Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Working With a Literary Agent by Author Stephen Prosapio


As part of Stephen Prosapio's virtual tour to promote his new book, Ghosts of Rosewood Asylum, he's here today to talk about working with literary agents, a topic most writers consider at some point in their careers.

Please welcome Stephen, and read on, because there are goodies to be had!

Working with a Literary Agent

There are so many misconceptions within the writing community and amongst the general public, I thought I’d give a realistic snapshot of what it’s actually like working with a literary agent. Having worked with my agent for four years and four different projects now, I have a current and thorough perspective.

First, just like soul mates, there is only ONE agent that’s right for each author. Typically there’s a very narrow window to get through as well. Any writer sending the wrong project idea to their soul-mate agent, is doomed to eternal failure. Worse, is the author who sends the CORRECT project idea to their perfect agent and is rejected because of a typo in her manuscript. Alas, she was so close to securing the perfect agent who would land them with the perfect publisher and launch them into a perfect career.

Once securing an agent (the process takes typically a week or so after the writer finds their perfect one), a writer need only sit back, relax and cash advances and royalty checks. Agents sign them to multi-book, movie deals and the foreign rights? Can you say, “Life of luxury?”

The second novel is even easier. Most times, authors merely leave voicemail messages for their agent about their ideas for a second novel. Sometimes those ideas come from fans (or the author’s parents). Once that novel is written by a combination of the writer and publisher, said author is already basking in the glory of success. Rarely if ever, is a third novel needed. That’s why most authors write under pseudonyms. That way we get multiple revenue streams going!!!

As much as I’d love to say it’s not, I’m sure you’ve figured out that the above paragraphs are fiction. More than fiction, they’re sarcastic hyperbole. Working with a literary agent is much like working in collaboration with anyone. Agents are typically highly intelligent and extremely hard working people who love books. My agent showed up early to one of my Friday night book signings this summer. I know that during the course of a weekend she’ll typically have at least two full manuscripts to read along with potentially dozens of “partial” manuscripts.

Think about that. After a week of dealing with the business issues of publishing, her weekend consists of reading the equivalent of three or four books—AND—making either decisions on whether or not to represent these works or if that decision has already been made in the positive sense, she needs to keep her mind aware of how to make suggestions for the writer to improve the work. So what does my agent do while at the bookstore that Friday? She talks to the clerk about various books people are reading and enjoying, and then buys three or four books to read “for fun.”

Literary agents LOVE reading. As a writer, you need to match that intensity with your love of writing. Creating story. Then it’s just a matter of presenting that story to the right agent—the one who sees your potential greatness.

I hope this helps encourage people out there to pursue their dreams!

To learn more about Stephen and his work, please visit:

You can also purchase "Ghosts of Rosewood Asylum" at Amazon:

****GIVEAWAY TIME!!!****

Stephen, you got me all excited with the "life of luxury"! Thanks for sharing your experience with an agent who is both accessible AND human. It's encouraging, for sure.

Hey, lucky people! Stephen is offering one signed, print copy of his book, along with a signed bookmark and postcard (US only), and one e-book if you are international!

To enter, comment on this post with your location (US or International) and your e-mail address [Ex: mystiparker (at) yahoo (dot) com]. 

I'll pick the winner(s) at the end of Stephen's tour (Feb. 15) and will notify you then. 

Good luck!



  1. What a great post. This is a new author for me. I love to read and always looking for new books and authors to check out. Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win.

  2. Thanks Cambria and Christine!!!

    Odd coincidence that I didn't realize when I picked this topic is that I'm having dinner and drinks with my agent and another fellow writer tonight!

  3. Funny essay! And yes, I sure got the hyerbole! LOL

    Thanks for posting this! :D

  4. Great post, Stephen! And congrats on your success.

    pyrosama @

  5. Quite interesting info about an agent's life. Puts them in a positive and human light. Thanks for the showing that side of the agent's life behind the curtain.

  6. Hi, Mysti & Stephen! Loved the post. :)
    Ghosts of Rosewood Asylum looks amazing.

  7. What an interesting interview! And the book looks really good.

  8. Thanks for the great advice!! Look forward to winning your book, Stephen! ;)

  9. Thanks for sharing your experience with agents. It's refreshing hearing from someone who actually has an agent rather than opinions of people who can't get one or who have had bad experiences with some.

  10. Thanks for the great advice and chance to win! ~ USA

    k.donley (at)hotmail (dot) com

  11. Congratulations Christine! You won this book! I'll forward your info to Stephen and he will contact you for prize delivery. Thanks so much for participating!



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