What do Agents Do?

Have you ever wondered what agents actually do to help you?

Agents are a little like unicorns: surrounded by myth and difficult to find. We are being a little tongue and cheek but if you’ve ever searched for a literary agent, you know how daunting a task it is. Let’s talk about what exactly they do and why finding the right agent is so important.

What is the role of a literary agent?

Literary agents work for you, the author. They represent your writing by pitching your book proposal to editors, negotiating book deals, and acting as a translator between authors and publishers. They focus on the business side of publishing.

Advocacy plays a huge part in an agent's role for you. They are promoting your proposal to editors, cheering you on when you write the book, and helping you during the promotional period after the book has been released. It is a literary agent’s job to find publishers for the writers they represent. They negotiate contracts on the writer’s...

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Don’t Forget: Your Book will Reach More People than any Speaking Gig, Article, or Facebook Post

“Words have the power to make things happen.” - Frederick Buechner

Most readers know this to be true -- books are soul food to nourish our spirit, to guide us along, equipping, inspiring, challenging us to live bolder, braver, more intentional lives.

But how exactly do you write a book? How do you put words to paper to impact lives?

Whether you are staring at blank pages, a half-finished manuscript, or even a full manuscript collecting digital dust, we believe you can change the world with just one book.

  • Someone’s marriage can be saved because they read your work.
  • Businesses can grow.
  • Families can heal and thrive.
  • Dreams can turn into fresh, exciting realities.

Books are powerful instruments that shape lives.

Your book is a way to reach exponentially more people than any speaking gig, sermon, article, or social media post. Your book is also a way to share your idea, story, and conviction in long-form--using illustration, extrapolation, metaphor, testimony, and...

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The Subtle Art of Subtitling Your Book

Your reader has a lot on their plate. Between juggling careers, distractions competing with commitments, and living life, their time is extremely valuable. There’s no shortage of busy today.

You know this, so why doesn’t your subtitle reflect this?

Imagine going into a store - people still do this!!! - and looking for someone to help you. You’ve got questions. How frustrated would you be if when you found the employee they did everything they could not to answer your questions?

Your readers have questions and they’re busy. They need you to cut to the chase. A really great subtitle answers your reader's questions. Too many times writers try to create subtitles that do everything. They become convoluted and clumsy. They say a lot about nothing.

Here’s a good rule to use when you are brainstorming a subtitle for your book: Are you using commas in the subtitle? A serial comma can suggest your subtitle lacks focus. Really push to clarify what your book is...

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Publishing Industry Market; Vol. 2, Issue 10

The Broken Links in the Supply Chain

Have you driven by any new car dealerships lately? Look closely. That lot full of new cars is probably only one row deep. Dealerships have resorted to parking the cars from the service department out front, just to create the illusion that they have a full lot! Something about a global shortage of microchips, along with numerous logistical challenges stemming from the pandemic.

Well, the book business is in the same boat…and that boat is probably moored a hundred ships deep off the California coast (we can literally see them out the window at Y&Y world HQ in Orange County, CA).

The supply chain problems in the publishing industry are a perfect storm of the pandemic-related labor shortage, shipping and transportation problems, and in recent years the bankruptcy and consolidation of US-based printing companies. Plus, with the stratospheric growth of online shopping, many mills switched their manufacturing from paper to cardboard (all...

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Better With Than Without - Don’t Go It Alone

Writing is hard.

You wouldn’t be reading this email right now if you didn’t feel the tension and resistance that goes along with trying to write and publish your books and ideas. Too often, we see authors on social media and wonder, “Why not me?”

The truth is: when you see a book, you’re really seeing more than the author’s work. You’re seeing the work of a village - because that's what it takes. In the publishing process, dozens of people will help bring a book to market.

It’s easy to fall into the comparison trap. You’re measuring yourself not against an author or a book, but a team of people. That’s why we want you to stop going it alone.

When we created Author Coaching University, we wanted to help writers go from idea to bookshelf. Imagine having a mentor to walk you step-by-step to getting published? What if you had an expert guide from within the publishing industry to help you navigate your journey?

...

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Publishing Industry Market Update; Vol. 2, Issue 9

Big Numbers for the Big 5

With the first 6 months of 2021 in the books, we have seen an industry-wide increase in same-period sales up 18.1% over 2020. Some of that jump can be attributable to the adversely COVID-impacted March and April 2020, but if you’ve been hanging with us for the past year and a half, you know that by May 2020 and on through the rest of that year, we were on a hot streak. So, these are some terrific numbers to report, with Publishers Marketplace conjecturing that we may have just seen the best 6- and 12-month periods ever!

The Big 5:

Penguin Random House:  Up 10.8% worldwide; 22% ($1.3 billion) in the U.S.
Lagardere/Hachette:  Up 16.4% worldwide; 14.8% in the U.S.
HarperCollins:  Up 20%
Simon & Schuster:  Up 9.2% (reporting separately from PRH pending merger approval)
Macmillan/Holtzbrinck:  (privately held, but presumably performed similarly well)

More Mergers

Hachette Book Group knows what to expect, and it’s expecting to...

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The Promise Your Book Is Making

Your book’s promise is what fulfills your commitment to the reader. 

When we are talking about a book’s promise, here’s what we mean: let’s say you were sitting with one of your readers telling them what your book was about (the premise). And then you say, “I promise that after you finish reading my book you will …”

One of the most critical mistakes a book can make is breaking its promise to the reader. So much of the success of a book is tied to its promise. Without a great promise, there’s nothing for the reader to pass on or look back at. Oftentimes the reason why you forgot about a book is that its promise went unfulfilled. Broken promises are a huge factor in determining its success.

Think about a couple of recent bestsellers that deliver on their promise: Greg McKeown’s, "Essentialism," promises to help the reader identify their highest contribution, and does; Jennie Allen’s book, "Get Out of Your Head" ...

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Great Book Ideas Need This

What’s the deal with book proposals?

Recently on a coaching call with a potential author, they told us about how they’ve got a great book idea but the response they were getting was crickets. Have you ever experienced that in your writing journey? It's one of the top frustrations we hear about at Author Coaching.

But what if it’s not what you are saying but how you are saying it?

If you want to give your book idea the best possible chance at success, it needs to be in a proposal.

“If you want your book idea to be taken seriously, you need a book proposal.”

What’s a proposal?

It’s the key to securing a literary agent, a publishing partner, and a future for your book idea.

When a publishing professional gets your email, the difference in getting a response or silence comes down to making your book idea as accessible as possible. You know this because you’ve heard it before: literary agents and editors receive dozens, if not hundreds of...

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Publishing Industry Market Update; Vol. 2, Issue 8

More Reading = More Book Sales

A U.S. Department of Labor survey among Americans aged 15 years and older showed that reading time increased 21% during the second half of 2020. Turns out people were actually reading all those books they bought during the heart of the pandemic. Reading time increased from 28 minutes a day during July through December 2019 to 34 minutes a day for the same period last year. The biggest age-group increases came in the 20-34 and over-65 age brackets. The over-75 crowd won the event . . . which they do every year – clocking in a whopping 95 minutes per day (can you say “retirement,” anyone?).

The biggest surprise came from men, who ratcheted up their reading time by 30%!  I wonder if that will stick.

Here We Go Again

We spent the first year of this blog telling you how pleasantly surprised we were to see the 2020 sales reports come in, month after month, ahead of what we all felt was a really decent 2019. Well, here we go again. The...

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Know Where You Are Going

Have you signed up for our upcoming free training, The Secret Path to Getting Published?

The truth is many writers and potential authors are lost on the publishing trail. They know where they want to go, but they don’t know how to get there. That’s why we are excited about our upcoming webinar, The Secret Path to Getting Published.

In it, you’ll discover:

  • How to capture the attention of an agent or editor
  • What a book proposal is and why it matters
  • 3 common deal killers that amateur writers make
  • How to stand out from the crowd of aspiring authors
  • The 9 pro tips to use in getting an agent and publisher
  • Tips to significantly improve your chances of getting published
  • And much, much, more!

Here’s a sneak peek at pro tip #1.

Pro Tip #1: Understand that your book proposal is a marketing tool that agents and editors will use to evaluate your book and platform. Therefore the writing needs to be concise and compelling.

Your book proposal is NOT a manuscript. And your...

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