Q. I am currently self-publishing with Xlibris and they have been aggressively marketing for me to spend additional money on one of their marketing packages. I haven’t even seen the final product yet. Should I take them up on their “special offer?”
When to look for an agent?
If you’re writing a novel, don’t submit until after you’ve written and rewritten the novel. In other words: after.
If you’re writing nonfiction, you’ll submit a query for a proposal, not a finished book. Agents and publishers base their nonfiction publishing decisions on proposals, and don’t expect you to finish until after the contract is signed. So: before.
Longer Answer: Look for an Agent early; Submit Later
Don’t submit your query until your work is ready (the proposal or the novel), but do start researching in advance. While you’re writing and researching, keep your eyes open and build up your list of potential agents:
- Create a file of potential agents (digital or a real folder)
- Note the names of agents that are acknowledged in your favorite books
- Subscribe to a reputable publishing newsletter or two (Publishers Weekly; Publishers Marketplace, Writers Digest) and notice the names of agents that pop up. Writers Digest interviews agents looking for new clients all the time.
- Use Google alerts to get book news from one or two reputable sources (USA Today, New York Times)
- Ask around whenever you run into other writers (your writing group, writing workshops, online groups).
Best of luck!
Q. What’s the main thing a traditional book publisher considers before signing an author?
A. Yes, publishing decision-making can be complex, and acquisitions can take days and involve many people. But it always comes down to one simple question: will people buy this book? No market=no money for publisher=no money for author.
Seems pretty intuitive, doesn’t it? Yet 9 out of 10 queries that cross my desk (or zoom through my email) don’t seem to consider this fact.
And 99 out of 100 people derisively calling traditional book publishers “gatekeepers” and demanding that all books [Read more…]
Five years ago I rarely encountered anyone who paid to get his work edited before submitting to agents and publishers. Now just about every writer I run into at conferences talks about “my writing coach” or “my editor.”
At the 2014 San Francisco Writers Conference last month I heard a very jarring question. The New York editors panel was asked: “Will traditional publishers insist on editing my book?” There’s so much wrong with that question, and this whole situation, it’s kind of hard to know where to start.
What bothers me is what’s behind these questions: a deep [Read more…]