While the books I represent generally are for a trade audience, and are available through Barnes & Noble, Amazon and independent bookstores, a number of my authors are academicians, and also have written for more academic audiences. Very often, that is how their book career began. Today, more categories, such as neuroscience, education, learning, botany, history, and more, are crossing over from academic/textbook to trade, as those authors are able to reframe their material or generate a new spin for an alternate receptive audience.
Literary agents, to many, are elusive creatures; difficult to find and communicate with in their native habitat. Maybe like a panda or a snow leopard. Last month I wrote about whether you needed a literary agent. The majority of academic authors likely do not need one. Some, however, will need or benefit from one.
Briefly, an agent represents writers and their written works to publishers. They assist in the sale and negotiation between the writer and the publisher.
Let’s say you do want to try to secure one: how do you proceed?
Literary agents conjure up so many images in the book culture. Two of the most common ones might be fabulous lunches at expensive New York restaurants or excited phone calls about a book auction. Let’s dive into what a literary agent is and examine if you need one.