by Randy Peyser, www.AuthorOneStop.com
I’ve just returned from Book Expo America. This was my 16th year of pitching manuscripts to help my clients find a literary agent or publisher at this annual “feeding frenzy” for the publishing industry in the U.S.
I sold a memoir to a publisher right on the show floor. Last year, four out of five projects I pitched at this show were awarded contracts – two got book deals with publishers and two got contracts with agents.
At the book show, I had one publisher tell me he gets 10,000 submissions a year. That’s roughly 860 queries a month. I was on a panel with an agent, who told me she gets 1000 submissions a month.
So, how do YOU get your book noticed in this giant sea?
What I’ve discovered through my years of helping people to find a literary agent or publisher, is that there are ways to get a project considered – if you know how to do it. Here is one tip I have used very successfully to get agents and publishers to consider my clients’ manuscripts:
THE EYEBROW FACTOR
Before I pitch, I always ask myself: “What can I do to tip the sale in my author’s favor?” Said another way: “What can I say to get that agent or publisher to raise an eyebrow?”
Think about your book. What is one thing you could say about your book that would get an agent or publisher to raise an eyebrow? Is your content positioned well for the marketplace? Is your book related to a subject that is trending? Do you have prestigious or well-known endorsers? Do you have a following? Do you have a publicity budget?
You don’t have to have all these things in place, but if you have at least one of these things – or another tipping point you can think of that can possibly influence an agent or publisher – use it.
Here is an example of one pitch I made that not only tipped the agent’s eyebrow, but got her eyeballs to grow bigger than half dollars: I held a manuscript right under my nose, inhaled dramatically, and proclaimed in a voice four times louder than my normal voice: “I smell money!”
Did I have her ‘at hello’? You bet I did. She saw the opportunity to make a large amount of money on that project – and she did. She brought that project to auction and sold it for six figures in a bidding war among three major publishers.
At this year’s Book Expo America, one of my pitches was for a woman in her mid-eighties, who has virtually no publicity platform. Still, I have 3 agents and 7 publishers who are excited about her novel. Why? Here was my pitch: “This woman is the ‘Grandma Moses’ of the literary world – a talent worthy of world recognition. I think she could win a Pulitzer Prize. The writing is gorgeous.” If you were an agent or publisher, would you want to grab the first read?
Think in terms of your own book. What is so compelling about your project, or you, that would make an agent or publisher so intrigued that they would absolutely have to consider your work?
Randy Peyser is a Literary Advocate and the CEO of Author One Stop, Inc., a national publishing consulting firm. Author One Stop, Inc. provides editing, ghostwriting, book proposal polishing, and services to pitch books to literary agents and publishers. Randy@AuthorOneStop.com, www.AuthorOneStop.com, (831)726-3153.