What is the difference between a dramatic
and a literary agent?
Dramatic agents generally work with stage plays, screenplays, television material, and musicals. Literary agents work with books.
What can an agent do for a writer?
Literary and dramatic agents market rights to literary properties. They
may represent their clients with respect to literary work in these ways:
- Review an author's work.
- Provide an assessment of its quality and potential marketability.
- Offer editorial guidance.
- Suggest possible strategies for
securing its publication or production.
- Advise about trends, market conditions, practices, and contractual terms.
- Establish contacts with firms and persons acquiring rights to appropriate types of literary or dramatic material.
- Market the work and rights therein, including negotiation and review of licensing agreements.
- If a work is licensed, monitor licensees' marketing activity.
- Review royalty statements and keep the author informed in financial matters
How can an author find an agent?
first step is to detail the work(s) for which an agent is needed and
the expectations or desires one has for them. From this, a short list
may be assembled of attributes desired in an agent, which will be
useful in assessing the viability of any suggestion.
Lists of literary agents, available on this site
and in publications online or in libraries, notably Literary Market
Place, can provide a pool of candidates. Editors,
writing instructors or fellow writers may also provide recommendations.
Common methods for evaluating an agent include the agency size, client
and areas of specialization or interest.
The normal first approach to an agent is through a query
most common query method is by land mail, accompanied by a stamped,
self-addressed envelope for reply. Some agents accept queries by email;
the AAR listing includes this information as well as the email, if
usable, and sometimes suggestions of what to send.
A query is a brief letter describing the work. Brief. It lists prior
publications, if any. Some agents accept a short, 25 or 50 pages of manuscript and
an outline as part of the query. Materials should be unbound, neatly
typed and double-spaced. Always retain a copy of your manuscript.
One may approach several agents at the same time, though agents expect to be informed if other agents are receiving the query.
of charging for reading
and evaluating outlines, proposals or
partial or complete manuscripts has been subject to serious abuse. For that reason, the AAR
its members from charging reading fees.