With the continued proliferation of electronic publishing, it has never been easier to publish a book. However, just getting a book published does not guarantee success for the author. A freelance publishing agent can help the author find the right publisher and audience for the book.
- Target the subjects you know. An old cliche for writers states “write what you know.” This is also true for freelance publishing agents. For example, if you love to read fantasy novels, don’t try to find non-fiction works about quantum physics. Your knowledge of your chosen subject can set you apart from other agents and help you gain talented clientele.
- Find under-served or niche markets. One way to increase your odds of success is to identify an under-served market that could use your services. Thousands of authors of cookbooks compete for space, while only a handful of skilled, entertaining authors are writing about bio-mathematics.
- Network and attend trade shows. You can begin by searching for any local writers’ group or literary festivals. In addition to keeping you up to date on trends in the publishing world, attending literary conferences and festivals provides you the opportunity to meet authors, editors and publishers. If you have decided to concentrate on a niche market, numerous conferences on specific topics and document comparison forums are available as well. Gather as many business cards as possible while in attendance, then build a database with all of the contacts you make in the literary world.
- Practice pitching. The pitch is the most important aspect of finding a publisher for your title. A good pitch should be brief and touch on all of the important aspects of the work. In most cases, agents use loglines to generate interest in the work of clients. A logline is a single sentence that conveys the heart of the story. Loglines differ depending upon the genre of the book being pitched. For example, a fiction logline should include the protagonist, the core conflict, the setting and any factors that set your work apart from others in the genre. A nonfiction logline should include the genre, the key problem addressed, the solution(s), and any differentiating factors. By practising writing and delivering loglines, you should feel confident and comfortable when you gain an audience with a publisher.
- Find and catalog major publishing companies that accept unsolicited work. Numerous publishers will not accept any unsolicited work so it is critical to the success of your freelancing career to find those that do. Search the Internet for publishers that accept unsolicited titles. When you have a title that might be a good fit for a publisher, send a letter of introduction along with a logline of the piece. Save all correspondence with publishers so that you can reference both the contact and conversations later.
- Represent quality not quantity. Log each successful book pitch made to publishers along with each book’s sales records. This information helps you in the eyes of both publishers and authors. Publishers want to see that you have the ability to identify titles that sell, while authors, your potential clients, want to see to you can place successful books with good publishers. It is easier to find a publisher for one good work than splitting your time and resources trying to find a publisher for 10 mediocre titles.
- Market your services. Build a website that states what types of authors and topics with whom you like to work. The website should also allow potential clients to submit works to you. Also, use social media to network with as many literary contacts as possible. Finally, always carry business cards with all of your contact information to give to potential clients and publishers.