Once You Know What Literary Agents Want, It's Easy To Land One

By Scott Lorenz
Westwind Communications

As a book publicist, I am frequently asked by my author clients about how to find a literary agent. While I know several agents and work with agents and their publishers, it’s not really what I do as my focus is publicity.

But, from time to time, I find someone who can really help out my clients and I’ve found that person.

His name is Jeff Rivera.

Rivera is a highly-respected book publishing professional who interviews high profile power players such as Janet Evanovich, Jeff Kinney, Seth Godwin, Philippa Gregory and James Patterson for numerous publications. Rivera has assisted more than 100 aspiring writers in taking that first step of crafting the right query letter and has a 100 percent track record of getting top agents to request their manuscript.

Rivera points out there's a difference between writing a book and writing a compelling pitch letter and that difference must begin first with a shift in the author’s mindset. “Once you know what literary agents want, it's rather easy to land an agent,” says Rivera. Here are some examples of legitimate platforms suggested by Rivera that will have literary agents licking their chops:

  • An opt-in mailing list of people who read your information regularly.
  • If you are regularly on television
  • If you have a web series with at least 10,000 views each episode
  • If you are a public speaker
  • If you are a journalist with a column of loyal readers
  • If you have a regular radio, podcast or internet radio show with a significant audience
  • If you've self-published a number of books before and sold at least 5000 copies of each
  • If you have a website with thousands of unique visitors each day
  • If you're the president of a large association or charity
  • If you're a celebrity already in another industry
  • If you have thousands of followers on Twitter

Rivera has told me stories about authors who ruin their chances of ever getting an agent by self-sabotaging their own success. An example is a client who had a wonderful storyline but needed to hire an editor to professionally edit his book so the manuscript would be as ready as possible to show an agent. Rivera recommended hiring an editor but the client refused. “It was a serious mistake,” says Rivera. “His manuscript had tremendous potential but it needed more than a band-aid, it needed double-bypass surgery.”

I agree fully with Jeff’s point. Authors must remember to listen closely when talking to people who deal with agents to make a living, who engage with publishing professionals daily. They know what they're talking about. Do that, and you'll be one step closer to landing an agent.

In dealing with the media as a book marketing specialist, I fully understand that first impressions are important. The same is true when dealing with a book agent who receives dozens of query letters and piles of books to add to the slush pile every day. You must first catch their attention and not give them any reason to delete your email or toss your book.

The bottom line: Why reinvent the wheel? Sign up with an “agent’s agent” like Jeff Rivera by dropping him a note at query@gumbowriters.com and then listen to his advice. Otherwise don’t pay professionals for advice, save your money, and hand out your surplus books as gifts to friends and family…ok that’s a little harsh…but I am trying to get your attention.

About Scott Lorenz
Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that specializes in book marketing and author publicity. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC Nightly News, The New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Family Circle, Woman's World, & Howard Stern to name a few. To discuss how Westwind Communications helps authors get all the publicity they deserve and more call 734-667-2090 or email scottlorenz@westwindcos.com. For more information visit www.Book-Marketing-Expert.com

Jeff RiveraAbout Jeff Rivera
Jeff Rivera and his work have been featured by National Public Radio (NPR),Los Angeles Times, Fast Company, New York Observer, The Boston Globe, Publishers Weekly, Mediabistro, Huffington Post, SethGodin.com, Forbes.com, Billboard.com, TMZ and many other outlets. Rivera interviews high profile power players such as Janet Evanovich, Jeff Kinney, Seth Godwin, Philippa Gregory and James Patters for Mediabistro's “Galley Cat.” Contact Jeff at: query@gumbowriters.com


   Phone: (734) 667-2098 scottlorenz@westwindcos.com Fax: (734) 455-7090   
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