Marketing

How to Make (Some) Agents and Editors Smile

Believe it or not, agents and editors are people too.

In my experience, at least. They’re not mean or grumpy—most of them. They’re not lying in wait for a chance to dash a writer’s dreams. They don’t enjoy saying no.

They’re mostly a good sort. They like to be liked. And they truly appreciate and will often remember a few small things that writers do, whether in an email, in an appointment, or across the cafeteria table at a writers conference. If you want to make them smile (and possibly hold onto a positive memory of you), try doing these few simple things:

  1. Get his or her name right.

Sure, I get frequent emails with the salutation to “Steve.” That’s mostly understandable, since I am a serf—er, I mean representative—of The Steve Laube Agency. But I’ve also been addressed as “Ben,” “Bob Harrison,” and “Mr. Hostetzer,” among others. Believe me, I understand the ease of cut-and-paste and also how easy it is to misspell a name. (I once signed a book to a guy who said his name was Bob, and then handed it back to me, telling me it was spelled “Bobb.” Well, okay.) But whether in speech or writing, getting the name right is an elementary ingredient of a good first impression.

  1. Express curiosity.

Remember, editors and agents are (mostly) normal. Like most people, they feel honored and valued when someone asks questions about their life and work. So express curiosity. Ask, “What’s your favorite part of your job?” “What book are you most excited about right now?” and “What would you really love to see from writers that you’re not seeing?”

  1. Follow instructions.

Pay attention to editors’ and agents’ guidelines and preferences. If he says he prefers to see a full proposal, don’t send a query. If she says she’s not looking for fantasy, don’t say, “I know you say you don’t represent fantasy, but I think you’ll change your mind when you read this.” On the other hand, when you say something like, “I’ve benefited often from your blog posts so you may recognize my name as a frequent commenter” or “I noticed that your blurb in the conference mentioned a love for historical fiction,” you might get a nod, a smile, and a listening ear.

  1. Say “thank you.”

The cynic says, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” I say, “Publishing, like the rest of life, is all about relationships.” So even if your idea didn’t result in a parade or confetti shower, a sincere “thank you” is always a good idea, whether it’s in person, via email, or in a handwritten note (remember those?). And in my case, a “Donutgram” is always a good way to say “thank you.”

Sure, these are all elementary. But you would probably be surprised at how rare these things are. Rare enough to elicit a smile from an overworked editor or agent.

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How Long Does It Take to Get Published?

How much time does it take to get published?

I came to the publishing business from the retail side of the equation. The biggest adjustment was understanding how long the process takes. In retail there is instantaneous gratification. But book publishing is a process business.

There is no question the timeline varies from person to person and project to project. In the world of major publishers the diversity can be quite extreme.

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210 billion emails sent per day? I think I get half of those. <!>
20 hours of YouTube videos uploaded every minute?

We swim in a sea of data. So how do you discern what to read or view? In other words, what makes you buy or click?

Take that same mindset and apply it to your next book idea or article. What would make the consumer buy or click it, especially when faced with a plethora of competing options? If your idea, your novel, your insight, can withstand competitive scrutiny then you have a chance to impact this world. Obscurity equals no audience. That is why publishers are pushing agents and authors to make their “platform” bigger.


Via: OnlineSchools.org

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My cousin has a new job selling irrigation systems. He understands this product and even bought one from the company himself. I know what an irrigation system is but that’s about it. Could I sell an irrigation system based on this knowledge? Well, I could try; but I’d have to …

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Dan is leaving the agency at the end of this month to focus his attention on the work of Gilead Publishing, the company he started in 2016. Here are some parting thoughts. _____ I’ve been a literary agent for about 2,000 of the 13,000 total days spent working with and …

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