Yesterday I got My reply from the agency. They are prepared to offer Me a contract so long as I agree to a have My work critiqued by a professional editor. Providing I agree to do this, they are prepared to offer Me a one year contract during which time they will endeavor to publish My Book. Their pay is like commission on sales they get for Me, taking ten percent of the gross earnings. There is no signing fee or cost to enter into the contract and I am free to terminate the contract if the agency fails to generate sales for any ninety-day period. All and all, it sounds like a very reasonable contract.
Although I can smile now and say that I have been offered a contract with an agency, I had sent My query letter out hoping to have My manuscript read and critiqued. Although I have been offered a contract I still have no feedback on the actual material except that it’s marketable. Remember, You must really believe in Your book if You want to get it published. I already know My book is marketable or I wouldn’t be looking for an agent!
I have really just come full circle. Before I start sending Book proposals and query letters to other agents, I want to know that the work is free from foolish mistakes. I also want critical feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the Book itself. Again, I know the Book and the material are good, but I am not foolish enough to believe it is as great as it can be. A professional critique of My work by a qualified editor would be invaluable to Me at this point. So would some cash.
As the author of a great book, You must know You are the one in control. You don’t want to be pompous about it, but You should know it. Your book is the gem every agency and publisher are looking for, You are just waiting to see who recognizes it first. When an agency realizes the potential of Your book, they will want to make sure they treat You well and a signing bonus is both customary and professional courtesy.
I am going to tell them that I intend to work with an editor and would like to review the contract. If they offer some kind of signing bonus in the contract, I will consider signing. If they do not offer an advance it is unlikely I will sign. However, if signing means they will immediately be representing the Book to publishers then I may sign only to see if they secure any contracts while I am going through the editing process.
Either way, I still need a critical review of My work. I just noticed an old friend of mine from high school is now an editor, I have just asked her if she can review My work or recommend an editor who can. My family and a few of My friends also have a copy of the first 79 pages (I’m keeping the ending under wraps until it is ready to go to print) and I’m hoping I will soon get some feedback.
Today I will begin working on My proposal. The proposal is almost more important than the Book. The truth is, most agencies will not have time to read a full manuscript. The proposal condenses the entire Book into about ten pages and includes covering Your main competition, audience and any other aspect of the book that demonstrates why the agency needs to promote it. The proposal is savvy sales at its most seductive if written successfully.
Really, I need an editorial strategist. I have countless ideas about how to approach the proposal. The proposal is so important and challenging because You want to let an agency know You’ve got the greatest book in the world, the next international bestseller, but You don’t want to sound egotistical or no one will want to represent You. People will not buy from someone they don’t like unless they absolutely have to – and agencies don’t have to do anything, at least not for You.
I will begin posting the ‘proposal in progress’ as it develops, please feel free to post any suggestions.