Sunday, 12 August 2012

Querying a Literary Agent

The title of this post may be a little strange if you are outside the publishing biz... but an approach to a literary agent is termed a 'query'.

The truth is, though you can approach publishers directly, as an author you will really need a literary agent in your corner. An agent is a publishing insider. They know the market and they know the publishers. They can get you larger advances and they know which publishers will be the best for your book.

To select a literary agent you need to chose one that covers the topics that you are writing about. This improves your chances of a literary agent being interested in you. And because that literary agent specializes in your type of literature they will know the appropriate editors in the right publishing houses to actually get your book published.

Before you query a literary agent you should already have written your book proposal... just do not send it to the agent directly.

You need to first query an agent, to see if they want to read your book proposal. When approaching a literary agent, keep it simple... But your query still has to be perfect in all respects.

It should contain three sections: an introductory paragraph about your book; a paragraph listing your credentials and prior publications (if you have them); and a concluding paragraph that should simply ask whether the agent would like to receive your book proposal.

Of course, before this you need to find a literary agent to query in the first place. You need to do your research here. Search on-line and use various books about agents and publishing. Publishers Weekly is also an excellent source of information. There are hundreds of agents out there, but only a small section of these will handle your type of book.

If you choose agents that do not deal with your subject matter you will be rejected out of hand. But if you do your research properly then you already have a leg-up compared with other authors. If you are approaching your first agent then I would suggest narrowing your list down to 10 to 15 of the best options and sending your query (just the query, not your book proposal) to all of them.

If you have done your selection properly then you would expect responses from at least a couple of them asking for your book proposal (And if you have followed the other posts on this blog your proposal will be tip-top).

This is a lot of work, I know... but at least all agents these days accept emails so you can have everything ready in a weekend if you really want to.

Send those emails off and sit back in hope... the hope that soon you will be well on your way to getting published.

On to the next part: Writing the Research Section for technical and factual authors.
Back to the Introduction on Writing a Book Proposal.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular Posts