Gini Graham Scott's book Sell Your Book, Script or Column: How to Write a Winning Query and Make a Winning Pitch is available on the iTunes App Store for $5.99 under Arrow's Reference, Business & Education Collection. Type in keywords “Arrow Publications" or "Business & Education"
While having a good agent is often the best approach, consider whether your book is best suited for an agent. Often, you will do better in pitching certain types of books yourself. In general, agents are best for books which have the potential for
large sales, whether commercial nonfiction or fiction, or for special markets that have a big sales potential (such as popular psychology, self-help, and business books). In such cases, where big sales are possible, agents are ideal if you can find a good
one, because they mostly focus on working with the bigger publishers who handle such books.
Are you having trouble finding a good agent you like working with?
If so, join the club. This is one of the most common complaints of writers, including long-time professional writers. Even writers who have an agent may be looking for another one, or have different types of writing projects better handled by another agent. This article will help you find and select an agent.
Some considerations to keep in mind when choosing the agent that’s best for you are:
Types of books handled. Most agents handle multiple types of books, but some agents specialize. It can be useful to choose an agent who handles several types of books if you have different types of writing projects. Or you may prefer to divide up different types of books with different agents, if the agents agree. In some cases, agents will handle other types of projects for clients, but only when they are representing the client for their primary area of emphasis. (Most commonly this occurs when the agent represents you for nonfiction and additionally takes on fiction, children’s books, or scripts.) Check on what types of manuscripts the agent handles to decide what’s best for you.
Film and TV rights. Most agents handle film and TV rights for projects they represent – generally through a rep in L.A. or elsewhere on the West Coast, though some handle the rights themselves. If you want an agent who specializes in film and TV rights, look for one who is a member of the Writers Guild of America (WGA), since many producers, production companies, and studios will only deal with WGA agents. You can find these agents listed on the WGA website, and the Hollywood Creative Directory at www.hcdonline.com also has a directory which comes out twice a year which features agents and managers.
Foreign reps and rights. Most agents handle foreign rights, generally through a subagent or group of subagents, although some handle these rights themselves. Should you want to know the foreign reps which different agents use, the
listings for many agents are in the Literary Marketplace, which is available in a hard copy which comes out annually and online.
Affiliations and Listings. An agent’s affiliations and listings in directories of agents can help you decide whom to contact, too. The agents who are listed in Literary Marketplace and/or are members of the Association of Authors’ Representatives (AAR) generally have fairly solid credentials, although the AAR list provides little information other than whether an agent handles nonfiction, fiction, children’s books, or dramatic works. A number of popular directories include more detailed information on some of these agents. But many of the bigger and more established agents aren’t listed in these directories or don’t provide much information, since they get most of their new clients by referrals or through industry sources, like panel discussions of agents for writers groups. Still you can often break through to a big agent with a well-written query about a compelling project. The PublishersAndAgents Agent Assessment and Location Service also provides some detailed information on agent affiliations.
Areas of Specialization. Besides the broad areas of specialization – Nonfiction (N), Fiction (F), Scripts/Screenplays (S), and Children’s Books (which range from juveniles to young adults) (C) – many agents and agencies describe their interests in various sources. Where these descriptions are available, you can find agents or agencies with particular interests (i.e. “business” if you have a business book; “self-help” or “relationships” if you have a personal improvement book). However, don’t overlook the agents who don’t provide such information, since many agents who haven’t listed the particular subject area of your book or haven’t listed any specialties may still be interested, especially if your book is a general trade or commercial nonfiction or fiction book.
Reputation. A big concern of writers is whether an agent is truly reputable. Generally, you can trust agents you learn about through a personal referral, an appearance on industry panels, or a referral by other writers who have been published or are members of professional writers’ organizations. Another good source for reputable agents is Publishers Marketplace, which lists the agents involved in making deals each week (in fact, PublishersAndAgents has been tracking these agents for over two years and has a record of the number and size of deals made by these agents). A good way to eliminate agents who might be a problem is to not contact agents who charge reading fees or promote editing services (unless they do this on a limited basis for new, unpublished writers, and also represent established writers at no charge). However, many agents do charge fees for copying manuscripts, foreign calls, messengers, and postage, and some ask for an advance retainer of about $50-200 to cover such costs, so this isn’t necessarily a warning sign. This request for fees is most common for agents on the West Coast and outside of the main publishing centers, because they have higher postage and phone expenses.
Next Issue: How to Write a Good Query to Get an Agent for your book.
Friend us on Facebook and see more pictures and news.
NEXT ISSUE OF STRAIGHT FROM ARROW
June 30, 2010
Arrow Talks to Romance Writer Rae Winters
Rae Winters’ eBook Unfinished Business is available on the iTunes App Store for $2.99 under Arrow's Love and Romance Collection. Type in keyword “Arrow Publications”.
Arrow recently spoke with Rae Winters a native New Yorker and the passionate writer of the Girlfriend Series, the Romance Series, and the racy Seduction Series. Winters started writing romantic short stories and poetry over seven years ago, and has been writing them ever since. The Girlfriends Series launched her introduction into eBooks. Since then, Winters has sold seven eBooks to Lady Leo Publishing and her first book to Red Rose Publishing. In addition, she has published book reviews, sensual poems, and confession stories for five national women's confession/romance magazines.
Arrow: So, tell us about yourself – the fans are listening.
Arrow: Are any of stories or characters based on real life?
Arrow: And what do you consider a captivating erotic story?
Arrow: This is great. So what motivated you to start writing in the erotica genre?
Arrow: Yes, I see that you eased your way into sensual and erotic writing. Tell us, what's your writing background?
Arrow: With so many distractions, do you get the opportunity to write every day?
Arrow: So sorry to hear about your father. Our condolences. Writing until your starving, now that’s dedication. Is there a particular writer who influenced or mentored you?
Arrow: Precisely! One of the essential parts of writing is guiding the reader to see, feel and hear what’s in the writer’s mind. Are there any genres or subgenres you haven't tried that you'd like to?
Arrow: With electronic publishing at the forefront of the industry, what made you decide to publish in this popular format?
Arrow: Have you sought an agent or do you represent yourself? Any advice for new writers looking to get published?
Also, it’s important to study the craft—enroll in writing workshops and online classes to help you polish your skills. Another way is to form a critique group to review your work. It may be painful at times, but it’s good to get other people’s opinion of your work. With this in mind, I say, keep submitting!!!
Arrow: Tell us about your latest releases. Do you have a favorite?
Arrow: A little racy you say. What can your readers expect from you in 2010?
Caribbean Heat, the first book from my Seduction Series, and another novella, Tangled Sheets, are being edited for submission. Both of these erotica novellas are my raciest titles so far.
Arrow: Do you implement any special marketing techniques to promote your books, your brand and yourself?
Arrow: This is certainly a lot of work. Before we hop off, fans really want to know a little about you. Tell us about Rae.
Arrow: Traveling the world is great! Rae, it’s been a real pleasure. Thank you for taking a few moments to speak with Arrow about your writing career. Lets chat again soon.
Read the full interview with Rae Winters on MyRomanceStory's Blog.
Search keywords “Arrow Publications” or “MyRomanceStory” to find Obsession and Unfinished Business and other offerings by Rae Winters in Arrow’s Love & Romance Collection in the iTunes App store. Titles start at only $2.99.