View Full Version : Agent's %

gau dog
03-28-2010, 09:33 PM
I know 15% is the standard, but does any writer ever have leverage to negotiate down an agent's royalty percentage?

Lisa Cox
03-28-2010, 10:24 PM
Not sure I'd want to. I think any decent agent is worth 15% for the work they do for you. But then, I don't have any experience to speak of. :)

03-28-2010, 10:27 PM
I know 15% is the standard, but does any writer ever have leverage to negotiate down an agent's royalty percentage?

Can't imagine what leverage an unpublished author would have to get an agent to negotiate down from his or her standard percentage. If you think you have some, I guess you can try.

But, I think as soon as you try, that prospective agent will become less interested in you - sort of like questioning their value up front. I'd take that as a warning sign and I'd be less interested in working with you.


Wayne K
03-28-2010, 10:30 PM
It's a standard percentage. If you start bending it one way, it'll get bent the other, so I hope not.

03-28-2010, 10:55 PM
I could easily see a big name writer (think Grisham, Rowling, etc.) getting poached by an agent willing to accept 10% for a piece of the action. Other than that, doubtful.

03-28-2010, 11:19 PM
If you have a big enough name, yes, you can negotiate the percentage downward.

Is an agent worth fifteen percent? Sometimes an agent is worth more, sometimes less.

Should an agent receive ten million dollars for handling one contract? How much would a literary attorney with a law degree charge for handling the same contract?

As a new writer, you really have no power other than whether to use an agent or an attorney.

But when you start earning big money, it's smart to starting asking yourself these questions.

Calla Lily
03-28-2010, 11:34 PM
My agent negotiated my first book deal, in the process getting several small things changed in my favor. Let's assume (why not dream big?) that I'm a runaway success and my agent soon is negotiating my next contract, which will be a whole 'nother footing from the debut one.

Why would I even think about trying to negotiate his percentage down? He got me my start. It would appear to me to be underhanded to try and cheap out on the person who's continuing to work with and for me.

My opinionated opinion.

Stacia Kane
03-29-2010, 01:23 AM
Dittoing everyone else. Agents in general more than earn their 15%, and a new writer seeking an agent who tries to negotiate down the percentage will likely find him-or-herself without an offer of representation.

The price is the price. It's either worth it or it isn't. I think it's worth it. If you don't, try submitting on your own. It's really that simple.

03-29-2010, 12:33 PM
This question gave me a bad feeling. Trust me, any good agent will more than make up for the 15%. Don't try to negotiate them down. You just look like a fool, and a bit of a cheapskate.

03-29-2010, 01:26 PM
As everyone else said, 15% of your life.

03-30-2010, 03:52 AM
Unless you are a big, big name-and even then I believe that the right agent is worth 15%-you have no shot. Hey, in the overwhelming majority of cases you don't hear of them trying to get more than 15% from us.

03-30-2010, 08:35 AM
I know 15% is the standard, but does any writer ever have leverage to negotiate down an agent's royalty percentage?

Why would you want to?

03-31-2010, 02:10 AM
My agent's worth every penny of that 15%. And he's also worth every penny of the 20% for the foreign contracts, because I sure as heck wouldn't be making those foreign sales by myself. Considering how much they do, 15% is cheap.

03-31-2010, 02:49 AM
Heck, would agents get fewer queries if they all asked 25%? 40%?

Not that I'm trying to give anyone any ideas...