The Difference Between An Agent, Manager & Publicist

By: MJ Pedone

Often times, I’m the one in the group who has the most exciting job. Once I’m asked what I do for a living, all bets are off. Yes it sounds so glamorous answering that I own my own Public Relations agency and that I specialize in working with athletes, celebrities and entertainers. Of course the flurries of questions always begin such as, who are some of your clients? What is it like working with so and so? Do you get to go to the games? But the stand out question that always remains the same is, what is the difference between an Agent, Manager and Publicist. Since I know most people aren’t sure of the answer, I listed the differences below.


An agent is responsible for helping you find work and for negotiating the terms of your employment. For example, if you are an actor, your agent keeps his eye out for roles that would be suitable for you and contacts the casting director to arrange auditions. Once a director hires you, your agent will help negotiate your contract and make sure the terms and conditions of your contract are met. You will have a legally binding contract with your agent, allowing him to negotiate on your behalf. Agents are usually paid a percentage of your fees for each job, generally between 10 to 15 percent. In California, agent fees are limited to 10 percent of your earnings.


A manager provides career guidance and advice. Managers may also provide financial and legal advice, if they are qualified to do so. While agents may have hundreds of clients, managers generally have only a few clients and spend more time with each one. A manager’s duties are far-ranging and may include advising you on what jobs to take, helping you to market yourself, organizing advertising and publicity, advising on how to develop your talents, making travel arrangements and advising on how to manage your income. Managers generally earn between 15 to 20 percent of your total income.


A publicist helps you manage your relationship with the media. This may include arranging interviews with journalists; making press announcements on your behalf; organizing your blog, twitter posts or other social media; helping you to gain publicity; arranging for public appearances; and advising on how to avoid unwanted publicity. Publicists often work for agencies and are generally paid a flat fee rather than a percentage of your income. Some publicists work on retainer, whereby the publicist earns a monthly fee for a set amount of work, such as 20 hours a week.

I have many clients in which I’m a publicist for but also act as a manager. I tend to wear many hats and at times, work 24/7. I’m grateful and feel so blessed for each and every one of my clients who I consider family. It really is true, do something you love and you will never have to work a day in your life!

As always, if you found this information helpful, don’t keep it to yourself. Be social and share!

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