At a time when the whole TV writer-screenwriter/agent relationship has become muddied by the Writers Guild of America’s attempts to curb talent agency conflict of interest (with the resultant filing of several lawsuits by both sides of the disagreement), the author/book agent relationship still seems to be thriving.
If you’re somebody who writes for publication and are looking for insight into what authors and agents should expect from one another, the following will be invaluable…and if you’re new at this game, probably surprising as well.
by Mark Gottlieb
(agent at Trident Media Group)
As someone working within major trade book publishing in New York City, I am often asked what agencies are looking for from authors of fiction.
I have provided a quick, and hopefully helpful, list used in evaluating a writer of fiction.
These are not all of the factors that make writers attractive in the eyes of representatives and publishers. They are some of the major factors that come into consideration.
What Literary Agents Want From Authors Of Fiction
Good writing will always win the day. Especially in fiction writing – as authors become household names because of the quality of their writing.
For this reason, fiction is often more author-driven, whereas nonfiction is more idea-driven (we will get into that in another article on nonfiction).
Loyal readers will come back to a writer of fiction time and time again, knowing what to expect.
What is good writing?
- In commercial fiction, this often means a strong plot that propels the narrative forward.
- In literary fiction, this means character development and the quality of the writing. It might even be a matter of the cadence of the words….