What are the Paying Terms of a Literary Agent?


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Thread: What are the Paying Terms of a Literary Agent?

  1. #1

    What are the Paying Terms of a Literary Agent?

    If you find a literary agent, would you pay in advance or only pay when your book has been accepted by a publisher or only when the book has sold? How does it work?

  2. #2
    You don't pay agents.
    Other than some charging for office expenses, they should not be asking for any $$ from you...if they are legit.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the information.

  4. #4
    The agent takes 15% (as a rule) of any money you make through contracts. Depending on the publisher, your royalties may be divided right at the publisher (with them sending 85% to you, 15% to your agent) or the money may ALL go to the agent, with them then keeping their 15% and forwarding your 85% on to you.

    I've heard different percentages for different types of sales (foreign rights, or whatever) but the 15% is the standard base.

    ETA: And the money goes to the agency when the money comes to you. So for a standard advance payment, you'd get 33% on signing, 33% on delivery (often the same time for first manuscripts) and 33% on publication.

    So, say you write a book and sell it for a 10K advance, and at the time the publisher decides they want a second book in the series, also a 10K advance.

    When you sign, you get: 33% of book A AND 33% of book B for signing, plus 33% of book A because you've delivered the MS. So that's 10K - 1.5K to the agent, 8.5 K to you.

    Then you write the second book and deliver it. 33% of book B. $500 to the agent, $2 833 to you.

    Book A gets published; you get 33%, divided as above.

    Book B gets published; you get 33%, divided as above.

    The whole process probably takes at least a year and a half, probably closer to two. And that's AFTER you've spent the time writing, submitting to agents, after the agent has spent the time finding a publisher... it's not fast!

    Royalties are usually paid quarterly (or monthly at some smaller publishers) and they're divided as received.

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