Agents

What can an agent do for me? Do I need one? How much do they cost?

  . If your goal is to publish your book with a medium to large traditional, royalty-paying publishing house—then you want to seek agent representation. Very few large houses these days accept submissions from unagented authors. . Getting an agent is one way to know you’re on the right track. If you get a yes…
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Will an Agent Be Interested in My Self-Published Book?

So you have an indie-published book and you’re thinking about pursuing traditional publishing? That’s fantastic. Welcome! Most agents and publishers aren’t interested in your already-published book. Instead, we want to see your NEXT book. I’ve seen wonderful indie-published books that have sold units in the six figures, and traditional publishers still didn’t bite. Why? Partly…
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How do I Know if I Need a Literary Agent?

There are different kinds of publishers you can approach – from traditional, full-service publishers that operate on the advance + royalty model; to smaller publishers that use a co-op or hybrid model (author and publisher share costs); to self-publishing companies in which the author pays the costs. Most of the publishers in the first group,…
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What’s the Secret to a Great Query Letter?

Query letters! We all have to write them (yes, even agents) and they’re SO important. What’s the secret? It’s understanding this most important point: The purpose of a query is get someone to want to read your manuscript. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s not to explain your whole book or tell your whole story. It’s…
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What if We Reject a Bestseller?

A writer asked: “How many bestsellers have slipped through reputable agents’ hands? I am curious to know how an agent deals with such a loss when a bestseller was in their hands and they rejected it.” This is an interesting question, because most editors and agents have passed on books that went on to success (if not…
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When You’re Missing the Mark

Katie asked: I was wondering, what if I get an agent and she tries to sell two or three of my novels, all in the same genre, and nothing sells. What would happen in this case? Well Katie, sounds like you and your agent will be at a crossroads and need to make some decisions.…
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Botched Communication

  I want to tell you about an incident at a writers’ conference that was sort of heartbreaking for me. We agents have a lot invested in these conferences, just like the writers do, and sometimes we have disappointments too. I met with a writer who pitched me a couple of projects. She seemed like…
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Searching

How Do You Find a Literary Agent?

I asked readers on my Facebook  page for questions they’d like me to answer on the blog. It seems many are dying to know the secret to getting an agent. Stephanie asked: What is the single most important thing when approaching an agent? Aleah asked: What’s the best way for a first time novelist to get…
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One book

Why You Should Pitch a Single Book

If you’re like most writers, you’re probably not writing just one book. You’ve written multiple books, possibly in different genres. You may have a whole 3 or 6 or 9-book series planned. So the question naturally arises: Should I pitch my whole series to an agent? Should I tell them about my entire body of work?…
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Let Your Agent Be the Bad Guy

One of the primary advantages of having an agent is that you have an advocate who can handle all the negotiations with the publisher and navigate difficult territory, allowing you to maintain a positive working relationship with everyone at your publishing house. This positive relationship can have huge implications when it comes time for a…
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Why Didn’t I Say Yes to Your Novel?

When an agent or editor requests your partial or full manuscript, it’s nerve wracking to wait and wonder, day after day, if they’re reading it and whether they like it. If they finally decide not to offer representation, it hurts and you just want to know… why? Most agents try to offer some kind of…
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Questions on Queries

Here are a few questions I often receive about queries and what I say in response: You said “don’t pitch a novel unless it’s complete.” Do you feel the same about query letters? Do we only query completed works, or are ideas fair game? If you are sending a query to an agent, only pitch…
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Decisions, Decisions

A writer asked: If you have a bunch of book ideas, how do you decide which ones are viable?     FOR NON-FICTION: Spend some time on each idea, one by one. First work on a rough outline of what the book would be. List the themes and topics you’d want to cover. Ask yourself:…
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gatekeeper

I Am Not a Gatekeeper

People in and around this business have long used the word “gatekeeper” when referring to those in publishing tasked with choosing which books to publish or represent. Since the rise of self-publishing, it has become a debate—often heated: Down with the gatekeepers! Hooray for the gatekeepers! But gatekeepers are not what you think. There is…
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