Tag: literary agents
Try this exercise and write your query letter before you write your next book to keep your manuscript focused and help you pitch it to agents and publishers.
Our second excerpt from How to Become an Author: Your Complete Guide gets into some detail about self editing, literary agents, query letters, and book proposals for the author looking to land a publishing deal.
You've written a book you think could be a best-seller. Now there's only one thing standing between you and a big publishing deal: a literary agent. On the Ploughshares Blog, Steph Auteri offers some great advice on how to make your book proposal stand out from the dozens or hundreds of other pitches the agent of your dreams received that week. Take a look at her Checklist of Book Proposal Essentials to Go Through Before You Start Schmoozing Agents for the full details, or read my quick summary below.
A compelling book proposal should have:1. A catchy title and subtitle. Though the publisher could always change the name of the book later on, you want to give them the sense right from the start that this book is a finished product. 2. An irresistible book description. You're a writer — so take time writing your book description too. Make it shine from the very first sentence. Convey what is both unique and universal about your book. If you don't, the agent will most certainly move on to the next proposal in the pile.
From avoiding typos to communicating what makes your book unique and compelling, here are 15 things to focus on when crafting a query letter for your book. It's worth reading the whole piece for details, but I thought I'd summarize his points below — just in case you're the skimming type: 1. An effective query letter does NOT have any typos, spelling errors, or grammatical/punctuation goofs. 2. An effective query letter contains all the basic information (book summary, quick author intro, why you're writing to this agent, etc.) 3. An effective query letter does NOT contain information that is irrelevant to your book or the purpose of your querying. 4. An effective query letter clearly states the genre of your book.
In this video clip, BookBaby president Brian Felsen interviews Jody Rein and Katharine Sands about how shifts in the publishing industry are affecting literary agents.
According to Michael Bourne (who writes for The Millions and Poets & Writers), successfully navigating through the world of literary agents requires— what, talent? Patience? Perseverance? Nope. Success requires connections! In his recent article "A Right Fit," Bourne says:
...agents work with people they know, and friends of people they know. If that sounds like I’m saying, “It’s all about who you know,” that’s because that is exactly what I’m saying. You can rail about how unfair that is, and how it makes publishing into an incestuous little club, and to a degree you would be right: a lot of very dumb books get published because somebody knew somebody. But that’s the way the machine is built, people. It may come a-tumbling down in the near future in the face of e-books and indie publishers, but for now, if you want to get published by a major publisher, you have two choices: you can keep banging your head against a wall and be angry, or you can figure out how to get yourself into the club. To do that, you have to immerse yourself in the literary community. Five years ago, with my first book, I sent roughly 60 query letters to agents and editors at smaller publishing houses.
What’s holding you back from sharing your message with the world? Too many people end up pouring their heart, soul, time, and money into pursuing their publishing dreams, only to realize they're actually missing a...