agency agreements

I’ve been feeling a bit up at arms lately concerning agency agreements. It seems to me that there is a huge amount of misunderstanding out there about them. I found a great, great post about this at Rachelle Gardner’s blog:

Please read it for your own protection. Most agency agreements protect the agent, not you, and you can end up agreeing to pay the agent commission even if the agent doesn’t sell your book.

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11 Responses to agency agreements

  1. Rachelle's post was fascinating. I read your comment that you don't normally use a written contract. I'm assuming that works well for you and your writers. Have you ever run into a problem?

  2. Patti says:

    That was a great posting. Very informative. I've added it to my mountains of research.

  3. Thanks for the informative posting. I am in the process of finding an agent for my book and this information is good to know.

  4. Is an agency waiver (something I have signed as I sought representation) different from an agency agreement? I think the one I signed was along the lines that I wouldn't sue the agency for having read my submission. I had no qualms about signing it. Should I have had?

  5. Sarah Bain says:

    WHAT? I thought those agreements protected the writer's wife? I thought the agreement included that the agent fly the writer's wife out for the weekend to play?

    Oh, I better read those old contracts or at least get the writer to sign a new contract with the new agency. Hmmm….

  6. Kim says:

    Thank you for posting this. I read Rachelle's blog, but must have missed this. Very timely information.

  7. jennybent says:

    In general the waivers are fine. Get a lawyer to look if there is anything too complicated.

  8. Thanks for the information. It's too bad writers have to worry about being taken
    advantage of. I hope, that once I have a few more credits, I find an agent who will become a friend/co-worker and someone I can always trust.

  9. Vicamaya says:

    Great infomation! I appreciate all the help I can get.

  10. Oh dear, at the risk of rubbing several people the wrong way, I must ask: do you really need an agent? Really really really?

    I shopped my book aroud on my own and landed a publishing contract within four months.

    I have a pretty standard contract for a first-time author… which means I won't be getting rich off this 😉

    I just didn't see the point in paying a percentage to someone else.

    Maybe I will change my tune in the future, but that remains to be seen.

    Cheers, Jill

  11. jennybent says:

    Hi Jill,
    Well, here's what you missed: much better contract terms negotiated by an agent who is familiar with the form and automatically gets a better boilerplate than you received. This is very important in terms of electronic royalty rates, out of print language, subsidiary rights, option clause, etc. You also missed having a knowledgeable advocate who guides you through the process. And finally, you missed having an agent to sell your foreign, audio, and film rights, giving you a lot of additional income beyond your advance. It's almost impossible to find an agent to sell sub rights for a book they didn't represent in the first place.
    So, point being, an agent doesn't just exist to sell your manuscript. I'm not trying to talk you into having one if you don't want one, of course, just answering the question that you raised.