The Association of Authors’ Agents (AAA) has adopted a new set of guidelines in response to how “many literary agencies are now offering a wider range of services to clients than they used to”.
The guidelines, which sit alongside the AAA’s Code of Practice, were voted on by the group’s membership by email, with a turnout in excess of 80%. Drafting of the 14 new guidelines was led by Lizzy Kremer, committee member of the AAA and agent at David Higham Associates.
The guidelines include that members should “clearly set out in writing their terms of business with regard to all services offered to an author”. Agents offering help to authors who want to self-publish should make clear in writing any costs, and who they “shall be borne by”. Members of the AAA should also “seek ways to add value” when helping authors self-publish, and should make no decisions without “first obtaining the author’s approval”.
Kremer said: “I’m extremely grateful to my colleagues on the committee who have worked very hard to draft and refine the guidelines, and to the wider AAA membership which has engaged closely with the process of developing them.”
The guidelines have been welcomed by Nicola Solomon, chief executive of the Society of Authors, which has previously spoken out about a minority of writers who had encountered problems with agent-assisted self-publishing.
Solomon said: "We are delighted that the AAA have developed and passed these good practice guidelines. The AAA have listened closely to our concerns and we are pleased to see the guidance offered to members to ensure that any services are developed and delivered with the best interests of authors as a paramount consideration."
Sam Edenborough, president of the AAA, said: “I am very pleased that our members have voted to endorse these guidelines. The agent’s role is developing in response to authors’ needs in a very dynamic marketplace and the AAA is committed to defining and encouraging good practice for our members across all the services they offer.”
The guidelines will be published on the AAA’s website shortly.