Why I Represent the Author: Agent Edition

My reasons for representing an author may differ from why I read a certain book.

  1. Content: When I see something fresh and different, but not so far out that no one can relate, an author has my attention.
  2. Talent: Although my office must decline talented authors every day, writing talent will get authors a close look.
  3. Proposal: A professional proposal shows me the author has taken the time to learn how to write a proposal and cares enough to include one with the project. The proposal doesn’t have to be perfect, whatever that means. The proposal needs to present the author and book in the best possible light.
  4. Social Media Presence: A professional online presence is a plus. Strive for a mix of writing and personal tidbits online. Be sure to have appealing headshots. No one cares who takes the pictures or where, as long as they offer the type of image the author wants to convey to readers.
  5. Platform: An author who is well-known will get my attention. While this aspect may frustrate authors today, a well-known author who is already popular always has been and always will be easier to sell to editors and readers than a debut author. However, every author starts as a debut author! I give debut authors thoughtful attention.
  6. Market: I’m more likely to offer representation when I know editors who can give your book serious consideration. You may have written the world’s best horror novel, but I don’t have those editorial contacts. Knowing which agents specialize in the type of project you are pitching saves you time and effort in your agent search.

11 Responses to Why I Represent the Author: Agent Edition

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser October 14, 2021 at 4:50 am #

    You’ll see that I’m a natural
    for you to represent
    and it’s all quite factual,
    my Zombietown content,
    written less with talent
    than with edgy nerve,
    but rules are made to circumvent,
    and I’ll send you now (with verve!)
    a proposal writ in longhand
    upon a paper bag
    (and it’s unfair, you understand,
    that all my tweets get flagged!),
    but my platform won’t give you the blues;
    it’s kicky make-me-taller shoes.

  2. Kim Vogel Sawyer October 14, 2021 at 5:37 am #

    Forever grateful you chose to represent me! 🙂

  3. Lisa Phillips October 14, 2021 at 6:41 am #

    I do love your courage to represent debut authors and not only that, but you read each proposal even if not perfect. That takes some time!

  4. Kristen Joy Wilks October 14, 2021 at 1:36 pm #

    Thanks for this great list and a look behind the curtain! Now, to work on becoming brilliant, ha!

  5. Dennis Oberholtzer October 14, 2021 at 5:45 pm #

    I get your message. It has taken about a year to figure out what must be done. It will take another year to do it. Blessings

  6. Linda Riggs Mayfield October 14, 2021 at 8:30 pm #

    Tamela, I join Lisa in appreciating your willingness to consider proposals from debut authors, and I’ll always value the praise and encouragement you so generously gave, even when I didn’t quite meet the qualifications for the Romance genre. The romance in my books is more like that in Carrie Stuart Parks’s mysteries: a factor that impacts the main plot instead of being the main plot. I’m definitely one of those “frustrated” authors you mentioned in #5 who is still working on my #4 social media presence and #5 platform (with Thomas Umstattd in the Obscure No More beta group), and constantly kicking myself for not seriously going after publication of my dozen books a few years ago before #4 and #5 were necessary. ;-D

  7. Megan DiMaria October 17, 2021 at 10:26 am #

    God bless you, Tamela! Thanks for all you do!

  8. Helen Foster October 29, 2021 at 3:46 am #

    God favor you, Tamela! Much obliged for everything you do!

  9. Mary Ann White White November 17, 2021 at 9:51 am #

    I appreciate your policy of accepting only “clean reads.” I take that to mean no profanity or swearing.
    In my novel “Beauty For Ashes” are some words which I would consider “borderline,” because, while crude sounding, they words God uses in the Bible, such as “whore” and “bastard, but I do not consider them to be overdone but used only when necessary.” This and other ungodly issues are dealt with in a godly manner, but if objectionable in this context, I can make appropriate changes. Please let me know before I submit.

    • Tamela Hancock Murray November 17, 2021 at 10:02 am #

      Thanks for asking! Contemporary Christian literature can certainly take on tough topics that necessitate the mention of indelicate subjects, and in fact, delving into the sin and depravity these habits and incidents cause in people’s lives is also part of sharing the Gospel. So, yes, I’m fine with Christians addressing tough topics in a story. The writers I work with all know the difference between necessary vs. prurient.

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