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  • Writer's pictureIan Brooks

How Much Does a Literary Agent Cost?

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How much does a literary agent cost? The answer to this comes with a caveat. The simple response is NOTHING. A literary agent will cost you nothing. In other words, there should be no exchange of payment up front and if a literary agent is trying to convince you otherwise, here's a piece of advice...RUN! However, an agent does take a cut of your earnings. This varies from agent to agent and territory to territory. Typically, this will be 15% on domestic royalties and 20% on overseas. When it comes to TV and film, the fee is also 20%.

The fees might seem quite steep but when you consider the amount of work agents do and the fact they don’t get paid unless you do, it makes sense. They also don’t claim any income from other sources of an author’s writing related income such as school visits and sponsorships.

Due to the cut literary agents take, many decide to eliminate them from the process and either go to a publisher who accepts unsolicited manuscripts directly or will self-publish, handling all the marketing and distribution materials themselves.

There is no right or wrong decision when it comes to choosing whether to have an agent or not. But if an agent’s percentage is putting you off, know that they do more than enough work to justify it.

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