Since agents receive more proposals than they have time to represent, a huge obstacle for new authors is getting their manuscripts to the top of the stack. Every week I review excellent proposals from writers I would be proud to represent. If only I could double my hours in a day!
This happy dilemma speaks to how much the Christian market has matured. We attract the best and brightest writers. I don’t discern an attitude that readers should be happy to see Christian content, no matter how preachy or bland, simply because the writer’s heart is with God. I am proud of the professionalism of the top submissions I receive. Our agency looks to your proposal as a tool to gain the attention of the editors we know, so they can feel confident that they won’t be shot down in Committee thanks to a proposal missing critical elements or is otherwise poorly executed.
New at proposal writing? Never fear — we will help you fine-tune the final plan editors will see. But here are a few ways to get through our door:
A Must-Read Title
If I can’t wait to open your proposal because I’m intrigued by the title, you’ve got my attention. And that title will get editors’ attention, too.
Whether you’re writing genre romance, a novel, or a non-fiction work that’s extraordinary in its uniqueness, we’ve got to sell it. Let me know what I can tell the publisher’s sales team so everyone discerns what type of book we’re discussing. Then book buyers will understand how they can sell your work to readers. Saying your book is a first-ever or one-of-a-kind doesn’t help. I need to know who will be buying your work and why.
Established authors with a great sales history will jump to the top, particularly when writing a new story for their current market. Worried about poor sales history? Please don’t hide by omitting facts. To represent you well, we need to know your history so we can strategize how best to market your work. A bleak sales history comes to light sooner or later and later is not wise. We want to keep good will, not squander it. Debut writers need not despair, either. Publishers can find excellent places for new authors. Regardless of where you are in your career, you’ll find that stellar writing will put you ahead of less-eloquent writers.
A Great First Page
There’s a reason many conferences offer workshops with first page critiques. The first page is critical to your success. Readers want to jump right into the story and stay there. Put us in the middle of the situation, then let us know later why your heroine dyed her hair burgundy.
Of course, proposals contain many more elements, but perfecting these will put you ahead in the game. Find our proposal guidelines at http://stevelaube.com/guidelines/.
I look forward to seeing your work!
What grabs your attention when you’re reading?
What keeps you reading a book?