Writing Lessons : How to Hire a Literary Agent


Hi everybody I’m John Graden and I’m a professional
speaker, author and trainer. You’ve got this great idea for a book, how do you get a publishing
house to even consider you. Well it’s very difficult to go directly to a publishing house.
Most medium and large publishers will only talk to an agent. And you want to have an
agent who’s going to work on your behalf. Here is someone who’s been immersed in the
book business for a long time. Their language is the language of book contracts, book negotiations,
rights, sales so that’s an area that most of us don’t have enough experience in to really
adequately champion our book. And that’s what a literary agent does for you. He champions
your book, if they buy into it. My approach in getting a literary agent was simply this,
I sent my book proposal to five different agents. Within ten minutes I had a response,
within three days I was signed and that was for the Impostor Syndrome self help book,
it’s my first main stream self help book. I’ve come out of the martial arts industry
and I’ve moved into this first seller, I knew because I’m going into main stream self help,
I wanted somebody to champion me. I wanted someone who believed in me. First off, we
have to understand in hiring a literary agent, it’s an unlicensed profession, what that means
is that anybody can call themselves an agent so you have to do some research. You want
to make sure that you’re matching your book, the content of your book, with the specialties
of your literary agent. In other words, I wouldn’t take a self help book to somebody
that specializes in selling toy train books, or toy books. I want to make sure somebody
that really knows this business and they have relationships with the various publishers,
that publish these kinds of books. There are some great resources to find a literary agent.
The literary market place, publisher’s weekly, and there is an annual agent’s guide, the
annual agent’s guide is two thousand and eight, two thousand and seven, and every year it
changes. You can find all those resources online. Make sure that your agent, it’s best
that they are members of the major agency associations, it’s not always required but
it gives you at least another way to research them. Talk to other authors that they’ve worked
with, see how this person is to work, do they really get behind the title. Do they just
take on a certain amount of title so they can really put their energies into them. And
also make sure they are very responsive. The key though is you got to start with a good
book proposal and then you have to be selective, sometimes it’s going to be hard to get the
agent, sometimes it’s going to be a little bit easier, but either way you got to make
sure there is a good fit. Because having the wrong agent is worse then not having an agent
at all. I’m John Graden and I hope that helps you find a good literary agent for your book.

local_offerevent_note September 30, 2019

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