read to make sure we nailed the hook, and send them out with nerves just like you do as writers.
  • Like non fiction writers sending proposals to agents, agents write proposals for our clients to send to editors. Now it varies how much we assist in this process, but often I’ve written 85% of client proposals to get them up to industry standards. If you think all that research is tough, we do the exact same thing: overview, author bio, your market, a marketing plan, comparative titles, and sample material.
  • We also work on our platforms. We encourage our authors to have blogs and Twitter feeds. Guess what? We build our platforms too! How else can we consult our clients on social media if we don’t talk the talk and walk the walk? We write articles and attend conferences, too.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change a thing about my job! But, there are ups and downs just like everyone else. The less glamourous side of agenting is still fun and makes me look forward to starting work every morning.

Image via Globe and Mail Books

Published by Carly Watters

Carly Watters is a SVP, senior literary agent and director of literary branding with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial and upmarket fiction, select literary fiction, platform-driven non fiction and select memoir. She occasionally represents children's book projects. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

2 thoughts on “Agents and authors have more in common than you might think…

  1. Writers can spend a lot of time trying to get agents to love them/love their work…but I have more sympathy now after hearing agent Hilary McMahon talk about attending the London Fair where an inebriated agent was proclaiming that the publishing world was the Titanic and that they should all get off while they still could.


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