Since literary agents promote, market, and publish books, they should be adept in the publishing world and knowledgeable about all steps involved. They should be able to work well with authors, as well as possess strong communication skills. Agents should have at least a bachelor's degree, if not a master's degree.
Other skills should center around promotions and marketing, editing, writing, and representation. They should be skilled at all genres and types of books, such as horror, science fiction, romance, mystery, and adventure. Clients and authors will be notified up front if reading and other fees are involved.
Literary agents typically offer clients extensive inside experience of the editorial and publishing industries. An agency may work with clients to create winning proposals, negotiate contracts, and strategic marketing and publicity. They work with their clients long-term, to help them achieve success when they write a book, screenplay, or other publication and have it published by an outside publishing agency. Publishing houses that have literary agents on-site take a slightly different approach. They don't necessarily work with the authors on a one-on-one basis. They read manuscripts, edit them, and possibly recommend them for further consideration. As such, there are many different avenues within the literary field.
Many literary agents are online, providing informative websites for authors. They may outline services as well, including representation, promotion, and proofreading. Depending on the specialty, such as fantasy, screenplays, children's books, novels, or comedy, a literary agency can help an author become recognized in the field. These professionals may help authors navigate book sales, contracts, and other complex aspects of the publishing industry.