Tips from a literary agent – contracts, legal issues, and publishing ethics


Marilyn Biderman Literary Management is a boutique agency representing authors of both fiction and non-fiction. Owner and agent Marilyn Biderman established the agency in the fall of 2010 after twenty years of experience in book publishing, most recently as Vice President, Rights and Contracts, at McClelland & Stewart Ltd, where she sold internationally the works of many acclaimed and bestselling authors, including Leonard Cohen, Alistair MacLeod, Anne Michaels, and Madeleine Thien. She is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, a member of the Advisory Board of Ryerson University’s Publishing Program, and is a frequent guest-lecturer at publishing courses and writers’ seminars.

Marilyn’s international reputation rests on the four pillars of effective agenting: hard work, ethics, technique, and contacts. Her passion is seeing good books published well, and she particularly loves working with authors (début and established) of literary fiction, commercial fiction, narrative and expert non-fiction, and memoir. She brings her high standards to every aspect of her practice: from reading the manuscripts of prospective clients to preparing submission materials, and to advising authors carefully during every step of the publishing process. Marilyn applies her expert knowledge of book publishing contracts, both for traditional print and electronic books, to every negotiation on her clients’ behalf. Frequent, in-depth communication on all issues, including marketing advice and career planning, is a hallmark of the agency’s service. The agency takes on authors, not books, with a long view to developing their careers, both in Canada and abroad.

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