Why does an author need an agent?
A literary agent represents a writer and his/her books to the publishing world. The agent has relationships with editors and publishers, as well as foreign rights agents, film agents, audio publishers, etc. and is able to effectively get the book in the hands of the right people. Once the book is sold, the agent negotiates the contract on behalf of the author and helps them manage their future projects and career decisions. It’s sometimes possible for an author to do these things without an agent, but virtually all published authors are represented because they understand that it’s better to have a professional on board who is on their side.
Do I have to pay an agent?
Not directly. Traditionally, agents take at 15% commission of only what they sell for you. The Irene Goodman Agency follows industry standards regarding commissions.
How do I get an agent at the Irene Goodman Agency to read my work?
First, do your research about which agents here represent the genre that you write in. (Each of our bios explains what specifically what we’re looking for).
Then email a query letter to us at email@example.com. Address the letter to the particular agent.
At the top of the letter, open with a brief ‘logline’, a basic pitch of what the book is about, the word count, what genre it is. Then follow this with a brief synopsis (no more than five paragraphs). End the letter with a brief and relevant bio. Paste the first 10 pages of the first chapter into the body of the email - DO NOT attach anything unless you are specifically asked to do that.
How long before I get a response?
Unfortunately, due to the massive amounts of queries we receive (about 100 a day), we simply cannot respond to them all. We will get in touch if we are interested in seeing more, usually within 6-8 weeks.
What is special about your agency?
We are large enough and have the clout to rival any other agency in town, but clients never get lost in the shuffle here. We love what we do and have a very positive work environment. This is an agency where everyone looks forward to Mondays. Our goal is to make every client a star, and to enjoy the ride.
Do you represent film rights?
Yes, we sell the film rights to books that we sell, but we do not represent screenplays. We work with Steve Fisher, at the Agency for the Performing Arts in L.A., who sells movie and TV rights for us. His client list includes Dorothy Allison (National Book Award nominee for Bastard Out of Carolina); estate of Arthur C. Clarke; Patrick O’Brian (Master and Commander series); Lee Child (Jack Reacher franchise currently at Paramount with Cruise/Wagner); Jim Sallis (author of Drive at Universal with Hugh Jackman attached to star and Marc Platt to produce); bestselling suspense author John Saul; Young adult author Garth Nix, John Connelly, and Pulitzer Prize winners Phil Caputo (Rumor of War) and Burrows & Wallace.
What about translation rights?
Danny Baror and Heather Baror-Shapiro sell our foreign rights, and there is simply no one better. Danny is known as the “king of foreign rights”, because he transformed what used to be a sleepy and pokey business into a competitive, forward-thinking one where he commands top dollar. He works with a number of book agencies, and although his clients include several major bestselling authors, we have found that he works just as hard for authors who are breaking in.
Do you have a contract with your authors?
Yes, we have a simple one-page agreement.