Nonfiction writers who want to be published by a legit house, and represented by a real-deal agent, should know this…
With rare exceptions (where clear sales potential is identified) an agent (like me) can only take on projects where the author has a sizable email and social media list – and proven engagement with their writing.
What’s “sizable”? 5,000 would be nice. (Not necessary, but helpful.)
Because publishers won’t consider an author without those assets. Publishers sign brands. They want to see a clear, established brand that resonates with an audience.
Yes, in the olden days, publishers carried all the marketing weight. But today they (mostly) acquire authors who have an established following. To be fair, these days any author should be able to prove their writing resonates with people.
Publishers also want to review a “book proposal” – not your manuscript. A book proposal is the business plan for your book. A good agent will help you prepare one. (Contact me for a sample if you’re not familiar with the document)
A publishing contract rarely creates a reliable stream of income. Outside of the advance, many/most authors don’t receive ongoing royalties after year-1, unless the book really takes off.
That’s why aspiring authors sometimes work with a coach like me to help with brand, platform, book idea, and business model (ways to make significant income with writing, speaking, and consulting). Self-publishing can yield ten times the profit per book, but with up-front expenses and marketing.
Publishers sign brands. Readers buy brands.
That’s also why I developed these low-cost resources, based on my work with authors and publishers:
Interested in coaching and strategy? Please contact me.
And please don’t sign with a “publisher” that makes you write a check. (Real publishers write you a check.)
Be very careful about “hybrid publishers” because their business model usually depends on you buying large quantities of books up front (at inflated prices) and over paying for so-called “Marketing” and “distribution” — which sounds impressive but probably won’t sell one book.
Self-publish instead. (I can help you navigate the process, and earn much more per book.)
The goal is to be in the power-position in publisher discussions.
Be informed, but not discouraged.
Write anyway. Try anyway. Share anyway.
Other related posts:
Brand vs. Book (audio): http://mikeloomis.co/2019/02/nonfiction/
Brand vs. Book (blog): http://mikeloomis.co/2019/02/brand-2/