View Full Version : Lawyer vs. Agent

02-27-2006, 01:42 AM
Is it better to have an entertainment attorney or an Agent pitch a book to a publisher? I'm not anywhere near this point (book's not done), but I have a few lawyer friends who've offered to help when I'm ready. Just wondering if it matters?

02-27-2006, 03:07 AM
Some entertainment attorneys also function as agents. But the skill sets aren't equivalent. Your lawyer friends may know all about the legal side of the entertainment industry, but that doesn't mean they have contacts with publishers or know which editors are looking for what kind of work. If the lawyer actually has a track record of book sales, by all means consider him/her (though wouldn't you rather have an agent who could give all her time to agenting?); if not, look for someone who does.

- Victoria

Cathy C
02-27-2006, 03:41 AM
I'd also mention that even though your lawyer friends have offered to help, entertainment law is a very specialized field. Regular contract law is VERY different than publishing contract law. (I know, I worked in contract law for years before starting to write full time). You might ask them if they can answer these questions I wrote up. They might decide to bow out, or refer you to another attorney (this is from another thread, BTW. I just cut and pasted it here for convenience. It's written from the perspective of the author knowing these things, but applies equally to attorneys):

1. Do you know what "Delivery and acceptance" of the manuscript means and what time period should appeare in the contract as best for your book?

2. Do you know which subsidiary rights are most advantageous to keep and which to leave with the publisher?

3. Do you think mandated publication is a good idea?

4. Do you know the length of time that is common for the publisher you're querying to hold "reserves on returns?" Do you know how to change it?

5. Can you negotiate your own option clause so it benefits you more than the publisher?

If you aren't comfortable with all of these aspects of a publishing contract (or don't know what the heck I'm talking about!) then you need an agent. ;)


Agents are good things, and so are entertainment attorneys. They do different things. I have one of each! :)