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dwriter68
03-22-2012, 01:57 AM
I've received a contract from a publisher and contacted one of the agents who is considering it to let her know that I will soon make a decision. She wants to know who is the publisher. Is it okay for an agent to ask me which is the publisher that has extended me a contract? Should I disclose it?

Siri Kirpal
03-22-2012, 02:45 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

If you want the agent to believe you, you'll certainly need to say who the publisher is. Especially if you want the agent to negotiate for you.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Anna L.
03-22-2012, 02:47 AM
If you don't tell her she's likely to think you're either lying about the offer or that it's an offer from a disreputable publisher...

Drachen Jager
03-22-2012, 03:13 AM
Of course you should tell her what publisher. How else does she know if it's PublishAmerica or Random House?

Makes a difference on her end.

dwriter68
03-22-2012, 03:25 AM
Thanks!!!!!

jclarkdawe
03-22-2012, 03:29 AM
Way I see it, you'll get one of four responses from an agent after you say who the publisher is:


Thanks, but no thanks. Why don't you go with the publisher.
I can help you get a better deal with this publisher.
You'd be nuts to go with this publisher, and this is why.
What the publisher is offering you is a good deal. If you want I can look at the contract for $XXX, but you don't need representation.

Any one of those answers is helpful.



Best of luck,


Jim Clark-Dawe

dwriter68
03-22-2012, 03:50 AM
Thanks. The good news is that agented or not I already have an offer.

Cyia
03-22-2012, 04:03 AM
Thanks. The good news is that agented or not I already have an offer.


This is only good news if you've checked the press out and they're legit. If you've done that, and they are, then YAY!

dwriter68
03-22-2012, 04:09 AM
Thanks. Yes, they are legit.

heyjude
03-22-2012, 02:40 PM
Congratulations, dwriter!

Stijn Hommes
03-22-2012, 04:00 PM
Thanks. The good news is that agented or not I already have an offer. Good news indeed, but you probably know little about contracts; what is standard and what isn't. Getting an agent to check it out and negotiate a better contract on your behalf can only makes things better.

Old Hack
03-22-2012, 04:57 PM
Just in case this deal doesn't go through, you're usually better off querying agents only and then, once you've run out of agents to query, approaching pubilshers direct.

If you query agents and publishers together and then find an agent, you're likely to have reduced the potential numbers of publishers your agent will be able to approach.

dwriter68
03-22-2012, 07:11 PM
Thanks for all the advice. Thankfully, I did have some knowledge
before starting the querying process and moved from a list of agents to publishers. The situation with this particular agent has been lingering for six months with extended period of times between communications. A fact that makes me wonder about working with someone like that.
Anyway, I truly appreciate the input. This forum is an invaluable tool.

Old Hack
03-22-2012, 08:00 PM
Agents earn nothing from reading submissions so they're not a priority for them. Once you're a client of theirs, they'll almost certainly respond swiftly to your communications. It'll be different then.

Al Ross
03-27-2012, 02:27 PM
An agent is not a lawyer so not really the right person to advice you concerning contracts. If you already got the publisher you could hire a literary lawyer to help you negotiate the contract. You will have to pay a fee but you won't have to pay 15% for the life of your book, nor have the possible Agent drama.

profen4
03-27-2012, 04:30 PM
An agent is not a lawyer so not really the right person to advice you concerning contracts. If you already got the publisher you could hire a literary lawyer to help you negotiate the contract. You will have to pay a fee but you won't have to pay 15% for the life of your book, nor have the possible Agent drama.

I'd say an agent is precisely the person you want advising you on contracts. Plus, there are several agents who are also lawyers. But, all experienced agents have extensive experience with contracts so they know what they're doing. Yes, if you're going it alone you can certainly hire an IP lawyer, but I'd say an agent is a better bet.
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I'm not sure what you mean by "Agent drama" though. Perhaps you could clarify?

BethS
03-27-2012, 04:42 PM
An agent is not a lawyer so not really the right person to advice you concerning contracts. If you already got the publisher you could hire a literary lawyer to help you negotiate the contract. You will have to pay a fee but you won't have to pay 15% for the life of your book, nor have the possible Agent drama.

On the contrary, negotiating contracts is what an agent is for, among other things. A good agent will keep you from getting taken to the cleaners by the publisher.

Old Hack
03-27-2012, 06:33 PM
Thirding the comments regarding agents vs. lawyers. A lawyer won't help you negotiate a contract; he'll only advise you on what it means. He is unlikely to be able to tell you what would be better for you, and your book. An agent will do all of these things and collect the money for you whenever it's due, and make sure you're paid promptly and in full.

If that's not worth 15% to you, then get an IP lawyer with specific experience in publishing contracts.

Al Ross
03-28-2012, 10:26 AM
A lawyer knows the law and knows when a contract is being unlawful; an agent if he's not also a lawyer won't know that.

I myself have experience reading and signing contracts, but that would not make me think I'll be able to hold the contract to the laws of the country like a lawyer could.

Why give an agent 15% for something that I possibly could do at least as good, with the difference I know for sure I'm 100% fully after my own interest.

Do you really think an agent with a few years experience (like most of them have) will have more experience with contracts than people having corporate experience?

By the way, a lawyer would negotiate a contract for you if you pay him to do that. A literary lawyer will know the ins and outs of publishing contracts and what is allowable by law, and they are efficient in law speak.

Agent Drama: Agents not returning calls. Agents wanting to receive the whole royalty amount instead of publisher splitting the pay. Agent not paying in time. Muddy administration. Agents not wanting to shop for a book. Agents demanding rewrites. Agents thinking about them firsts. Agents thinking you are their employee instead of the other way around. Agents thinking they know best how your story should be written (Are they the writer?) And more...

These kinds of things you don't risk having with a lawyer, the lawyer does his thing, you pay him, and bye, bye.

Terie
03-28-2012, 11:22 AM
A lawyer knows the law and knows when a contract is being unlawful; an agent if he's not also a lawyer won't know that.

I myself have experience reading and signing contracts, but that would not make me think I'll be able to hold the contract to the laws of the country like a lawyer could.

Why give an agent 15% for something that I possibly could do at least as good, with the difference I know for sure I'm 100% fully after my own interest.

Do you really think an agent with a few years experience (like most of them have) will have more experience with contracts than people having corporate experience?

By the way, a lawyer would negotiate a contract for you if you pay him to do that. A literary lawyer will know the ins and outs of publishing contracts and what is allowable by law, and they are efficient in law speak.

With the exception of lawyers sepcialising in publishing contracts (which are few and far between), lawyers don't know a good publishing contract from a bad one. There are countless tales of lawyers vetting and approving of abusive publishing contracts, such as PublishAmerica's, because they don't know the publishing industry.

I suspect that your knowledge of agents is substantially less than you think, and much of it built on inaccurate myths rather than actual facts.

blacbird
03-28-2012, 11:33 AM
I've received a contract from a publisher and contacted one of the agents who is considering it to let her know that I will soon make a decision. She wants to know who is the publisher. Is it okay for an agent to ask me which is the publisher that has extended me a contract? Should I disclose it?

Absolutely. And if you want other opinions, you should disclose it here, too.

Look, you are seeking the services of an agent for representation. Why on earth wouldn't you provide this information?

Unless you yourself have misgivings about the publisher, maybe?

Which is another good reason to disclose it here. Have you visited the Bewares forum? Or consulted Preditors and Editors? There are some verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry unsavory "publishers" out there who extend contracts to the unwitting.
caw

Al Ross
03-28-2012, 03:08 PM
With the exception of lawyers sepcialising in publishing contracts (which are few and far between), lawyers don't know a good publishing contract from a bad one. There are countless tales of lawyers vetting and approving of abusive publishing contracts, such as PublishAmerica's, because they don't know the publishing industry.

I suspect that your knowledge of agents is substantially less than you think, and much of it built on inaccurate myths rather than actual facts.

What fact do you allude to?
What have I said that isn't something that happens?

My mention of a lawyer is relating to publishing, so when I mention a lawyer I mean literary lawyer. If we were talking about divorces and I mentioned a lawyer I would assume others understood I meant a divorce lawyer.

Old Hack
03-28-2012, 04:50 PM
A lawyer knows the law and knows when a contract is being unlawful; an agent if he's not also a lawyer won't know that.

Good literary agents are well-versed in contract law. They have to be: it's a major part of their job.


Why give an agent 15% for something that I possibly could do at least as good, with the difference I know for sure I'm 100% fully after my own interest.

If you really could do the job that a literary agent does for her author-clients then you're right: there's no point in having one. But you don't seem to realise all a good agent will do for her clients: it goes far beyond the reach of checking a single contract. Agents ensure contracts are adhered to; they collect royalties on time, and check that the correct amounts are paid; and they find and negotiate new deals on all subsidiary rights, which are worth a lot of money. Could you find yourself a Polish publisher, a Czec one, a Spanish, German, French, Australian, Brazillian, UK, US, Portugese, Irish, Icelandic, and Latvian publisher, negotiate with them in their own languages, and oversee all those contracts whilst selling magazine serialisations, large print rights and audio rights? Because so far, that's what the agent of a good friend of mine has done for her.

Lawyers won't go out and find you deals. Agents will. And good agents are qualified to negotiate those deals and check the contracts for you, too.


By the way, a lawyer would negotiate a contract for you if you pay him to do that. A literary lawyer will know the ins and outs of publishing contracts and what is allowable by law, and they are efficient in law speak.

So will a good agent, while doing a whole lot more besides, and without charging you anything upfront for doing it all.


Agent Drama: Agents not returning calls. Agents wanting to receive the whole royalty amount instead of publisher splitting the pay. Agent not paying in time. Muddy administration. Agents not wanting to shop for a book. Agents demanding rewrites. Agents thinking about them firsts. Agents thinking you are their employee instead of the other way around. Agents thinking they know best how your story should be written (Are they the writer?) And more...

These kinds of things you don't risk having with a lawyer, the lawyer does his thing, you pay him, and bye, bye.


You sound not only ill-informed about how agents work, but bitter about them too. How many agents have you worked with? How long have you worked with them? Have you ever had an agent? Your idea of what goes on in the agenting process doesn't correspond with my direct experience of it, I'm afraid.

Susan Littlefield
03-28-2012, 06:47 PM
Congratulations!

suki
03-28-2012, 07:08 PM
With the exception of lawyers sepcialising in publishing contracts (which are few and far between), lawyers don't know a good publishing contract from a bad one. There are countless tales of lawyers vetting and approving of abusive publishing contracts, such as PublishAmerica's, because they don't know the publishing industry.

I suspect that your knowledge of agents is substantially less than you think, and much of it built on inaccurate myths rather than actual facts.

This.

Plus, the value of a good agent is that they have often already negotiated base contracts with publishing houses, so they start the negotiations for each client already with the advantage of the preferred, previously negotiated base contract. And then work from there.

Not all agents are equal, just as not all lawyers are.

A lawyer who has never, or infrequently, negotiated literary contracts won't have the expertise necessary to provide the best representation. Similarly, a bad or inexperienced agent likewise will not have that experience.

Blanket statements are bad, and often wrong.

To the OP - congratulations! If you have checked out the publisher, and it meets your expectations for your project, then you have nothing to lose by telling the agent. The agent will either be interested or not, and then you can decide whether the agent's experience and representation going forward is worth the 15% to you.

~suki

Al Ross
03-29-2012, 12:24 PM
You sound not only ill-informed about how agents work, but bitter about them too. How many agents have you worked with? How long have you worked with them? Have you ever had an agent? Your idea of what goes on in the agenting process doesn't correspond with my direct experience of it, I'm afraid.

I'm just stating things that happened between agents and writers. You can't deny these things happening because there arre enough writers alluding to that these kind of things happened to them for there not be some truth in it.

waylander
03-29-2012, 12:42 PM
Sure these things have happened occasionally. Still not a reason to not try to get an agent.

Old Hack
03-29-2012, 12:49 PM
You sound not only ill-informed about how agents work, but bitter about them too.


I'm just stating things that happened between agents and writers. You can't deny these things happening because there arre enough writers alluding to that these kind of things happened to them for there not be some truth in it.

No, you're not. Look back at what you've said here:


An agent is not a lawyer so not really the right person to advice you concerning contracts. If you already got the publisher you could hire a literary lawyer to help you negotiate the contract. You will have to pay a fee but you won't have to pay 15% for the life of your book, nor have the possible Agent drama.


A lawyer knows the law and knows when a contract is being unlawful; an agent if he's not also a lawyer won't know that.


Why give an agent 15% for something that I possibly could do at least as good, with the difference I know for sure I'm 100% fully after my own interest.

How are these statements of yours "stating things that happened between agents and writers"? They're not. They're you giving bad advice.

This part of one of your comments is your interpretation of how you've heard some agents respond to their author-clients sometimes:


Agent Drama: Agents not returning calls. Agents wanting to receive the whole royalty amount instead of publisher splitting the pay. Agent not paying in time. Muddy administration. Agents not wanting to shop for a book. Agents demanding rewrites. Agents thinking about them firsts. Agents thinking you are their employee instead of the other way around. Agents thinking they know best how your story should be written (Are they the writer?) And more...


But that's not how most literary agents treat most of their author clients. It's how a few people have reported being treated. It is not consistent with how my many author-friends are treated by their agents, or how my (slightly fewer) agent-friends treat their author-clients. Which is why I asked you this:


How many agents have you worked with? How long have you worked with them? Have you ever had an agent? Your idea of what goes on in the agenting process doesn't correspond with my direct experience of it, I'm afraid.

By all means state your opinions here, and ask questions. But don't assume that because you've read something on the internet somewhere that it's true, or that it's true in the majority of cases; and please don't give advice based on a couple of comments you've read when you've not seen the bigger picture. It's misleading, and ultimately not helpful.

Terie
03-29-2012, 01:19 PM
I'm just stating things that happened between agents and writers. You can't deny these things happening because there arre enough writers alluding to that these kind of things happened to them for there not be some truth in it.

People have been poisoned by tainted Tylenol. That doesn't mean all Tylenol is poisoned.

Terrorists have flown airplanes into buildings. That doesn't mean that all airplaines get flown into buildings.

There are husbands who beat their wives. That doesn't mean that all husbands beat their wives.

Your implication that the occasional agent drama is anything like the norm (and yes, that's exactly what you implied) is no different.

dwriter68
03-29-2012, 10:51 PM
Thank you all for the many perspectives on this subject and to some of you for the good wishes. Indeed the publisher is reputable, and after all of your advise I gave the agent the name of the publisher.
Still waiting on the agent... but will not do so for much longer.
Thanks again!!!!!

Al Ross
04-02-2012, 10:15 AM
People have been poisoned by tainted Tylenol. That doesn't mean all Tylenol is poisoned.

Terrorists have flown airplanes into buildings. That doesn't mean that all airplaines get flown into buildings.

There are husbands who beat their wives. That doesn't mean that all husbands beat their wives.

Your implication that the occasional agent drama is anything like the norm (and yes, that's exactly what you implied) is no different.

It happens and it's not occasional. It's more like drunk driving, we know it happens, and it doesn't only happen occasionally, but people are caught on occasion.

It's a problem and it doesn't serve writers not wanting to admit it is. There is a sound reason to be wary of agents and to vet them so not to stumble on those that are the drunk drivers who are not caught yet.

Toothpaste
04-02-2012, 06:32 PM
Of course you want to vet agents, because you want a good agent not just any ol' agent. Just like you'd want to vet any lawyer because you'd want a good lawyer not just any ol' lawyer. But that doesn't mean that one ought to have a lawyer instead of a good agent. If your argument is saying one ought to have a lawyer instead of a bad agent, well that might be a bit more understandable.

But all things being equal, and all people being equally good at their jobs . . . an agent is far more preferable to a lawyer.


ETA: Btw, AW is more than aware that there are lousy and even scam agents out there. That's why we have an entire subforum devoted to Bewares, Recommendations and Background Checks. (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=22)

ios
04-05-2012, 06:52 AM
An agent is not a lawyer

To the tell the truth, I've heard this stated elsewhere, though in less absolute terms: that is, that most agents aren't lawyers. Does anyone know what percentage of agents are lawyers?

Jodi

Old Hack
04-05-2012, 10:00 AM
I don't, but it's not a meaningful statistic. Lawyers aren't necessarily IP lawyers; and IP lawyers aren't necessarily up to speed with all the things that agents need to be able to do to do their job effectively.

Writers are far better off when represented by an experienced, successful agent than when in posession of an IP lawyer's phone number.

ios
04-05-2012, 04:26 PM
I don't, but it's not a meaningful statistic. Lawyers aren't necessarily IP lawyers; and IP lawyers aren't necessarily up to speed with all the things that agents need to be able to do to do their job effectively.

Writers are far better off when represented by an experienced, successful agent than when in posession of an IP lawyer's phone number.

Perhaps a more meaningful statistic is what percentage uses a lawyer? Or are most not using lawyers, but use hands-on experience concerning contract language? I'm not trying to pick at agents but understand the advantages and disadvantages of both the IP lawyer and agent, specifically concerning the issues of contracts. If the agent does the exact same job as the IP lawyer here, with the same professional expertise, then they feel equal on this specific point.

I think the main call for using IP lawyers over agents come from the belief that 1) IP lawyers know contract language in a way agents who aren't lawyers won't and 2) they are hired and work directly for author, not for the author and the other party of interest (the publishing house), and in being hired, they take a one-time fee.

I want to know how much is true concerning both points, because only recently (last few years) had I heard information about IP lawyers vs agents.

In fact, the main reason I heard about IP lawyers is because I read online something that I never heard before. This was in the last couple years, but I can't find it again, so I can't post a link (but I'll keep looking anyway). But it concerned the fact that the agent has strong interest in maintaining good relations with a publishing house and what that means for an author. It concerned the issue if the above is true, that there are fewer publishing houses out there than authors, so sometimes it might be in the agent's best interest to give up the fight on contract items occasionally to keep the publisher happy. Until I read that, I never thought of that, and I'd like to have some sound information to counter it or confirm it.

Thanks,
Jodi

Old Hack
04-05-2012, 05:01 PM
Perhaps a more meaningful statistic is what percentage uses a lawyer? Or are most not using lawyers, but use hands-on experience concerning contract language?

I think the most meaningful statistic is "which agents have sold good books to good publishers?" Whether agents use lawyers or not really has no bearing on this: a clueless agent using a clueless lawyer is no help at all; a good agent who knows her stuff is much to be desired.


I'm not trying to pick at agents but understand the advantages and disadvantages of both the IP lawyer and agent, specifically concerning the issues of contracts. If the agent does the exact same job as the IP lawyer here, with the same professional expertise, then they feel equal on this specific point. But agents and lawyers don't do "the exact same job". Agents find contracts, negotiate contracts, check contracts and ensure that those contracts are adhered to. Lawyers only check the contracts which are presented to them and are very unlikely to know if the details of the contracts are in the authors' best interests. If you don't believe me search through the PublishAmerica subforum here and find out how many writers signed up to PA having got lawyers to check through their contracts.


I think the main call for using IP lawyers over agents come from the belief that 1) IP lawyers know contract language in a way agents who aren't lawyers won't and 2) they are hired and work directly for author, not for the author and the other party of interest (the publishing house), and in being hired, they take a one-time fee. Agents work directly for their author-clients. They do not work for publishing houses. And authors who are represented by agents usually make significantly more than agents authors who are not.


In fact, the main reason I heard about IP lawyers is because I read online something that I never heard before. This was in the last couple years, but I can't find it again, so I can't post a link (but I'll keep looking anyway). But it concerned the fact that the agent has strong interest in maintaining good relations with a publishing house and what that means for an author. It concerned the issue if the above is true, that there are fewer publishing houses out there than authors, so sometimes it might be in the agent's best interest to give up the fight on contract items occasionally to keep the publisher happy. Until I read that, I never thought of that, and I'd like to have some sound information to counter it or confirm it.Good agents maintain good relationships with good publishing houses. Negotiating a contract effectively isn't going to spoil those good relationships. And if a publishing house is less than ethical in its dealings with the authors it publishes then it's in both the authors' and their representing agents' interests to look elsewhere.

I know a few agents socially and can't imagine any of them compromising any of their author-clients' careers in order to protect their other clients. They each care passionately about their clients and want to see them all do well. Perhaps I just know really good agents.

Terie
04-05-2012, 06:10 PM
One of the most lucrative areas of publishing for most authors is foreign rights, and no IP lawyer is going to be able to make a deal with a foreign publisher. Making publishing deals isn't what IP lawyers do; all they do is review contracts.

Communication problem between the author and the editor? No IP lawyer is going to help with that.

Hate your proposed cover? No IP lawyer is going to help with that.

Not sure if your new manuscript is on track? No IP lawyer is going to help with that.

Want to aim for a better publisher with your next book? No IP lawyer is going to help with that.

Want to submit your manuscript to a publisher that doesn't accept unagented submissions? No IP lawyer is going to help with that.

The bottom line is this: If agents and IP lawyers did exactly the same thing, one of those jobs wouldn't exist. The fact that both jobs exist proves that they're different in some very important ways.

If you can make your own contacts in the publishing world, if you can negotiate deals with publishers in other countries whose languages you don't speak, if you don't ever have problems working with your publisher, if you don't care whether you're getting the very best publishing deals possible, if you don't want to submit to some of the best publishers out there who don't accept unsolicited manuscripts, you'll probably be fine with hiring an IP lawyer to review your contracts, assuming you go to one who doesn't specialise just in IP, but in the even narrower niche of publishing IP.

Otherwise, getting an agent is probably in your own best interests.

RKLipman
04-05-2012, 06:26 PM
One of the most lucrative areas of publishing for most authors is foreign rights, and no IP lawyer is going to be able to make a deal with a foreign publisher. Making publishing deals isn't what IP lawyers do; all they do is review contracts.

Communication problem between the author and the editor? No IP lawyer is going to help with that.

Hate your proposed cover? No IP lawyer is going to help with that.

Not sure if your new manuscript is on track? No IP lawyer is going to help with that.

Want to aim for a better publisher with your next book? No IP lawyer is going to help with that.

Want to submit your manuscript to a publisher that doesn't accept unagented submissions? No IP lawyer is going to help with that.

The bottom line is this: If agents and IP lawyers did exactly the same thing, one of those jobs wouldn't exist. The fact that both jobs exist proves that they're different in some very important ways.

If you can make your own contacts in the publishing world, if you can negotiate deals with publishers in other countries whose languages you don't speak, if you don't ever have problems working with your publisher, if you don't care whether you're getting the very best publishing deals possible, if you don't want to submit to some of the best publishers out there who don't accept unsolicited manuscripts, you'll probably be fine with hiring an IP lawyer to review your contracts, assuming you go to one who doesn't specialise just in IP, but in the even narrower niche of publishing IP.

Otherwise, getting an agent is probably in your own best interests.

I want to make out with this whole post right now.

kaitie
04-05-2012, 06:30 PM
Old Hack said this, but not quite as directly so I wanted to reiterate for emphasis: An agent gets paid only when the author gets paid and depending on how much the author gets paid, so if anything it's in their best interest to make sure the author is getting the best deal out there. So in effect, you're more likely to make money with an experienced agent who knows how to negotiate a contract in the author's interest than doing it by yourself or using a lawyer (who, as Ios pointed out, gets only a one time fee and doesn't really care whether or not said contract could be negotiated in a better deal for the author).

I've also read blog posts about agents negotiating boilerplate contracts to get rid of terms they feel are bad for the author that they would always eliminate from the contract. Kristin Nelson has a few posts on this sort of thing. I have to work right now so I don't have time to dig them out, but they're there.

Cathy C
04-05-2012, 07:29 PM
I think the main call for using IP lawyers over agents come from the belief that 1) IP lawyers know contract language in a way agents who aren't lawyers won't and 2) they are hired and work directly for author, not for the author and the other party of interest (the publishing house), and in being hired, they take a one-time fee.

I want to know how much is true concerning both points, because only recently (last few years) had I heard information about IP lawyers vs agents.


1) There is an element of truth to this, which is always the path to madness when reading things on the internet. IP attorneys DO know more about contracts than agents. It's just a fact. But most agencies have attorneys ON STAFF, meaning you get the benefit of the attorney's advice for the same cost. Smaller agencies who don't have staff attorneys generally have them on call, where they can ask questions that come up during the negotiation process.

2) (part 1) Both an IP attorney and an agent work for the author. Neither work for the publisher. To say that an IP attorney is somehow more answerable to an author than an agent is again somewhat misleading. In a perfect world, an agent will always be on the side of the author, but they are also employed by a company with a vested interest in protecting the agency. Quite often, that includes protecting the author. But sometimes, it doesn't. So, in a way, it's correct that an IP attorney will stay with the author longer if the author is in the wrong. They will advise the author and defend the author who screws up or misinterprets advice the attorney has given. In most cases, an agent will too. But they would likely cut bait if the author endangers the agent, faster than an attorney would.

So, again, an element of truth to muddy the waters.

2) (part 2) As to a "one-time fee". Um, not really. You will seldom get an attorney to accept a flat fee for a contract review or negotiation. It's normally at an hourly rate and I can assure you that my attorney (when required) is FAR more expensive than my agent. Let's use a contract where the author gets an advance of $25,000.00 and never earns another dime on the contract. The agent earns $3,750.00. Total. The IP attorney, on the other hand, charges from $250.00 to $500.00 per hour (mine charges $300.00) for the specialized IP advice they give. The minimum charge for my attorney picking up the file for any reason is a quarter hour (.25). I know enough about contracts to ask him questions about specific clauses. But if I handed him the contract and said, "Tell me whether it's legal," I could wind up with a bill for $5,000.00 or more. And that will happen for each subsidiary right contract, whether or not the deal falls through. The agent charges ONCE and if the sub right fails, there's no charge. They get paid AFTER the deal closes.

So, no. IP attorneys aren't less expensive. They are
more skilled in contract language but as others have said, IP attorneys have no vested interest in furthering the career of an author.

An attorney will tell you whether it's legal for a publisher to require your next work of fiction to be submitted to them. They won't suggest you limit the fiction to your current genre. They will tell you whether it's legal for the publisher to give you copies of the book when published. They won't suggest how many copies other authors have needed for promo. Etc., etc. There are a million reasons why agents are better than attorneys, and equally as many why attorneys are better. Ultimately, they're better at different things. It's why I have BOTH. :)