Friday, May 15, 2020

what does "on behalf of" mean?

In researching agents I came across one that not only looks like a good fit category/genre-wise, but also has a somewhat recent sale listed on PM that's very much in the wheelhouse of my MS, but different age category, etc.---ie. not too close a match.
However, reading the entry, it states that the deal was made by this agent/agency "on behalf of" another agent/agency.
What does that mean exactly?
Is it likely this book wasn't one the agent I'm researching was necessarily invested in and more of just a business transaction? The author of said book is listed as one of her clients. Was just curious to understand that scenario before making a possibly irrelevant reference in my query.

You'll see this phrase most often in sub-rights deals.
If my film agent sells the option on a book, it's on my behalf: I made the first deal, selling to the publisher.

If an agent sells rights to publish on Carkoon, it's often on behalf of the agent who sold domestic rights, again, the first sale.

Sometimes an agent sells a book on behalf of a colleague if the colleague is sick, on mat leave, or some other long term out of the office situation.

When I looked on Publishers Marketplace, I also noticed that non-US agents sometimes had US deals made on their behalf by US-based agents.

Clearly that's an agent who had a book she loved, and wanted to make sure it found a good home here so partnered with someone who knows the US market.

What this means for you: most likely the on-behalf-of agent reps the author and for some reason called in air support.  You wouldn't be making an irrelevant reference to mention the book.


RonC said...

Thanks for clearing that up for me!

John Davis Frain said...

One of my best blind dates was when my brother went on behalf of me. She loved him. Only time I ever got a second date, and I didn't get to attend either one. I miss her sometimes, her witty repartee I always imagined. The cleft that might have adorned her chin. At least it's never awkward if I run into her on the street.

Signing off, on behalf of John's brother.

Alina Sergachov said...

The agent of one of my favorite YA authors is based in London. I was wondering what's the difference between a British and an American agent? What should we know when we query agents overseas?

Janet Reid said...

Alina I'm sorry, I don't know the answer to that.

AJ Blythe said...

I've always pondered that myself when I've read deals. Great question OP - and good luck with your query.

Alina, there is a Reider who has a UK agent, Sam Hawke. Back in 2016 she commented she had a query letter for the UK, but compared to the US, the UK version was more like a cover letter to be read with the synopsis. To me this suggests there is a difference when querying the UK. I'm sure if you research the agents their websites will help clarify what you need to do.

Alina Sergachov said...

Thank you AJ Blythe. I was just wondering if it's preferable to query only American agents. Does anyone know what are the pros and cons of having an agent who is based in UK?