Justine Barker has had a passion for books since early childhood. Her first job was at her local library. She went on to study law and became a solicitor. Justine has had an exciting career working in local government since 2011 where she has been a commercial lawyer and contracts advisor in the procurement department (e.g. drafting, negotiating and advising on large commercial contracts). She’s a keen traveller and has lived in Sheffield, England. Italy is her favourite country – so far. Justine is also a writer.
She’s a member of Write Links and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). In her free time, Justine loves to read, laugh at her ridiculously terrible cooking and spend time with her husband and two young children.
The role of an agent
The role of a literary agent is threefold. First, to find talented authors to represent. Second, once the author has signed with the agent, the agent will shop the manuscript around with suitable trade publishers. Third, the agent will negotiate the publishing contract, collect royalties on the author’s behalf, and pay the royalties on to the author (minus the agent’s commission).
Why have an agent?
Breaking into the publishing industry can be daunting. An agent will guide you through the process and know which publishers suit your manuscript. A good agent will consider your career as an author, not just one book. Probably the best thing about using a literary agent is having another person on your side, to tell publishers how great you are and encourage you. The other good thing about an agent is you don't have to pay anything unless your book is actually published. And even then, the agent will only be deducting commission from the money you have earned.