If you're a mediocre writer and want an agent to sign you... marry one. But if you're a talented writer, all it takes is getting your book into the hands of the right literary agent and BINGO... instant representation!
Alicia Cook, of New Jersey, has been writing stories since she was eight years old, and is now being represented by literary agent Byrd Leavell of the Waxman Leavell Literary Agency located in New York City.
Current publishing trends are such that writers need to have an author platform before an agent or editor will sign them on. An agent friend of mine told an audience at a panel we sat on together, "Get the TED talk first and then come talk to me."
Over the past month, I have fielded numerous inquiries about book development and promotion, so I figured it would be helpful to share with you my tips for both. In this first installment, I'll focus on the starting point question of whether to self-publish or pursue a mainstream publisher.
If you're an unknown quantity, and you aren't sleeping with someone at a literary agency--or even if you are, in some cases--it's virtually impossible to get face time with a publishing professional, be it an agent, editor, or publisher.
As a writer, professional editor, and former intern for one of the top literary agencies in New York City, I've seen my fair share of query letters. A number of minor issues tend to pop up fairly consistently, but there's one mistake I see writers making again and again.
To reach Salt Cay, fly into the Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau (Airport code: NAS). From there, a 45-minute taxi ride brings you to your accommodations at the Comfort Inn Suites on nearby Paradise Island.
We first met Roxanna Elden at Miami Dade College where we were teaching a class on publishing. From the second she opened her mouth (which she did frequently) it was obvious she was a published author waiting to happen.
It's called Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast, and it's a ripping barnburner full of outlandish action, heroic and dastardly characters, roller coaster rhymes and some absolutely fabulous illustrations by Brendan Kearney.
The book publishing world has been in tremendous flux in recent years, but I had no idea how much so until I began researching options for my own book about how to defend your reputation online. Here's what I have learned so far about the current state of publishing.
Understand that according to most agency agreements, your previous agent will be entitled to receive compensation for sales they made while you were under contract with them, even though you are no longer working together.
Some people will waste a lifetime waiting for the Gatekeepers. I was almost one of those people. By nature, I'm a rule follower. Even unwritten rules. If there's a way something is "supposed to be done," that's how I'll do it. When I finished writing my first novel, I queried agents.
Countless self-help books flirt and kiss but rarely go all the way. Perhaps because for the most part it's the commercial appearance of value with their pretty fonts, lively testimonials, and convoluted messages that escape even the greatest cryptographer.
The Book Doctors first met Andy Ross at Cody's Books, which was one of the most influential bookstores on the West Coast, smack dab in the middle of Telegraph Avenue in book-crazy Berkeley, California.
Today I received another rejection from an agent. Another beating. Unlike previous form letters that felt impersonal, this one was bittersweet because I received it two weeks after the agent requested the full proposal.
Writing, like any profession, is a road forked with unexpected turns and sudden drops and stops. On occasion, when you reach what you expect is the successful end, you discover abruptly that the princess is in another castle.
We all have a story to tell. Our lives are our stories. That's why the memoir category exists--because we love to read biographies and memoirs of those names we know and the people we want to learn more about.
Of all the skills a literary agent is required to have, the most important is the ability to negotiate well on behalf of the author client. Authors hire agents to protect their business interests in publishing. How do you know if your agent is a good negotiator?