Literary agents conjure up so many images in the book culture. Two of the most common ones might be fabulous lunches at expensive New York restaurants or excited phone calls about a book auction. Let’s dive into what a literary agent is and examine if you need one.
Book publishing is the long game. Thinking of publishing in a short-term way will likely either get you discouraged or frustrated.
Of course, publishing starts with an idea and the desire to communicate it to your community. Once you are ready to act on it, a publisher (likely) needs to come into the picture. Authors may know the names of publishers in their field, usually from going to conference or speaking with their salespeople. But how do you approach them with your idea? I would suggest you start well before any proposal or actual discussion. Developing connections or relationships with publishers can pay off in many ways.
Congratulations! Your book is written. It passed peer review and the final changes have been made. It’s with the publisher and they are full steam ahead. They anticipate publication in four or five months. It is now seeming all too real. But that pesky marketing reminder keeps popping up on your calendar. Your day is already jammed packed. How will you fit it all in?
One of your published colleagues raved about the power of their author website and the results they saw. Another said blitzing social media brought them great contacts and increased visibility. With your limited schedule, which should you do?
A question continues in some stores, “Paper or plastic?” While recyclable bags may make this a thing of the past, other questions continue. Authors continue to ponder whether their book should be a paper copy or an eBook. While this is an important discussion, it should not cause deep thinking.
The obvious answer is both. If a publisher is wise, it will offer a book or monograph in both formats. This is a smart consumer-centric option. Let the buyer decide which they prefer. Let’s discuss, though, each format to see where the market is and the virtues of each one.
Congratulations. Another article accepted. Plus, you have that book chapter to work on. And you are waiting to hear from that acquisitions editor on your book idea. A lot going on.
Many authors and academics, however, see their scholarly output in silos. Seeing the panoramic view of your work can create the interconnectedness of you.
You are all set. The approach to your topic is inspired. A firm table of contents has been finalized. Your Book Proposal is great. And you now have a contract with a respected publisher!
But, who is going to do all this writing? You have probably carved out specific chapters that you will write. You may have spoken with some colleagues that like the project and said they would be glad to help out. You have a list of likely people to write other key chapters, but you will need more contributors. How do you go about identifying and asking people to contribute to your book?