Literary Agency – Dictionary Corner – Publishing Terms Translated

Have you ever spoken to someone in publishing or browsed the submission portion of an agency’s website and wondered what on earth we’re all talking about?

Well, wonder no more. Here in Dictionary Corner we will strive to shed some light on the technical jargon and industry lingos that often confuse new writers.

Literary Agency – We often receive calls from prospective authors asking what a literary agent actually does.

Well, to put it as simply as possible, we sell our authors’ work to publishers.

A literary agent basically acts like an actor’s agent or an estate agent but for authors instead of actors or reasonably priced two bedroom apartments, fully furnished within walking distance of the number 42 bus and other local amenities.

More specifically, here is what being a Literary Agency means to us at the Darley Anderson Agency:

The first step in our process is talent-spotting. That’s where you come in. We actively search out the most exciting new talents around by reading hundreds of submissions on a weekly basis, attending writing events and by doing things like creating this blog to help fledgling writers to find their feet (and to find us).

If we sign you to the agency we may well offer editorial support first of all to make sure that your work is at its very best before we take it to the publishers.

Then comes the deal-making. Our agents have expert knowledge of the publishing industry (which as you can tell from the sheer size of the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook is very large and potentially confusing from an outsider’s perspective). They will know exactly who to approach on your behalf and, as skilled negotiators, they will always get the best deal for you and your writing.

On top of that we will handle the foreign rights of your work. This means that we will take your writing to publishers all over the world. Our foreign rights team works tirelessly in foreign markets to fill our authors’ bookshelves with editions of their work in every known language (keep an eye on Dictionary Corner for more on this at a later date).

In addition to all of that we provide advice and author care which can be essential to an author’s long-term career. We can act as a sounding board for new ideas, support you at publishing events and basically fight your corner in any disputes or issues that you face as a writer. To summarise, we’ll have your back.

Are there any terms we use that befuddle you? Please do let us know by leaving a comment or emailing and we’ll respond with our own personal definition just for you.

By Vicki Le Feuvre

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Many thanks again. Really interesting info:)

  2. Lydia Ong says:

    How do people submit manuscripts?

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