Authors often ask me about the necessity of having a literary agent, and I always pop up to say, “YES.” Agents are lovely creatures who certainly make my life worth living. But they also make authors’ lives worth living as well. That said, there are some clauses that cause nothing but trouble and heartache, and publishing watchdog extraordinaire, Victoria Strauss, dusted off one of her older blog posts to discuss one of them.
Vic calls it the “interminable agency clause,” which means that your book belongs with that agency f-o-r-e-v-e-r. I call it the “watch your purse, you’re getting ripped off” clause. It’s one thing to have a book sell to a publisher and that agent has rights to collect commissions for the life of the copyright, but it’s quite another to have your out-of-print book be subjected to that agent’s sticky fingers as well. And this is something that Victoria brings up in her post.
Lots of authors have out of print books, and I can see where authors wouldn’t give their prior agents a second thought if they decide to take a reverted book elsewhere. After all, they did nothing to make that sale, so why should they collect a commission? This could be a rude awakening for authors – so please go read her post. Protect yourself!