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How Do I Become a Publishing Agent?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 17, 2024
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A publishing agent serves as a go-between for writers and publishers, helping writers to move from writing books to actually having them published. To pursue this career, you will usually need a college degree, and selecting a writing or business major may prove particularly helpful. Then, you will typically have to gain related experience, such as through a publishing industry job or internship. You could also benefit from establishing a mentor-like relationship with a current agent. Additionally, you might consider moving to an area that is home to large publishing companies, though this is not mandatory.

Usually, a college education is required for a person who wants to become a publishing agent. You can pursue an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree, as both are acceptable for this career. In many cases, however, employers prefer hiring individuals who have earned bachelor's degrees, so earning one may improve your chances of qualifying for the job you want. There is no single major that makes you employable in this field, though there are some that help you develop the types of skills an employer may seek. For example, you may benefit from pursuing a degree in writing, journalism, literature, or business when you are interested in this publishing industry career.

While you may want to move forward with this career right after college, this is often difficult to accomplish. Many employers prefer to hire individuals with experience, and you may have to compete with candidates who have years of work history in the industry. As such, you may do well to gain an entry-level position with a publishing company, such as in an editor position or even as an assistant, and then commit to working your way up to becoming a publishing agent. The amount of time this will take usually depends on your unique qualifications, your performance on the job, and your employer's current need for agents. In additional to such positions, internships can also help you gain the required experience to become a publishing agent.

As you work to become a publishing agent, you might also enlist the help of an established agent in working toward your goals. You can learn a good deal about the publishing industry from an established agent and possibly even develop contacts you can use when the time comes to apply for agent positions. Additionally, an established agent might provide helpful tips and hints for getting started in this field.

You may also consider moving to a new area when you want to become a publishing agent. For example, you might find more jobs in regions of your country that have large concentrations of publishing companies or that are well known for businesses related to the publishing industry. Moving is not a requirement, however, as you may find positions with smaller agencies where you currently live, and you may even find some publishing career opportunities that allow you to telecommute.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGEEK writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.

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Nicole Madison

Nicole Madison

Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGEEK writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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