Tag s | book proposals

Is It Okay for Me to Resubmit?

When approaching agents and editors, sometimes even veteran authors are unsure if there is some unwritten rule they may unwittingly violate. I assure you, all of us in the industry appreciate your thoughtfulness. But we don’t want fear to cause you to miss an opportunity!

Over the past few conferences, one statement I heard often is:

“I was already turned down by someone else at your agency. I thought I couldn’t submit to anyone else there.”

My answer is, “Yes you can submit to someone else here.”

You can even submit the same proposal. All of us have different personalities, strengths, and interests. What appeals to one of us might not resonate with another.

I won’t be upset if an author who’s been turned down by Steve Laube, Dan Balow, or Bob Hostetler, approaches me. Note that recently an author who Steve turned down eight months earlier was signed by Dan…using a different book idea.

I would appreciate knowing who’s seen your work, though. Again, all of us have different tastes and what makes one of us want to sign you yesterday might make another one of us wonder what the excitement is all about.

I’ve been an agent for too long for me to be hurt when I’m not someone’s first choice. Of course, I love being an author’s dream agent, too!

I will offer a couple of tips in approaching us:

  • Research our brands before submitting. I’ve been an agent since 2001, when the term “brand” more or less meant whether you prefer Pepsi or Coke. Because of my tastes and specific success, I have become known for representing works of interest to Christian women, emphasizing romance in fiction and soft issues in nonfiction. However, I also represent books aimed primarily at men. Not sure if I’ll like a project? Try me!
  • Don’t submit to all of us at once. We don’t hold a weekly meeting where we say, “Here are the proposals all of us received. Let’s fight over who’ll represent these authors.” Rather, submitting to all of us causes confusion, more work for yourself and us, and is likely to cause your proposal to be ignored.
  • Don’t submit to two of us at once. Fewer agents, same issues as above.
  • Yet we’re a team. If you meet one of us at a conference and we think a project is an obvious fit for another person in our agency, we’ll let you know.

All of us here want you to be with the right agent. Whether you find a home with us or with another great agency, we pray that you will find that perfect fit.

Your turn:

Are you looking for an agent? What tips can you offer?

How did you find your agent?

Does your agent have a brand? How would you define that brand?

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How an Agent Reads

I’m seldom at a loss for words (though often at a loss for something of value to say), but the question took me aback for a moment. I was on an agents-and-editors panel at a writers’ conference within a few months of becoming an agent. I’d done this sort of …

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What Does Your Reader Need?

I attend many writers’ conferences, as an author, speaker, and agent. As a result, I meet and become friends with many fine people and outstanding writers. At a recent gathering, I enjoyed a spirited and stimulating conversation with an aspiring author who has a passion for reaching readers with the …

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Author Says / Agent Hears

Many aspiring authors communicate things they think are positive, or at least in the spirit of honesty and transparency, but end up being understood entirely different than the intended message. In an attempt to show commitment, an aspiring author says, “I’ve been working on this book for ten years.” An …

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Book Proposals: The Fiction Synopsis

Attention all novelists! Every fiction book proposal must include a synopsis. Everyone who teaches on the book proposal says you need one. But why? Those two to three single-spaced pages of agony will never be seen by anyone else but editors and agents, so why? Why, oh why, must a …

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Book Proposals: Due Date

There is an important question that needs to be answered in your book proposal in the “Manuscript Status” section. When will your manuscript be ready? This information is important whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction. When Will Your Book be Done? Fiction: If you are a first time novelist, …

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Real Reasons Some Books are Rejected

Most authors and aspiring authors are open to direction and crave constructive comments to help them advance their craft and career. Hopefully, you have had a chance to be part of a good critique group which provided assistance in a manner you found energizing and helpful. When a book is …

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Book Proposals: Word Count

There is an important question that needs to be answered in your book proposal in the “Manuscript Status” section. What is the length of your book? This information is important whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction. How Long is Your Book? Think carefully before you declare a word count …

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