Author care has everything to do with being a literary agent.
Writing each day can be a lonely business, and authors need attention to ensure that they stay on track, write top quality manuscripts and deliver according to their contracts. I like to handle all the business side of things so my authors can concentrate on writing. They need an agent to bounce ideas off, to edit their work before it goes to their publisher and to offer valuable feedback at all stages in their career.
I like my authors to be as ambitious as I am. I need them to see writing as a long-term career. A lot of success only happens after three or four books are published, once the writer has really grown their readership. There can be times that are more challenging than others, for instance when a writer is out of contract or has just delivered the first draft of a new book. They have to trust their agent to get the best deals for them and to match them up with the best editors for them around the world. It is also key that the agent can be frank with their clients’ editors and voice any concerns during the publication process, whilst the author can maintain a very smooth relationship with their editor.
There is a huge amount of work involved when submitting each manuscript my authors produce to all the major editors in every single country. I have to create a huge amount of hype and convince people that they simply have to publish their books. I create a lot of this hype at the international book fairs when I see all the editors in person. This week alone, at the London Book Fair 2012, I had over ninety meetings with editors, pitching my authors’ new titles and backlist. It is important to get as many foreign rights deals for my authors as possible. I want them to be international bestsellers. Also, keeping track of payments, making sure the contracts are fair and getting top advances and royalty rates for each deal negotiated are key factors to being a good agent.
Part 3 of What does a literary agent do? will address Deal Making.