Clay Aiken – Meets the Literary World

After reading the news of a possible Christmas book by Clay Aiken, I was intrigued to find out more about the job of a literary agent.  What do they do and why are they important?

A literary agent negotiates between authors and those who produce the work of the author. These people would consist of book publishers, radio,television and film producers, and theater managers.

Typical tasks include:

  • dealing with proposals and reading manuscripts to decide which authors to represent
  • offering editorial advice to authors
  • advising authors on career strategy
  • managing intellectual property rights
  • negotiating deals with producers on the authors’ behalf
  • sending out proposals and manuscripts for consideration
  • building up contacts throughout the industry
  • updating producers about authors’ work

Literary agents make their living by earning a commission, usually 10% to 20% of the authors’ earnings. Since the agent relies on their commission, they only sign authors that they think can get book deals and sell books. Literary agents are largely office-based, but also need to be out and about making contacts and attending openings, receptions and trade exhibitions. Communication and negotiating skills are essential, as well as business acumen.

Apart from paying the required attention to an author, a literary agent has other jobs to do as well. They first have to deal with proposals and to decide which author they should represent. A literary agent also offers editorial and career advice to authors.

An agent also has to manage intellectual property rights. The literary agent sends out manuscripts and proposals for consideration. It is the job of literary agent to negotiate deals with the publisher on the behalf of an author.

For the most part, agents work in Manhattan.  This is because the major publishers are housed in New York.  In order to do their job well, the agent needs access to the editors at all times.

Beyond reading material and identifying potential literary talent, agents really need to understand the publishing business. They need to know the right people at the right houses in order to make deals as well as the houses themselves. If an agent has a great manuscript, that agent needs to know what editor is going to be right to publish it.  For works that attract multiple editors, auctions are often arranged so editors can bid on a work. Auctions often result in higher advances.

Clay Aikens literary agent is David Vigliano.  According to his web-site:

Vigliano Associates is the preeminent boutique literary agency in publishing.  The agency has represented eight #1 New York Times best sellers, with over 50 books hitting the Times list since 2000.

The agency claims to be the foremost agency in the industry at representing celebrity books.  Some of their most famous clients are:

  • David Blaine, Magician
  • Alicia Keys, Grammy winner
  • Shaquille O’Neal, NBA Superstar
  • Walter Payton, NFL Hall of Famer
  • Willie Nelson, Country musician
  • Jenny McCarthy, Actress

The agency also represents Robert James Waller, the author of Bridges of Madison County and Rocco DiSpirito’s cookbooks.

Clay Aiken always surprises us with his many exciting undertakings.  It will be interesting to watch this new project grow and become a successful enterprise.

Clay Aiken News Network is an unofficial fansite. We are not affiliated in any way with Clay Aiken or his management. This website was made by fans for fans and makes no impression or impersonation of the official site, which can be found under the domain

20 thoughts on “Clay Aiken – Meets the Literary World

  1. Thank you musicfan for the research – fascinating!!

    Sounds like Clay Aiken has a great agent and I look forward to hearing more about the book!!

  2. Six years ago I never imagined that falling in love with a nerdy guy who had an unbelievable voice would lead me into learning so much about so many different areas. From the music business, to autism, to the children of Uganda called “night commuters”, to the world of Broadway and now to the world of publishing. It’s been an incredible adventure Clay has taken us on and it’s only just begun.

  3. is so true…Clay is so dimensional…so many facets of this amazing mans life…

    Thanks CANN for the interesting article…we sure are learning so much about everything since Clay. What a journey, and it just keeps getting better and better… We sure are all better for all that Clay does…He enriches our lives over and over again…..


  4. Certainly we are all learning in the Clay Aiken fanclub. He is such a multifaceted man with so many skills. He is certainly literate and loves words so I’m looking forward to his new book.

  5. Very interesting about the publishing business. I guess we’ll be learning more in this venture of Clay Aiken’s.

  6. Thanks so much for the research about the literary business. I think Clay Aiken has an excellent agent in David Vigliano.

  7. Thanks for the education on what a literary agent does. I’m really forward to Clay Aiken’s new book!

  8. Musicfan,

    Thank you for another educational, interesting entry. I am really looking forward to Clay Aiken’s next book!

    Thank you, too, for your kind remarks in the Carolina blog. Have a great weekend!


  9. It never fails that we learn something new from Clay Aiken when he ventures off into a new project. After seeing the 05 Christmas concert we will be waiting to see how the project comes together with his new co-author. Thanks for the information on the publishing business. Quite interesting.

  10. Thank you for spelling this out for us as, quite frankly, I wasn’t really sure what a literary agent was before reading your interesting article.

    I don’t know if Clay knows the right people or the right people know Clay because he always seems to have the cream of the crop, with one exception and we won’t go there now, representing him.

    Good luck to Clay in all his endeavours and thank you for the enlightening blog. 🙂

  11. Thank you for another interesting article. I always wondered what a literary agent did. Now I know.

    I can’t wait to see how this all pans out. Hope there is more than the maybe a CD or maybe a Christmas Tour. It’s all so exciting. That’s because there’s never a dull moment with Clay Aiken..and I love it!

  12. What an interesting article. I really never knew exactly what a literary agent did.

    I am looking forward to reading Clay’s new book. I hope we hear more about it soon.

  13. This sure helped me to understand what goes on. Thank you. Like others have said before, look how much we have learned just
    by keeping up with Clay Aiken.

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