While a literary agent has many responsibilities of what they should and can do for you, their client, sometimes writers can cross over the line of expecting certain things that aren’t necessarily the job of a literary agent. It’s up to authors to know exactly what to expect and what they shouldn’t expect when signing a contract with a literary agent. After all, you don’t want the agent to regret signing you.
So what exactly isn’t an agent required to do for you?
SELL EVERY MANUSCRIPT
It happens every now and then, an agent can’t sell a manuscript. It doesn’t mean they are a bad agent and it doesn’t mean it’s a bad manuscript, it just means that it didn’t fall into any publishers needs at this moment in time. Yes, an agent should try to sell your novel, but just because they try, doesn’t mean it always happens. Signing you as a client guarantees they will work with you in selling your novel, but it doesn’t guarantee you will definitely sell it.
FAME, GLORY, AND RICHES
While it’s nice to dream you are the next J.K. Rowling and will sign a contract worth millions, not every author goes on to do just that. And, it’s not the job of an agent to make sure it happens for you. They are there to get you a publishing contract. They aren’t there to get you a seven figure publishing contract.
WRITE YOUR PUBLISHING CONTRACT
Just because your agent will go to bat for you regarding your publishing contract and try to negotiate better terms than the publisher has offered, doesn’t mean you will get all that your heart desires. An agent is there to help you, but if the publisher puts their foot down then it’s up to you on whether or not you can live with their terms. The agent works for you and their agency, not the publisher.