Literary agents or book agents are professional agents who acts on behalf of an author in dealing with publishers and others involved in promoting the author's work. They are agents who represents writers and their written works to publishers, theatrical producers, film producers, and film studios, and assists in the sale and negotiation of the same. Literary agents most often represent novelists, screenwriters, and non-fiction writers. Publishers rarely (if ever) take submissions directly from authors, which is why literary agents play a crucial part in helping you get in front of the right publishers.
Literary or Book agents are often your ticket to getting published internationally, especially when looking to get noticed by traditional publishing houses. In the advent of self-publishing and other modern ways to get your work noticed many will tell you that you don't technically require an agent in order to get your book published. However, getting proper representation through a literary agent is still a smart move, especially when you need help navigating the world of traditional publishing. Although book agents mainly function as sales agents for books, they take on many tasks to help make sure that your publication is a success. These agents are skilled not only in representing your interest throughout the entire sales process of your book, but also in facilitating contract negotiations with publishers, as well as in advocating for you at the most crucial stages of the publication process. Ultimately, your bottom line impacts their own bottom line quite significantly, which is why they are always out for your best interest.
Literary agents have a hand not only in the copyright sales process of your manuscript to publishers but also in the actual publication process. In addition to overseeing publication, some also insist on getting involved during the pre-sales process of your manuscript so they can have some editorial involvement before sending out your manuscript—something that can be beneficial, especially to new writers as book agents know exactly what publishers are looking for and their input can be invaluable when it comes to shaping your book into something that publishers will want to roll out. Literary agents are also great sources of long-term career insights and advice, especially when you are serious about establishing yourself as a successful published author.
Resources like PubMatch are also useful to book agents as they offer databases along with a wide range of tools that help literary agents become better prepared to represent authors and provide their clients and partners all the information they need in a quick and comprehensive manner.