After posting yesterday’s blog entry, a friend of Mine who is a playwright and songwriter with many awards and accolades commented on My approach to finding an agent. He recently sent a query letter for a new sitcom idea out to a television studio. The letter must have been good because he got the studio’s attention. But he has not written the sitcom yet or prepared his proposal! So he was kind of caught with his pants down but was lucky enough that the studio gave him a month to work on the proposal which he will present before a panel of executives! Yes, this is the real world of marketing a writing concept! You may find Yourself sitting in front of some very significant people if You want to sell Your story. It must have been one amazing query letter and I am hoping he will give Me an opportunity to read it.
My friend also congratulated Me on getting My proposal out to an agency and although I still remember being flattered the day I received the e-mail telling Me they wanted to see My manuscript, I am in no way getting My hopes up. I am most interested in critical feedback because I think the Book can be improved, but I also think I am capable of making the necessary editorial adjustments.
I’m not sure this company has the publishing potential I am looking for. Remember that when You are looking for an agent, it is because You believe You have something great. Your agent’s job is to recognize its greatness and develop a marketing strategy to sell it to publishers. Your job is to write the Book and You are hiring an agency to sell it for You. You will want to send out a few query letters and discover which of the agencies that responds has the highest potential of getting Your book to big name publishers. Once You have chosen the best agency, then You send Your proposal to them and send a polite thank you letter to the others without burning any bridges.
I also anticipate that some literary agents may prey on the first-time writer’s desire to see their work in print. Perhaps they have partnerships with publishers and will suggest You pay to have a certain number of books printed. This is not how an agency is supposed to work. If You want to self-publish Your book You will need some money but You will not need an agent. You can save Your money until You have enough to print several hundred or thousand copies and endeavor to market them and sell them independently. This may even be the best way to ensure high profit if You have the money to invest.
But the agent’s job is to sell Your book, that is what You are paying them for. You are their talent, You are the one who is going to make money for the agency. You want an agency so You don’t have to worry about how to market Your book and make sales. That does not mean that You will not have to do anything. A good agent may book signings for You, public appearances or anything else to get Your name out there but all these things are promoting Your book and all the costs should be covered by the agency. If You don’t make money, they don’t make money.
I have a feeling the agency I sent My query to will answer Me within the next week and I believe they will offer Me a contract. However, I believe it will be a contract riddled with conditions that will not be in My best interest. Whatever happens, I will post the result.