Thinking on taking the traditional publishing route? You’ll probably need an agent. Let me say this first…you do not always need an agent however, if you are planning on submitting to the publishing house giants such as Bantam, Penguin, etc., then you will need one. In fact, most of the large publishing houses will only accept submissions from agents.
That being said, how do you pick the right literary agent? Jeremie Kubicek (jeremiekubicek.com) shares how:
Choosing an agent to represent you in your publishing strategy can be overwhelming. Barnes and Noble and Amazon will sell you reference books with list after list of agents. The process can feel like job hunting if you are not careful.
Based on that I want to share with you how I chose my agent forLeadership is Dead and why I did. If you are writing a book this post could save you hours of headaches and provide clarity for your publishing plans.
1. Get your act together – organize your thoughts, clarify what you want before you talk to an agent. You won’t get much time to tell someone who you are, what you want and how you plan to change the world. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
2. Make a list of things you want in an agent. Most of you may not know, so let me share what I wanted.
a. My agent needed to get me and believe in me.
b. I wanted an aggressive team who could open many doors.
c. An agent needed to play in the world I am most comfortable in – business and leadership.
d. Noted success helps. Who they have worked for before gives me confidence.
e. Marketing is key. I needed someone who was adept in promotion, publicity and marketing because that is not the core strength of most publishers.
f. Available. While I am not high maintenance, I definitely needed some one to help me through the first time author process.
3. Ask other authors who they work with. There is nothing better than a reference. To cold call is to waste time. Find a credible author and ask them or find out who they use.
4. Interview face-to-face. Invest in a flight to meet with them and interview them as much as they interview you.
5. Ask them to walk you through the entire process. One, you will learn. Two, you will hear their philosophy. If there is no connection, move on. Hopefully a few phone calls before this meeting will sniff out any issues.
6. Have the right expectations. Realize that agents make money on advances and royalties. While the good agents will serve the whole process, their main focus is on the right author with the right content and distribution at the right time. Always remember how agents are motivated.
I called 4 agents or agent groups. Three of them were referred to me and one approached me. I eliminated one group because they were too closely aligned with other partners. I needed space and fresh ideas. Another agent was eliminated because they were too slick for me. The last two were hard for me because I really liked both of them. I felt one of them was better at the publishing process and the other better with marketing.
Based on all of this I chose to go with Dupree Miller and Shannon Marven as the lead agent. She is amazing. We have a close relationship and I try to help them as much as they help me. I was introduced to her through a business partner, Dr. Henry Cloud, who had great things to say. Their track record was strong, but more than that I felt they knew my market best out of any and specifically Shannon knows who I am and believes in my mission.
There are many other outstanding literary agents. While I didn’t choose them I would recommend Chip Shuneman, the former publisher of Time Life books, and Chris Ferebee of Yates and Yates. While I have never worked with Robert Wolgemuth I have heard great things about him as well.
I hope this gives you a bit more insight and helps you in your pursuit. Good luck and happy writing!
Just another blog post by Mr. Guru (aka Evin Wilkins at: http://www.mrgurupublishing.com)