Your manuscript is polished. Your query is snappy. Are you ready to query?
Nope. Let’s just SLOW YOUR ROLL lest you hear “writer, writer pants on fire!”
You may be writing from the heart but your book is not your baby.
The book proposal is the marketing plan and the sales forecast. It positions your book and compares you to all other writers. It must glitter.
You can do this. IF you put on your agent hat.
Picture our friendly literary agent.
She’s paid only on sales. She spends her days on her current clients’ work. She’s pitching those writers to publishers. And she still hasn’t been paid for that work. She’s living off the books she sold two years ago.
Now it’s the weekend. She’s reviewing your query at night when she should be binge-watching reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
She’s assessing the sales opportunities for your book. She’s comparing to recent deals on Publishers Marketplace. She’s assessing your viability as an engaging spokesperson for your brand. She’s considering the individual readers who will flock to your story and eventually pay real dollars for your book.
Here are 5 actions you can take to make it easy for agents to yell “YAS!”
1. Agents are depending on you having a home base for your work, your views, your charm. A website or even a webpage. This is somewhere that you that you control.
2. Agents want you to have a professional image to your work. Whether you’re an acrobat or a surgeon, you need to present yourself. Please, for the love of pete, do not use photos from your boating experience or your girls’ night out. Do not cut yourself out of a bridesmaid line-up. No bathing suits. No bare shoulders please. Grainy photos will not suffice. iPhones take GREAT photos. No surprise, Apple offers a GINORMOUS array of free instructions and inspirations.
3. Agents want you to know your value and what you offer to readers. Meaning, why would someone want to read your work? You have to know your 13-word value proposition. Picture that little blurb on the back flap of your book. Your agent isn’t going to figure it out for you.
4. Agents want you to have some sort of presence in the digital ecosystem we live in. That means, you need a social media profile that is active and reflects what you’re writing. Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or any of the others. Pick one and stick to it.
5. Agents want you to have an understanding of where your work will compete in the marketplace. Think like a bookseller. Go to a bookstore. Visit the library. Check out Goodreads, Amazon, BookBub, Booklist, Netgalley. Be certain in your gut where your book will sit.
You can do this. You already wrote an entire book, so this will be breezy. I believe in you.