Book Proposals

Sending Your Submission to an Agent

Submitting your work to an agent can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. A few simple steps will help you gain confidence, regardless of your method.

Unsolicited submission

This is when you are querying several agents and you have no connection other than seeing them on a list. I really don’t recommend the cold call submission, because it’s not likely you’ll find exactly the right agent for yourself just by choosing names from a list.

But if you do, it’s fine to ask for acknowledgement that the agent received your work after waiting until the agent’s posted and estimated response time has expired. That way, at least you know that it wasn’t lost and is still in the review process by the agent.

Submission based on some familiarity

Not every writer can go to a conference, but you can still establish some connection by following the agent’s blog, liking the agent’s business page on Facebook, and following the agent on Twitter and/or other social media. Be a friendly presence by commenting on blog posts and sharing the agent’s posts from Facebook, and retweeting Twitter comments. If you are uncomfortable following the agent on all social media, I recommend being a faithful blog follower and commenting when it makes sense to do so. This way, you will have some name recognition with the agent when you submit. An added benefit is that you’ll get to know the agent, too.

Requested submission after conference meeting

When the agent has asked to see your work, congratulations! Be sure to label your submission as requested and in your cover letter, remind the agent where you met. You can even refer to any special connection you may have made, such as a mutual interest in vintage jewelry.

When you do get the nod

Again, congratulations! I hope the nod is from your first choice agent. Regardless, if you have submitted to more than one agent, let the others know before you sign. No one wants to spend time on a submission, only to find it’s no longer available.

Happy submitting!

Your turn:

Are you in the process of submitting to agents? What has been your experience?

What advice can you share with authors who are submitting to agents?

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The Grand Canyon is a Market Reality

Some Christian authors desire to one day write books for general market publishers rather than for those who focus only on Christian-themed books. The thought, which is well-intentioned, is publishers focusing on the broader market will reach unbelieving readers, piquing their interest in spiritual things, leading to further investigation and …

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Still Wanted: Writing that Sings! (What Karen Ball is Looking For)

Anyone who has jumped into the waters of agenting knows they’ll be asked one question, over and over and over:  “What are you looking for?” Well, now that I’ve got a couple of years of this amazing work under my belt, let me build on what I said when I started. Back then, I said I was looking, first and foremost, for books that glorify God, then for writing that sings, that speaks to the heart and spirit, that uplifts and challenges. Well, that’s all the same! But there are a few clarifications I want to make.  First, here’s the not so good news:

What I’m Not Looking For

Children’s & Middle Grade Books: As much as I enjoy reading these books (that’s one of the only perks to never having had children—I get all the kid’s books!), I am not representing them. It’s not that I don’t see the need. It’s simply that I’m not experienced with these kinds of books. My work lo, these many years in publishing, has been with adult books. Now, I have worked with Young Adult fiction and nonfiction, but I already have some great clients in that category and am not, at present, looking for more.

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Bring the Books (What Steve Laube is Looking For)

“Bring the books, especially the parchments,” is a sentence in 2 Timothy 4:13 that has teased readers for 2,000 years. What books did the Apostle Paul want to read while waiting for trial? Theology? History? How-to? (Maybe a little escape reading? Pun intended.)

Another writer chimed in a while ago by saying “Of making many books there is no end.” (Ecclesiastes 12:12) And if we read the statistics he wasn’t kidding. 300,000+ published in the United States alone last year.

And yet there is an allure to the stories of great novelists and a fascination in the brilliance of deep thinkers. It is what drew me to the book industry in the first place having been a lifelong reader and a burgeoning collector of my own library.

I can safely say that the allure and fascination remains unabated. I’ve had and continue to have the honor and privilege of working with some of the finest minds and talented writers in our industry. The photo above is from my office showing every book represented by our agency. Hundreds of amazing books by amazing authors.

Meanwhile I am still searching for the next great story, the next great concept, the next great writer. So, to answer the question, “What are you looking for?” I will attempt to clarify a few things.

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What I am Looking For (Dan Balow)

(Updated 1/2/2016) Every now and then it is good for an agent to update what they are looking for in proposals from authors we consider representing. Since my primary editor connections are with publishers of Christian-themed books, I need to start there, but can expand to the general market in …

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Selecting the Right Comp Titles

Whenever you write a proposal for an agent or editor, you are asked to include a section of previously published books that are similar in theme or style to yours. In the guidelines section for proposals submission on our website (link provided below), we say it this way: “A listing …

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Yippee Kay Yay Publishing

There are so many metaphors we can use to describe what goes on in book publishing. Baseball, medicine, astronomy, physics, factory assembly lines, beavers gnawing on trees, hamsters on treadmills and many more each contain appropriate examples of various aspects of writing and publishing a book. I believe one of …

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Four Questions Your Fiction Proposal Should Answer

Last week we dealt with four questions a non-fiction proposal must answer. As promised we now turn to those who are putting together a novel proposal. If you compare these two posts you’ll see why a one-size-fits-all proposal template isn’t always helpful. There are differences between the two types of proposals. …

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4 Questions a Non-Fiction Proposal Must Answer

All novelists will have to wait until next week’s blog which will address fiction proposals. Today’s topic is non-fiction. What is the Big Idea? Trying to find something unique and never before addressed in book form is nearly impossible. But each proposal needs to be clear what the book is …

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