Approaching and Securing an Agent (04:02)
Agents prefer to be approached in a professional manner. They need a cover letter, a few pages of the work, and biographical information from writers. Potential authors should first research agents.
Agents Elyse Cheney and Julie Barer (05:38)
Elyse Cheney and Julie Barer share the types of work they represent; for example, literary narrative, nonfiction, short story collections, and memoirs. Each prefers voice-driven fiction.
Agents BJ Robbins and Betsy Amster (07:53)
BJ Robbins and Betsy Amster share the types of work they represent. The work should be voice-driven and must resonant with the agent. Writers should find an agent who aligns with their ideas.
Process in an Agent's Office (03:47)
The process varies in each agent’s office. Robbins, Barer, Cheney, and Amster all have an assistant reader, especially for unsolicited material or the slush pile. Query letters tend to pile up.
Duties of an Agent (07:59)
Agents look for new writers and represent them to publishers and editors. They do some editing and help with some advertising. They do not do publicity or work with bookstores.
Types of Agents (06:18)
Writers need agents who are passionate about the work they choose to advocate, have good relationships with editors and publishers, and communicate often and appropriately with their authors.
Workload for Agents (02:46)
The number of clients and time allotted per client fluctuates with each agent, depending on where the writers are in the process. Agents must be able to multi-task.
Agents and Writers (04:13)
Aggressive agents will try all publishers possible to sell a manuscript. Fiction is subjective and the timing might be wrong for a specific topic. Agents work with writers, not books.
Fees and Unsolicited Manuscripts (04:57)
Agents usually charge only for copying fees. The panel warns that agents who charge for reading fees or upfront fees are probably scams. Each agent takes some projects from the slush pile.
Agents in the Publishing Industry (02:41)
Agents want to see completed works. An agent’s reputation highly affects the sale of a book to a publisher. The beauty of publishing is that the quality of the project is really valued.
Nonfiction Book Proposals (03:21)
Most agents prefer long proposals for nonfiction work and short proposals for narrative nonfiction. Proposals give agents a sense of the writer’s style and authority of the topic.
Duties of Editors and Publishers (03:05)
Publishing is a highly competitive and low-profit business. Michael Pietsch and Ann Close still edit but editing varies from house to house and within each house.
Agents and Editors (04:34)
Editors Joy Johannesson, Michael Pietsch, and Ann Close advise writers to use an agent. Some editors will only accept work solicited from an agent. Agents handle the rights of the writer.
Editors and Publishers: Selling a Book (03:49)
Editors act as a lobbyist for a manuscript. Editors should trust an author’s view of the work, especially in selling it. Publishers will not take a book and then not publicize it.
Editors Helping Authors (02:40)
Editors help authors think about their next book, especially for nonfiction work. Fiction is usually generated by the writer’s imagination. Editors help writers draw on what worked in the past.
Publicists and Author Photographers (04:46)
With the publishing industry growing, many writers hire outside publishers. Larger publishers may spend more on the author photo, tours, and publicity.
Publishers' Reputations (01:17)
Talking with fellow writers helps new writers find reputable publishers. The major houses have good reputations. “Publisher’s Weekly” is a good source for finding a publisher.
Publicity and Budgets for Publishing (08:41)
Type of book and timing influence the budget for a first-time novelist. Fiction, such as memoir and novels, requires creativity for sales, but nonfiction promotes itself based on the topic.
Publishing: The Business Side of the Industry (08:01)
Panel members share how long they work with writers, how they calculate advances for a book, how publishers compete with each other, and how technology has changed the business.
Short Story Collections (05:22)
Short story collections are published the same way as novels. The collection needs to make sense and have unity. Short story collections are harder to sell than novels.
Most large publishers will not publish work that was previously published by a smaller company. A paperback house might publish a previously-published hardback.
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