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Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Agents can't be arsed to take on new authors.

 Relaxing By The Fire   
Think of an agent’s office as a library full of coverless books which the agent has to go through day in, day out, week after week. Which one will they pick out to read? Not the grubby, hand-written one that’s for sure. What about the ms with each chapter individually stapled? Or the neatly presented ms with the professional looking cover letter? Hang on, there's another beautifully presented ms and another... in fact there are quite a few very nice looking ms, which one should the agent pick out?
How would you determined if the coverless, unknown, writer is any good?

Say the agent chooses your ms, remember yours is probably the twentieth vampire/chicklit/historical she has read that morning – and it’s only 9.30 a.m!

She starts to read this unknown author with the coverless book. The cover letter is professional, the synopsis has potential. She begins to read the first chapter. Her phone rings. She answers, and becomes engrossed with the telephone conversation. Phone call ends, and she hangs up. Will she remember your excellent first line? Has it stayed in her head?

If not, she'll reach for the next ms with a sigh, read the usual blah, blah cover letter and the synopsis, she’s thinking, oh, another vampire/chicklit/historical, yawns and calls for a coffee with extra caffeine.
Unfortunately, there are more unmemorable ms laying on the slush pile than memorable ones. And regardless of the excellence of your book it’s labelled as thus already I'm afraid.

The agent doesn't want to take you on. She can't be arsed. You have to make her want to be arsed.

Why should she take on you as a writer? What's so special about you? Make her excited.

Your ms needs to be more than just good an beautifully presented.

Keep all this in mind before sending out proposals.

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