Liberty University Press FAQs:
8. How much do agents charge?
This varies from agent to agent. Typically, agents receive a 15 percent commission on the books they sell and everything relating to that book, such as excerpted magazine articles, audio tapes and films (but not speeches and personal appearances). A small number of agents charge a reading fee just for looking at your work. Many literary agencies charge for long-distance phone calls, photocopying, messenger services and other incidental expenses made on the author's behalf. Ask about these fees before you work with an agent. Sometimes agents bill authors directly for these expenses, and sometimes these charges are deducted from the author’s royalties. Other agents don't always charge a commission. Instead, they review and market your proposal on an hourly fee basis, charging you regardless of whether they sell your proposal or not. Most literary agencies also receive a 20 percent commission on foreign sales because they have to give a portion of the commission to the overseas agent. Some agents are also “book packagers,” agents who develop book ideas and put the idea (in the form of a proposal) together with a writer and publisher. For this, these agents can receive up to a 50 percent commission.