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 finding a literary agent for business trade books

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kotter
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finding a literary agent for business trade books Empty
PostSubject: finding a literary agent for business trade books   finding a literary agent for business trade books EmptySun Nov 23, 2008 7:07 am

Any recommendation to a literary agent that can work on combination of fee & commission to pitch a business trade book to major publishers? I understand it is quite impossible to get anyone to work on comission, and am willing to invest in that, but need referals to ones that actually are for real! Shocked
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lin
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lin

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PostSubject: Re: finding a literary agent for business trade books   finding a literary agent for business trade books EmptySun Nov 23, 2008 8:12 am

You'd be making a mistake approaching agents with offers to pay fees for their representation.

Ethical agents don't work that way and you'd just end up getting the scuzz.

The other thing I'd suggest is going direct to publishers in this case.

Business books are in a different class from mainstream books: many best-selling titles come from small companies specializing in business or even a small niche of the business market. There have been lots of best sellers in this field put out by specialty firms.

I'd suggest a research trip to the internet, library and bookstore, compiling lists of publishers who seem to be up your general alley, then take a shot at the transom.

I know what I would do: I'd focus in on a couple I REALLY wanted and call them up. And just straightout tell the secretary that I want her advice because I have a book in their area and want to know if I can send it in without an agent being involved.
(And to WHOM, by name or email address.)

Set up a "triage" with your dream dates at the top and small outfits at the bottom and work your way down.

Have a crackerjack proposal ready to go.
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: finding a literary agent for business trade books   finding a literary agent for business trade books EmptySun Nov 23, 2008 11:04 am

Good advice Lin.
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kotter
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PostSubject: anyone knows a publisher called 'happy about'?   finding a literary agent for business trade books EmptySun Nov 23, 2008 11:10 am

your feedback is welcome afro
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Brenda Hill
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PostSubject: Re: finding a literary agent for business trade books   finding a literary agent for business trade books EmptyMon Nov 24, 2008 8:40 pm

Most major publishers today will not accept manuscripts directly from writers. Instead, they require writers to go through the first gatekeepers, the agents, and you have to audition for a literary agent just as a wannabe actor or actress has to audition for a casting agent.

You audition by submitting your polished manuscript, or a partial, according to the agent’s requirements.

The Writer’s Market lists the publishing house, magazines, and agents, and tells what they handle and how to contact them. It also lists their requirements. The book is usually around $25-$30 dollars, but some libraries carry them.

Here’s the online version:

http://www.writersmarket.com/

Jeff Herman is a popular non-fiction agent, so you might check his site. It’s very informative:

http://www.jeffherman.com/

The last Writer’s Guild to Book Editors, Publishers & Literary Agents I have is dated 2002-2003, and it’s 2 1/2” thick, so be prepared to do some studying. And, most agents work on commission. They take a percentage, usually 15%, of the money the publisher pays you, and most work very hard for that commission.

Good luck!
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lin
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lin

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PostSubject: Re: finding a literary agent for business trade books   finding a literary agent for business trade books EmptyMon Nov 24, 2008 10:05 pm

Yes. But he's talking about a business book. That's a different can of worms and he might do better there. If not, he will find out quicly enough

In which case, make sure the search of publishers also includes attempts to find the agents for books like your own.

But you can't just apply WD stuff to all types of books. SciFi and Romance, for instance are a lot looser for unagented material. And business books are a WIDE gamut ranging from university presses to storeftont doing their equivalent of "dummies" or "minute manager".
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lin
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lin

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PostSubject: Re: finding a literary agent for business trade books   finding a literary agent for business trade books EmptyMon Nov 24, 2008 10:06 pm

And books like this work on proposals, not complete manuscripts.

Creating a NF book proposal is a bit of crafting, just like doing a synopsis or cover letter, and there are lots of online tutorials on all three...and they should be studied.
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lin
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lin

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PostSubject: Re: finding a literary agent for business trade books   finding a literary agent for business trade books EmptyMon Nov 24, 2008 10:07 pm

One more thing. DON'T buy a book guide to agents. The online data bases are free, better, more comprehensive and stay up to date.

I would say the same, actually about virturally any type of writing guide type book.
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Brenda Hill
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PostSubject: Re: finding a literary agent for business trade books   finding a literary agent for business trade books EmptyMon Nov 24, 2008 11:12 pm

Hi Lin, not sure I agree about romance manuscripts, but I bow to your expertise about business trade books.
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: finding a literary agent for business trade books   finding a literary agent for business trade books EmptyMon Nov 24, 2008 11:30 pm

I wouldn't call it expertise by any means, Brenda. But I know people who've flogged business books as both writers and agents.

SF and romance are generally considered the last bastion of unagented fiction publishers.

I'm not very up on the romance world (being an unromantic male lummox from Mars) but I do know that several of those houses still read over the transom.
Including Dorchester, Barbour, Arrow, and Avalon.

Also Time Warner's romance imprint, I understand.

And of course romance is ALL OVER the small POD press. Who don't require agents. It looks to me like about 90% of those books are either romance or SF/Fantasy/Vampire stuff.
Avon is currently ADVERTISING for unagented romance authors.

A good model for business books, to me, are the works of Robert Ringer, several of them among the top selling motivational books or all time, and all of them NYT best-sellers. They came out of a tiny Tortoise Press...possibly self-published and are still on a very small press.
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Brenda Hill
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PostSubject: Re: finding a literary agent for business trade books   finding a literary agent for business trade books EmptyTue Nov 25, 2008 12:50 am

How times have changed. I know romance writers who would've killed to get a toe into Avon, considered at one time to be tops in historical romance.

So you're an unromantic male lummox from Mars? Oh, I wouldn't say that.

Speaking of historical romance, I was just watching Salome with Rita Hayworth on TCM, a fantastic movie. Now Samson and Delilah with Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr just came on. Great TV night.
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Jenny
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PostSubject: Re: finding a literary agent for business trade books   finding a literary agent for business trade books EmptyTue Nov 25, 2008 7:19 am

Lin,

I have to disagree with you. I write romantic suspense and for the last 18 months have been trying to find a publisher and/or agent. While all have agreed the book has merit none offered a contract. More and more romance publishers are refusing to accept unsolicited manuscripts and prefer authors to have an agent.
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lin
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lin

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PostSubject: Re: finding a literary agent for business trade books   finding a literary agent for business trade books EmptyTue Nov 25, 2008 7:34 am

Romance and SF remain the only areas in which significant publishers accept unagented manuscripts. I've mentioned 5 above that accept unagented work. There are three or four biggies in SF, like Tor.

That isn't really something where there's disagreement, actually. Those presses have websites and can be checked for their submission pages.

There is almost no other area of writing in which so many houses allow over the transom submissions.
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