AGENT KNOWHOW What agents do

Our Agent KnowHow continues with Davinia Andrew-Lynch, founder of ANDLYN agency, as she reveals the mysteries of what an agent does. 

A lot of focus can be placed on creating the perfect Submission Package, but before this, you need to understand: what agents do.
  • Agents do not sit around reading all day
  • An agent does not make easy money
  • Having an agent does not mean your book will immediately sell
For many budding authors, the latter point is a bit of an eye opener! It is important to understand that finding representation is just the beginning of what can be a long journey to publication.

Getting ready for publication
Many agents will work closely, potentially through umpteen drafts, to improve a client’s manuscript. Following signing with an agent, very rarely is it the case that a manuscript can be immediately sent out to editors. 

All the while...
Whilst we are working with you, we are continuously having conversations and meetings with new and old contacts. This can include editors, co-agents, scouts, producers, journalists or even bloggers. 

Each of these interactions allow us to assess which publisher, which editor, will be the right match for your manuscript. They allow us to establish a network of contacts who will spread the good word about your work. They help us consider the best opportunities to find the right audiences in as many suitable spaces as possible. 

After the deal
Once we obtain that hallowed deal, we will negotiate the best contract for an author. This doesn’t just mean obtaining the highest advance. But ensuring that the royalty rates are fair. That the subsidiary rights (e.g. translation, audio, e-book, media) obtained are done so for the right price and that the publisher is well placed to exploit those very rights. Beyond this, we help the author navigate conversations had with the relevant in-house publishing teams about book covers, illustrations, marketing and publicity. 

Essentially, we are ensuring that your treatment is fair and reasonable. 

Agents are ultimately your CHAMPIONS. They are there to support and steer you through what will hopefully become a successful writing career.

And remember, rejection isn’t just for the agent submission stage. Sometimes, unfortunately, a book may not initially find a home. Depending on the agent you choose to work with, they will help guide you through that difficult process. This can involve working out what next to write, or rethinking where to position you as an author. 

Who to approach

In considering who to approach for representation, understand what it is that agent may offer and the types of authors they represent. Agents, in this day and age, are actually fairly open and there are plenty of ways in which to do your research – whether it’s reading interviews, analysing their client lists, looking at the agency policy and culture as a whole. 

When you do get that offer of representation, ensure that your future champion is someone you feel comfortable with. You should be able to be honest, ask difficult questions and trust in your agent. And, they must be able to do the same. 

Yes, this is a business relationship, but it is one where you must also be a team.

* Main image bSeven Shooter

Davinia Andrew-Lynch is a Literary Agent and the founder of boutique literary agency, Andlyn. Initially specialising in Children's and YA Fiction, the agency has now expanded to represent authors of commercial fiction and non-fiction for all ages. 

Formerly an associate film/TV agent and freelance children’s fiction editor, Davinia is always on the lookout for big, bold and heartfelt narratives across all genres. Clients include Annabelle Sami, Bex Hogan, Malcolm Duffy and Davina Tijani.


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