“Do I need an agent?”

“I’ve contacted literary agencies but I’m getting nowhere.”

“How do I know if I’m being offered a fair deal?”

“Is it worth going direct to a publisher?”

“If I self-publish, will it put publishers off working with me in future?”

You may have lots of questions. You may not even know what questions to ask.

How we can help

We will help you make sense of the publishing industry so that you won’t feel like you’ve stepped on to an alien planet without a guidebook.

With our guidance, you won’t find yourself choosing avenues that are unproductive or unnecessarily expensive, or wasting time knocking on closed doors.

We will assess whether your manuscript, proposal, pitch letter and synopsis are ready to go. If they are, we will steer you to the publisher or agent most likely to be receptive to it.

If your book is strong and marketable we will do everything we can to help it bypass the slushpile.

If your book needs more work we will give you pointers as to how you can improve it. We are always happy to critique and coach.

Tips for your query letter and proposal

If you think you’ve reached the stage where your work is ready to show agents or publishers we can help you with your proposal.

You may not have written your book yet. It’s perfectly usual for a publisher or agent to take on a non-fiction author with a salesworthy, original idea and a cracking proposal.

Things to bear in mind:

  • This is a showcase of your writing talent
  • The letter and proposal will demonstrate your unique style, grasp of grammar, original thinking, and knowledge of the marketplace
  • You are a potential business partner. An agent or publisher will appreciate a professional attitude and a business-like pitch
  • You need to put across the ‘unique selling points’ of your book
  • If you haven’t come up with a strong, genre-suitable title, strapline, or subtitle, do so before you pitch
  • Practise describing your project in a single sentence as well as a short paragraph. It’s a helpful exercise when you’re putting together your query letter
  • Your biography paragraph must be stimulating. Publishers are looking for authors with a ‘platform’ (a network of individuals interested in their ideas) and a professional or personal narrative that a PR will find feature-worthy. Publishers want authors who stand out from the crowd.

What is needed:

  • A query letter that summarises who you are and what your project is. If you have won any competitions or have a review quote by someone with clout, include that information. Always highlight your book’s unique selling points
  • A one-page synopsis. Remember, this is not a selling blurb. It should be a clear summary of the story
  • A chapter by chapter synopsis of 5 to 12 pages
  • The first 50 pages of your manuscript

Most agents state their requirements clearly on their website and not all want the same thing. Make sure you email exactly what they’ve asked for and be as succinct as you can. Have your proposal and pitch letter proof-read by a competent editor.

Mentoring and industry advice is charged on an hourly basis.

Give us a call on 020 8567 2616. We are here to help!