Dude! How’s it goin’ man? This is Ringo. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been like a little confused lately when Flash has been talking about agents and editors and publishers and all that stuff. I mean, what’s the difference?
So I asked Flash the last time he stopped by the dumpster for some meatloaf and he explained it to me. Now I totally get it, so I thought you might want to get it, too.
Just so you know, these words can be used differently depending on the situation, but this is what they mean when Flash says them.
A publisher is a company that publishes books. It can be a small company that only publishes a few books a year on a certain subject, or a huge company that publishes lots and lots of books every year. They are the ones who actually print the book and ship it to bookstores.
Editors are people who work for publishers. They read like a zillion manuscripts, looking for books their company might want to publish. If that publisher decides to buy a book, the editor will also help the author make the book as good as it can be before it is printed. Flash said this is called editing (Editing, Editor, get it?) and it’s kind of like when your teacher grades your papers at school.
Right now our book is waiting for the editor of one of those really big publishers to decide if they want to buy it. Do you have your whiskers crossed?
An agent is a little different. Their job is to help authors get their books published. But there’s a catch. They are paid a percentage of whatever the author gets paid. So if they can’t sell the book, they don’t get anything! This makes them very picky about what authors they choose to represent.
Agents do a LOT of things. Sometimes they also do editing before they send a book to a publisher. Is that too confusing, or what? They have to know all the editors and publishers out there and what kind of stories they like. Otherwise they wouldn’t know who to send what. Then once a publisher decides to buy a book, the agent will negotiate the contract for the author to make sure they get as good a deal as possible. Agents can also sell your book in other countries, or as an audiobook, or sometimes even a movie.
The more ways they can sell your book, the more money both the agent and the author make! Cool, huh?
So you can see how a good agent is like totally an author’s best friend. Our agent’s name is Joan and she’s super nice and super smart. Without her help, our book wouldn’t be sitting on that editor’s desk right now.
Does all that make sense? Far out, now you’re an expert, just like me!