The Biggest Mistakes Writers Make
…In Pitching Their Books to Agents
By Greg Johnson
(*Rachelle here: I keep asking my illustrious colleague [read: boss] if he wants to contribute to the blog; but he is SO illustrious he’s swamped from dawn till dark and has not had time yet. Never fear, I pulled this out of something he wrote in response to an agent survey.)
The biggest mistakes writers make, in my opinion, are…
a They don’t research the agency they want to pitch.
a They pitch their product long before it is actually ready. They are so anxious to get published that they don’t rewrite and edit well.
a They don’t do a good job with the competition section in their proposal. They think their book is the only one of its kind. When we see that, we reject the proposal 99% of the time, or at least send it back asking for revision. Authors must do their homework in the competition area. (This applies more heavily to non-fiction writers.)
a They underestimate the importance of the author platform, and don’t understand the author’s role in marketing.
a They think that by including everyone in their target market, their book is somehow more valuable. If you have a message for Christians, keep this in mind. Narrow it down to a specific section of the audience. If your message is for those outside the church, you’re in for a very tough time in getting anyone to pay attention. General market houses typically don’t care all that much about spreading the message, so writing “for the crossover market” typically leaves your book in no-man’s land.
a They think that because their message is important (which it often is) it must also deserve to be published. Writers need to understand that almost everyone has something important to say, but that doesn’t translate into having a publishable book.
So, whaddaya think? Agree or disagree? Have you made any of these mistakes?