The Complete Guide to Hiring a Literary Agent: Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply

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Overview

There are thousands of literary agents currently working in the publishing industry, and yet potential authors with manuscripts still outnumber those agents by almost twenty to one. The truth is that there are millions of people out there who feel they have the next great best seller and for every fresh new novel, there are only a handful of possible people who will read, review, and pass along the novel to a publishing house on your behalf. Finding those select few individuals and convincing them that your work ...

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Overview

There are thousands of literary agents currently working in the publishing industry, and yet potential authors with manuscripts still outnumber those agents by almost twenty to one. The truth is that there are millions of people out there who feel they have the next great best seller and for every fresh new novel, there are only a handful of possible people who will read, review, and pass along the novel to a publishing house on your behalf. Finding those select few individuals and convincing them that your work is worthy of their time is the hardest part of getting your book published but if you can find and hire the right literary agent, you will be well on your way to getting your name in print and achieving literary stardom.

This book will guide you through the process of contacting a literary agent and convincing them that you are in fact the next great bestseller. From formatting a query letter to ensuring your manuscript looks presentable, every step of the process from inception to execution will be laid out in vivid detail for you. You will start by learning exactly what is expected of you by the literary field. You will learn how to research literary agents and what to look for in the right agent. You will learn how to identify genre and subset and how to understand what sells and what doesn't. With this in mind, you will be able to start the process of writing query letters, a complete process that is outlined from the first step to the signature line. You will learn what you must include in every successful manuscript and how to avoid ending up in a slush pile where your manuscript will not be read.

Both published writers who have successfully found and acquired an agent and literary agents who are inundated with manuscripts and requests in the thousands every year, have been interviewed for this book and have provided their personal stories, tips, and tricks as to how you can get into the publishing industry through an agent. You will be given a list of the top agencies in the nation with their genres of choice and represented clients as well as submission guidelines and will learn how to successfully stagger submissions at the right time of the year, month, and even week to be seen first and foremost. Finally, once you have found your literary agent, you will learn how to read contracts, accept offers, and understand what details will be handled exclusively by your agent. This book is for every prospective author who has sought to have their manuscript transformed into a printed book.

Atlantic Publishing is a small, independent publishing company based in Ocala, Florida. Founded over twenty years ago in the company president’s garage, Atlantic Publishing has grown to become a renowned resource for non-fiction books. Today, over 450 titles are in print covering subjects such as small business, healthy living, management, finance, careers, and real estate. Atlantic Publishing prides itself on producing award winning, high-quality manuals that give readers up-to-date, pertinent information, real-world examples, and case studies with expert advice.  Every book has resources, contact information, and web sites of the products or companies discussed.

This Atlantic Publishing eBook was professionally written, edited, fact checked, proofed and designed. The print version of this book is 288 pages and you receive exactly the same content. Over the years our books have won dozens of book awards for content, cover design and interior design including the prestigious Benjamin Franklin award for excellence in publishing. We are proud of the high quality of our books and hope you will enjoy this eBook version.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781601384034
  • Publisher: Atlantic Publishing Group Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/1/2010
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,395,513
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword 9

Introduction 11

Section I Preparing to Acquire a Literary Agent 13

Chapter 1 Why you Need an Agent 15

What Literary Agents Do 15

The Publishing Industry 16

The Benefits of a Literary Agent 20

How To Know When You Are Ready for an Agent 23

Chapter 2 Understanding the Market 27

What Agents Look for 27

Publising Trends and Seasons 30

Understanding Your Genre 33

Chapter 3 Establishing your Author Platform and Building Credentials 45

Establishing a Platform 46

Building Credentials 50

Chapter 4 Finding and Selecting an Agent 53

How to Find Agents 53

Researching Agents 62

Creating an Agent File 65

Section 2 Submitting the Pitch 67

Chapter 5 The Pitch Package 69

Understanding the Elements of the Pitch Package 70

Approaching Agents 71

The Submission Process 72

Getting to "Yes" 77

Chapter 6 Crafting the Query Letter 81

Components of the Query Letter 81

Query Formatting Rules 84

12 Tips for Writing an Effective Nonfiction Query Letter 85

Eight Tips For Creating An Effective Fiction Query Letter 89

Do's and Don'ts of Query Letter Writing 90

Chapter 7 Creating the Book Proposal 95

The Purpose of a Book Proposal 95

The Components Of A Book Proposal 96

Formatting and Packaging Your Book Proposal 104

The Top Ten Reasons Book Proposals Are Rejected 106

Chapter 8 Writing the Synopsis 109

What An Agent Looks For In A Synopsis 109

How To Write an Effective Synopsis 110

Formatting the Synopsis 113

Chapter 9 Preparing and Polishing the Manuscript 117

Editing and Proofreading 117

Writing Critique Groups and Beta Readers 119

Story Checklists 120

The Top Five Reasons a Manuscript is Rejected 122

Formatting Your Manuscript 122

Section 3 Hiring A Literary Agent 129

Chapter 10 Waiting for A Response 131

Use Your Time Wisely 131

When to Follow Up 133

Learning From Rejection 134

Tips For Submitting Additional Requested Material 136

Chapter 11 Evaluating an Agent's Offer 141

Questions to Ask the Agent You May Hire 141

Avoiding Scams and Assuring Credibility 147

The Author-Agent Agreement 149

Chapter 12 Getting the Book Deal 155

Selling the Book 155

The Publishing Contract 159

Maintaining a Successful Working Relationship with Your Agent 163

When To Consider Ending The Author-Agent Partnership 166

Appendix I Literary Agents Looking for New Writers 173

Appendix II National Writer's Organizations 183

Appendix III National Writer's Conferences 185

Appendix IV Genre Definitions 187

Appendix V The Six Large Publishing Houses and Their Imprints 195

Appendix VI Glossary of Terms 201

Appendix VII Successful Query Letters and Synopses 205

Successful Query Letter: Narrative Nonfiction 205

Successful Query Letter: Memoir 207

Successful Query Letter: Nonfiction Anthology 208

Successful Query Letter: How-To (Practical) Nonfiction 210

Successful Query Letter: Urban Fantasy 212

Successful Query Letter: Cozy Mystery 213

Successful Query Letter: Christian Literary Fiction 214

Successful Query Letter: Historical Children's Fiction 215

Successful Query Letter: Humorous Paranormal 216

Successful Query Letter: Erotic Romance 217

Successful Synopsis: Modern Romance Novel 218

Successful Synopsis: Chick-Lit Novel 226

Successful Synopsis: Mystery Novel 232

Successful Synopsis: Young Adult Novel 237

Appendix VIII Sample Formatted Manuscript Pages 241

Title Page 241

Table of Contents Page 242

First Page of Chapter Format 243

Formatting for Subsequent Chapter Pages 244

Appendix IX Successful Book Proposal 245

Appendix X Sample Author/Agent Contract 267

Appendix XI Sample Revised Pages 279

Original Draft 279

Revised Draft 280

Bibliography 283

Author Biography 284

Index 285

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 16, 2012

    There are close to 200,000 books published every year in the Uni

    There are close to 200,000 books published every year in the United
    States. Therefore, having someone in your corner can be advantageous. I
    highly recommend new authors with their first manuscript to read this
    book. The Complete Guide to Hiring a Literary Agent: Everything You
    Need to Know to Become Successfully Published by Laura Cross will teach
    you the ends and outs of getting a literary agent. One of the unique
    sections in this book is the glossary of terms which will help with the
    understanding of things in the literary world. Also, the query letter
    section and the book proposal section of this book are wonderful
    sections that authors at any level can utilize as a reference material.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 8, 2012

    For many writers completing a manuscript is only half of the bat

    For many writers completing a manuscript is only half of the battle, the other half entails finding the right literary agent to market your book so that you have a better chance of seeing your book in print. Author Laura Cross takes the guess work and some of the frustration out of the often times intimidating process of publishing in her book The Complete Guide to Hiring a Literary Agent. She discusses the value of having a literary agent, the process of making the pitch, how to format the query letter and even provides a list of agents looking for new writers. She also provides readers with sample book proposals, query letters, author-agent contracts, and formatted manuscript pages to give writers a better understanding of the components necessary to successfully hire the right literary agent. As an added bonus there are some very insightful case studies with expert advice from other writers and literary agents that inform, encourage, and inspire writers as they move through this process.

    As a writer hoping to publish my own book one day, I feel much more prepared for the research and work that is involved now that I have read The Complete Guide to Hiring a Literary Agent. While some readers may prefer using this book as a resource as opposed to reading it from cover to cover, it is a very valuable tool to have if you are looking to write, market and publish your own manuscript.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 5, 2012

    The Complete Guide to Hiring a Literary Agent is a great way to

    The Complete Guide to Hiring a Literary Agent is a great way to help upcoming/established writers find the best way to get a Literary Agent. It goes into great depth of how this process can be completed. Most guides usually give a few simple basics to finding a Literary Agent. This book gives readers evidence from published authors and from Literary Agents of how to: write a query, synopsis, proposal, pitch, and the best way to select an agent.
    Not only does it give the best ways of selecting an agent, it also gives up to date information on publishing houses and what agents are looking for. This book is a great option for any writer who wants to find the correct way of getting published. This book is definitely a plus for any writer’s bookshelf.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 30, 2012

    The Complete Guide to Hiring a Literary Agent was right on time

    The Complete Guide to Hiring a Literary Agent was right on time for me. As an author trying to find the right path for my book, this made my options a lot clearer. Everything from finding an agent, submitting a pitch and creating a proposal was spelled out in a clear way that anyone can understand. And the case studies from established authors added an element of trust.
    The appendices at the back of the book are great. They provide contact information for agents, organizations, publishing houses, etc. There is also an array of sample query letters and synopsis for any book genre.
    The success stories in the book will inspire any author and give them hope. I’m ready to get started!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 26, 2012

    Read This If You're Trying To Land An Agent

    Getting your book published is a tough job and an agent can help make it easier. Landing an agent is like climbing a huge mountain itself though and you can consider The Complete Guide to Hiring A Literary Agent as a sherpa. Laura Cross' book helps you from the very beginning of the process - from deciding what genre you want to write to finding an agent that specializes in that genre. After that, it tells you how to build up your profile so that you will be palatable to an agent and then it shows you how to research where to contact these agents. Once you've found a group of agents who fit your criteria, the book tells you how to write query letters that will get these agent's attention and not land your letter in the bottom of the agent's trash bin.Sprinkled throughout the book are case studies from authors who tell how they landed their own particular agent. Other important chapters in the book are how to write book proposals, synopses of your book, how to prepare your manuscript, evaluating an agent's deal and other things. The appendix includes examples of agents looking for writers, organizations and successful query letters and proposals. Cross writes in a way that is easy to read and the book, minus the appendices, is 171 pages - all worthwhile reading.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 25, 2012

    If there's anything more daunting than writing a book it is the

    If there's anything more daunting than writing a book it is the process of trying to get it published. The Complete Guide to Hiring a Literary Agent: Everything You Need to Know to Become Successfully Published is a fast-paced, well-written primer, showcasing how to obtain and then successfully maintain a productive, prosperous relationship with a quality literary agent. Author Laura Cross lays it on the line: major publishers won't look at manuscripts unless they are submitted by an agent. She helps authors navigate the numerous hoops they must go through to traverse from unpublished to published, starting with the basics. Yes, proper manuscript content and format are vital! So is sending out amazing query letters and a fabulous synopsis in order to find and hook the agent most suited for their specific needs. Examples of all these steps are aplenty in this book. Take heed of these nuggets of wisdom. Study them! If you are serious about being an author and making the most of your talents as a writer, this book is for you.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 21, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The complete guide to Hiring a Literary Agent Everything you n


    The complete guide to Hiring a Literary Agent

    Everything you need to know to become successfully published

    By Laura Cross

    978-1-60138-403-4

    Are you new to the publishing world? Have you thought of a literary agent to represent you and your manuscript? The complete guide to Hiring a Literary Agent is just what you are looking for. It is not easy to enter the publishing world , especially the big name publishing houses.Most companies do not allow unsoliciated manuscripts from new authors. Getting someone to represent you and your work is not as easy as it sounds.

    This book guides you through the process of editing and sending the queries to the right agencies. Make sure to research the agencies so you know if what you have written will fit their genre they represent. You will learn to write a submission query that the agents will notice. You will learn about the legalitys and how to go about accepting offers.

    This is a great addition for beginners and professionals. After reading this book you will know exactly what you need to do and not to do. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 4, 2011

    Hindsight is twenty twenty for many authors!

    A fantastic guide. A journey into how to find and select your literary agent. I learned that I really needed one on my first book. Cross spells out why you need one and how the publishing industry works. With so many self published books today, you will know how to find someone in your genre to help you make your book a success. She discusses the benefits of, and the caveats, as well. This book is well written and laid out very well. Her sections on how to create your pitch are invaluable. She teaches you how to submit your package, how to approach agents and how the process works.really! Your query letter is an important step in the process and she teaches you how to write the letter that will get you a "yes" response. The appendix includes several successful letters and synopses. The book proposal has to be composed, formatted and packaged with the right components or your efforts will be lost. This book will save you time, and agony. It will propel you into making your book a success from the get go. Chapter 7 outlines the top ten reasons why book proposals are rejected. Isn't this something you want to know before you start writing? She explains the relevancy of what sample chapters you should send and how to differentiate you book form others. Do you know your market? You should before you start your writing journey. Cross very cleverly gives you several "case studies" of how other authors selected their agents. These are fun, very informative and will help you pose questions for your own marketing. Her case studies cover a variety of genres, and situations for your information. Further, she helps you define how to hire your literary agent and evaluate offers. How to avoid scams in the industry will protect you from your beginning. She includes a great outline of what to look for in the author- agent agreement. She devotes an equal amount of time helping you sell your book, outlining very important steps including time frames and stages of the selling process. What do sample manuscripts look like? A lot of love and time was spent on building informative and helpful appendices including a glossary of terms and genre definitions, National Writer's organizations, conferences, etc. Writing is truly a craft and you will improve your skills with this book. This is a keeper!! Well worth it. I received a complimentary copy from Reviewthebook Team.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great Books For Writers!

    Do you have a manuscript/novel written and you can't find a publisher? Have you thought about getting a literary agent to represent your work? The Complete Guide to Hiring a Literary Agent: Everything You Need to Know to Become Successfully Published is the right book for you.

    With close to 200,000 new books coming out every year, it is hard to get published by a big name publishing houses. Most don't even allow unsolicited manuscripts from new authors. The best chance that you have in getting into the houses is to hire a literary agent. Getting an agent may sound easy, but it can be a lot harder than you think.

    The book guides you into the process of editing your book and sending your queries to a qualified agency. Make sure you find the right agent that accepts the genre that you are writing in. You will learn how to write an incredible submission that any literary agent will notice. You'll learn about contracts and how to go about accepting offers.

    This is a great guide book for professional and beginning writers. The book explains all the ups and downs in hiring an agent, but there is so much more in it. There are great articles by other writers and editors, who give great tips. You'll learn how to use blogs, and social networks to gain a clan of readers. The Complete Guide to Hiring a Literary Agent also has an index of the six largest publishing houses and their imprints, glossary of terms, and samples of successful Query Letters and Synopses. After reading this novel, you'll be ready to hire an agent. I recommend checking this book out.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 19, 2011

    A must-have if looking for an agent

    Being in the publishing industry and often coaching authors I was intrigued with the subtitle of this book. Agents come a-dime-a-dozen and it is known in the industry that they aren't overly friendly or willing to consider new writers. As well, rumor has it that many aren't successful in landing a contract with large publishing companies. So, given all that I wanted to know what Laura Cross was going to tell me that I didn't know already.

    She didn't but that doesn't mean the book isn't worth buying. I believe it is and encourage any writer that is considering contacting an agent to read this book first. Cross writes to the point, gives concise information, and lets you in some trade secrets which are often worth their weight in gold.

    I believe the best part of the book are the samples of query letters for various genres, synopsis and proposal. Each gives an indication of what needs to be said to spark an interest within the agent. The other gem of the book is a list of literary agents looking for new writers.
    In fact, this whole book is a gem. It's one of the best I've seen and highly recommend it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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