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Professional Development – The Business of Working with Literary Agents

11 October @ 10:00 - 11:30 BST

Virtual Event Virtual Event

You’re a fierce champion of your work, a skilled mediator and negotiator or a creative partner-in-crime, your relationship with your agent is incredibly important. Widely varying and wonderfully unique,  they should however always be a professional business arrangement.

Join SoA Publishing Contracts Advisor, Johanna Clarke, as she talks through the key things to be aware of when navigating an author/agent relationship from an advisory perspective. She will advise on initial considerations when starting out, what you should and shouldn’t be expecting from your agent, the importance and implications of your agency agreement and some considerations for when leaving or moving agencies.



  • Welcome, introductions and housekeeping from Theo Jones (5 mins)
  • Presentation by Johanna Clarke (45 mins)
  • Comfort break (5 mins)
  • Q&A with audience | moderated by Theo Jones (20 mins)
  • Summary and closing comments (5 mins)


Who is this workshop for?

Anyone who would like to learn more about the role of a literary agent at any stage of the process of being agented: whether you are thinking of submitting your work to agents, are embarking on your first representation, are considering leaving or changing agents or are just interested in learning more about this element of your career. Note that this session will have a particular focus on agency agreements and an author’s rights within their representation.


What will this workshop cover?

  • The basics of literary agents and how they work
  • Some key considerations when assessing whether you need an agent and submitting
  • What you can and can’t expect from your agent
  • Agency Agreements: what’s in them and what do they mean in practice
  • How to navigate leaving or moving agents


Send us your questions in advance

If you would like to send questions in advance, email jclarke@societyofauthors.org with ‘Agents’ in the subject header. We will prioritise questions sent in advance and answer as many as we can from the audience on the day.



SoA @ Home Fundraising Bookshop

Browse our virtual Bookshop.org store featuring books by authors and speakers taking part in the SoA @ Home Festival. When you make a purchase using our affiliate links a percentage will go to the Authors’ Contingency Fund, providing hardship grants to authors in financial difficulty.


The line -up


Johanna Clarke – Publishing Contracts Advisor, SoA

Johanna is a Publishing Contracts Advisor at the Society of Authors where she advises members on contracts and industry issues, including agency matters and agreements. She previously worked as a Contracts Executive at a literary agency and before that at a theatrical agency representing playwrights and creatives. Johanna is the coordinator for the SoA’s Poetry and Spoken Word Group and works closely on the SoA’s outreach programme.



Need to know

Before the event
  • Once registered, you will be sent a confirmation email with the Zoom link
  • If the confirmation email doesn’t arrive in your inbox, please check your junk/spam email folder
  • Please add events@societyofauthors.org to your Safe Senders list so you receive our confirmation, and reminder emails
During the event
  • This online event will take place on Zoom Webinar; you will not be visible on screen but will be able ask questions via the Q&A function or interact via the chat box
  • This event will be recorded but you won’t be on screen
  • Attendees have the option to turn on the live transcript option
  • This event is 90 minutes
After the event
  • Hashtag for this event: #SoAatHome
  • You’ll be able to catch the recording on our Vimeo channel



Book your place by using the registration below.

All #SoAatHome events are free but if you can afford to, please consider donating to our Authors’ Contingency Fund and we suggest a minimum donation of £5. The fund is to help professional authors experiencing financial hardship. DONATE HERE


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Financial support for authors in need through the health crisis and beyond

Since March 2020, the Authors’ Contingency Fund has distributed over £1 million in small grants to authors facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

With at least 57% of authors facing financial losses during the pandemic, we have helped people struggling financially due to contractual, employment and event cancellations, others who have lost income due to illness, and others prevented from working because of caring responsibilities.

As the health crisis continues, applications for grants continue to come in, and our emergency funds are running low.

So, if you are in a position to help, please donate via the link below. If you are an author facing financial hardship, please click here to see if we can help.


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20% off your first year with discount code SOAFESTIVAL20

The Society of Authors is the UK’s biggest trade union for authors – representing more than 11,300 writers, illustrators, translators and other creative practitioners.

Our standard subscription rate is just £26.25 per quarter (£18.50 for students).

As an SoA member, you’ll get:

  • Access to all our SoA @ Home Festival events for free
  • Unlimited one-to-one professional advice
  • Membership of our online and real-world professional networks
  • A range of member-only discounts, including books, insurance and travel
  • And much more.



We'll send you the Zoom joining details via email.

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11 October
10:00 - 11:30 BST
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Johanna Clarke