How much do Literary Agents ChargeWhat do frahlings charge?
TRUTHS ABOUT THE LITERARY AGENTS' REMUNERATION
After interviewing frahlings on the basis of lists in various well-known leaders or information you found on line, you may have had the impression of listening to an agent who described himself as not chargeable, but somehow wants you to give her cash anyway. Can there be occasions when prepaid funds are not really a charge?
Beware Writers are defined as a commission - without commission - to be payed by any customer or prospective customer before the service is provided. If agents want to make cash in advance, how can they identify themselves as non-chargers? What is the problem with the charges anyway?
There used to be some agents who billed for the cost of literacy. This was because it took a while to review a script and why should an agency do it for free? Understandably so, but it is not difficult to see how misuse can occur: agents who only charge contributions to receive the cost of literacy.
Finally, this type of misuse was so prevalent that most trade representative organisations adopted directives forbidding members from levying costs for literacy. In order to continue to collect funds from authors, but to avoid the ever worse reputations of the cost of reading, some agents tried to put the semblance of value by adding a criticism to the edit.
This resulted in valuation charges. It was the intention that the authors should not only be given a lecture but a paper assessing the strength and weakness es of their scripts and explaining why the scripts were turned down. They were often not made by an operative, but by an unexperienced trainee or unskilled minimal labor.
Sometimes they were full-scale scams, with exactly the same rating sent to everyone. Other agents who were looking for a stigma-free way to get paid in advanced came up with the concept of paying for their services. This fee goes through many other filing, contracting, processing, dissemination, preparing, managing, withholding - but essentially the basic concept is the same: the author is asked in advance to pay the costs of filing his or her work to publishing houses.
There is some disorientation here because it is customary for serious agents to require customers to refund part of the costs associated with manuscript sales. As a rule, these are expenditures that go beyond the usual costs for commercial photocopies, postage/feed ex, long distances telephone conversations, read-aloud copy or ready-made accounts to co-agents abroad.
This could be a few hundred bucks a year in the pre-digital age; nowadays, when most businesses are electronic, you should not be expecting to be hooked for more than a few hundred bucks in all. Anything else - travelling, attorneys' expenses, stationery, rent, utility costs, the editorial support many agents provide to prepare scripts for filing - should be included as regular work.
Remuneration shall be delimited from the author's prepayment and shall be refunded or invoiced to the latter upon its occurrence. Doubtful agents, on the other hand, want cash as soon as they subscribe to a policy - whether as a prepayment on renewal, a recurrent charge on each renewal, a per-month or per-quarter payment, or even a per-deposit charge.
You often want to spend not only on the issues described above, but also on every briefcase, every cover and every staple, or on superfluous accessories such as photographs, visiting card, advertising plan and unusual folders. These agents often offer refunds when your books are on sale. Although this may seem attractive, it is usually a sure bet, as most agents who charge in advance have no or minimum credit.
Read and review charges used to be the most common type of charge, but nowadays the most common is the one you will come across. This allows dubious agents to give the impression of being legitimate - because "everyone knows" that agents are expecting customers to pay part of the costs of filing - and has the added advantage of allowing payers to use semiantic tricks to divert authors from the fact that they are asked to pay money in advanced - it's not a charge, it's an advanced refund!
In the past, many agents who levied read or rating charges have changed to marketers' charges. Of the new payers of charges, the cost of promotion is the one of the winners. All agents who charge royalties aren't unfair. Below are some of the charges you may incur. Occasionally the agents are sincere and call this a flat-rate payment for scanning costs, but they can also come up with a euphemism - for example with an "advance on commission" or a "processing fee".
Nowadays, as already mentioned, the cost of literacy is relatively low. There is a read or submit cost that earns you something - a review, a more detailled refusal to accept, agency counseling. It is sometimes an option - but don't be sure that the agency will give your application a lot of consideration if you don't do it.
A company that requested an "optional" assessment charge requested the authors who did not want to settle to subscribe to a disclaimer that relieves the company of any liability for the filing - readership included. These charges go through many name submissions, advertising, circulation, costs, advances.... even advances, as in "advance at cost" - and can reach from two to four digits.
A number of dubious agents maximise their revenue flows with short-term agreements - with terms of six or even four-month. Instead of at the time of contract signature or periodic invoicing, some dubious agents charge a fee for each filing. The more entries you make, the more revenue you earn, the greater the motivation to submit your work to as many publishing houses as possible - whether they are suitable for your work or not.
One charge per lesson. There are no serious agency fees per hours. Occasionally, the agents are sincere enough to tell you that the criticism or handling charge goes into their pockets, but other agents will take you out to take on criticism or handling duties that they themselves run under a different name.
So they can act as if "they" do not charge a charge. A lot of serious agents work with customers to shine the manuscript for submissions to publishing houses, but they do not charge for that part of the services for which their 15% commissions are ultimately paid. However, if an advertising company requires you to submit more than one manuscript on a piece of hardcopy, be careful - the advertising company can be an old-fashioned semi-scammer who plans to put your work on a (probably badly targeted) publishers' wash lists, which is both non-professional and inept.
It was customary in the pre-digital age to give customers the opportunity to pay an advance royalty or to provide 20 or 30 manuscripts at their own costs. Like mentioned above, serious agents only charge for expenditures that exceed the normal overhead. Failing this, find out exactly what issues will be covered or request a specimen invoice so you can see what the asset is considered recoverable.
Be careful when the agents expect you to be paying for things like stationery and covers, or when there are objects like visiting card and photographs. Charges for additional benefits. A number of dubious consultancies ask or urge customers to buy various types of service (website design, model mock-ups or artwork, soft copy listings) or to take part in various pay-to-play programs (a catalogue allegedly available at trade shows, a specific page or section on the agency's website, podcasting with advertisers).
As these costs are incurred after signature of the agreement and may be an option, the Agencys argument is that they are not costs. A dubious spy, for example, will charge a flat charge for scanning, a charge per entry and an flat charge per lesson (half an hours per entry). Someone else will charge a review charge, a filing charge and regularly charge the customer for a service such as creating a website.
Someone else will charge the client for "editing" his scripts and then charge a fee for the manuscript to be submitted on a month-to-month basis.