Many agents will not accept unsolicited queries, proposals or manuscripts via postal mail and will discard them unopened. If your e-mail query stirs their interest, they may contact you to request a hard copy of your proposal or manuscript or to talk. Action Steps:
1. Be honest. Does the world need another book on your topic? Check bookstores and get in the know about what books exist. If you think that your book is better and brighter, then perhaps itís meant to be.
2. Donít let anyone talk you out of your dream. If you believe in your idea and it does not exist, then donít postpone success.
3. Search online. Search everywhere. Talk to bookstore owners; see whatís out there. Study your competition. Learn what other authors have done.
4. Research your bookís title. You might be surprised to find that your title already exists. Was it on your topic? The same title could be used for a book for kids and one about pets.
5. Create an outline. Outline your book and see if you are still glued to the project after you set up what your chapters are about, etc.
6. Write a Dear Reader letter. Try this assignment: write a letter to your reader and state what you plan to deliver in your book. Itís a promise to the reader. Youíll know after writing this letter and sharing it with others if thereís a burning passion in you to write this book. Then, keep your promise!
When trying to find an agent, you have every right to question and interview them. Unfortunately, most writers don't interview agents and simply sign with whoever agrees to represent them. While agents are qualifying you as a prospective client, qualify them as potential agents. When interviewing with an agent:
Keep a balance. Answer their questions, but also listen. Don't dominate the conversation and put all your focus on selling yourself. Agents will be looking for specific answers from you and if you don't let them ask them, they may decide not to represent you. After you respond to agents' inquiries, question them. Get answers and obtain information so that you can make the best possible decision.
Questions to Ask
The questions that you should ask prospective agents will vary project to project. However, the following basic questions are appropriate in most situations:
Do you specialize in a particular genre of books? What have you recently sold that you are most excited about? May I have a list of your current and past clients? May I contact your clients? May I have a list of the books you sold in the past year? What books that are similar to mine have you sold? How much should I expect my book to sell for to a publisher? Who will lead my account? What is his/her experience? How much time will he/she spend on my account? What is your plan for selling my book and How long do you expect it to take? What more can I do to increase my book's chances of selling? How much input will I have in my campaign? What are your advantages over other agencies? Do you have an author/agent agreement?
Attracting the interest of the right agent can be as mystifying and elusive as interesting the man or woman of your dreams. How to do it depends on many factors, including chemistry, timing, luck, and so many unknowns. Often, the agents who will intrigue you the most will also find you and your project interesting. Trust your instincts; often links or connections can be based on reasons that we can't identify or articulate, but we just feel that they exist. So if you find yourself liking or being drawn to a particular agent, trust your feelings.
An excerpt from Author 101: Bestselling Secrets From Top Agents
To write a nonfiction book, it's crucial to set achievable goals and create workable plans to achieve them. Unless you're into experimentation or just want to meander along for the ride, you need a road map; you need to know where you're going. You must be clear about your objective, what you want to achieve. So, the first step is to clarify your goals.
The best way to determine your actual goals is to ask yourself nonjudgmentally why you want to write a book. Be honest. Dig deep to find the actual reasons why you want to write your book, because they can influence the choices you make and the direction you chart. Do you have a point to make, a story to tell, or a feat to accomplish? Admit if you want fame, fortune, and recognition, but understand that they may be difficult to attain.
Before you begin to write, after you are clear on why you want to write, create a step-by-step plan. Think about the best way to get information and understand your topic, how you can find out what you should read and whom you should interview. Assess the competition, learn how you differ, and identify your niche.
Author 101: Bestselling Book Proposals The Insider's Guide to Selling Your Work by Rick Frishman and Robyn Freedman Spizman http://www.author101.com