Today is April Fool’s Day, but there are no tricks here at The Christian Writer’s Den! Instead, I’m thrilled to offer a treat, 10 Tips to Finding an Agent, from author-sisters (for real) Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers, a drawing for their new book, AND a free book from Bethany Jett!
Be sure to read Betsy’s and Laurie’s bio and book info below, but I’m excited to go ahead and tell you they have a new book,Â The Shepherd’s Song: A Story of Second Chances, released a few weeks ago by Howard Books. Yay! I’ve read this book and I can say it opened my eyes to the power of God’s Word to change hearts around the world.
In celebration of their new book, Betsy and Laurie are giving away a free book AND sharing some agent secrets with us! Just leave a tip you’d like to share or a word of encouragement for the Writing Sisters, and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book. Just be sure to check back next week to see if you’re the winner.
And now, here are Betsy’s and Laurie’s 10 Tips to Finding an Agent.Â These are tips no one told them, but they’re sharing them with you today!
10 Tips to Finding an AgentÂ
by Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers
After twenty years of writing for children we felt called to make a change. We had not needed an agent before. Twenty years ago you could still have a manuscript read by a publisher without an agent, especially in the world of childrenâ€™s books. Once we had a relationship with a publishing house we didnâ€™t feel the need. Now that we were writing an adult book, The Shepherdâ€™s Song, and we were writing about our faith – the rules had changed. We needed an agent â€“ but how could we find the right one?
Here are some things we learned about finding an agent on our quest to write and publish The Shepherdâ€™s Song.
- Pray. Throughout the process of writing the book we prayed for the â€śteamâ€ť and waited with expectation to see what special people God would draft for us. In our 20 years of publishing we had never had an agent. Now as we moved into writing a book for adults we needed representation. We had no idea how to find the right person. We started with prayer.
- Donâ€™t count on the 15 minute pitch. Relationships take time. We donâ€™t know very many writers who found their agents during the pitch. We didnâ€™t. The pitches were important for us. Getting our one sheet together and honing our description of the book was valuable. Seeing the reaction across the table to the way we presented the book was also helpful.
- Emailing your unrequested proposal is really a long shot. Everyone is overwhelmed with email and submissions. Think about building face-to-face relationships at conferences instead.
- Silence means No. We looked for God to open doors and close doors. Sometimes He worked through silence. â€śBut she said she would get back to us in 6 weeks.â€ť It took us a while to realize that the silence was a rejection.
- Nos can be helpful. No is an important part of shaping your book. With every no comes a chance to improve the book.
- Wait for the right person. You can say â€śnoâ€ť too. Along the path to finding an agent we had some opportunities. One agent offered to consider representing us if we changed genres and wrote something more mainstream. We had to learn to wait and be true to the work that God had given us.
- Donâ€™t be desperate. God called you to write and he has a plan for your book. Being desperate makes us take control of the process and make mistakes.
- Others writers want to help you in the search. We found our agent at a lunch for 700 people. A writing friend who had an agent saw him coming toward the table and moved over a seat to let him sit by us. That act of generosity changed our career.
- Be ready – always – in every situation. We got caught a few times without sample chapters when we didnâ€™t expect to be asked for them.
- Keep your eyes open. Pray and watch. You never know when that moment will come.
When we least expected it our moment came. Greg Johnson from WordServe Literary sat down at our table. We connected and when he asked for our sales figures we had them. When he asked to see a one sheet we had it.
He asked to read the book and we sent it the day we got home. The next Monday we signed with WordServe. Not long after that he placed The Shepherdâ€™s Song at Howard Books. But thatâ€™s another story.
Please share what you have learned along the way â€“
Betsy and Laurie
Friends, don’t forget to leave a comment and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book from Betsy and Laurie. Be sure to check back next week to see if you’re the winner!
Back cover copy from The Shepherd’s Song: Follow the incredible journey of one piece of paperâ€”a copy of Psalm 23â€”as it travels around the world, linking lives and hearts with its simple but beautiful message. Shortly before a tragic car accident, Kate McConnell wrote down the powerful words of Psalm 23 on a piece of paper for her wayward son. Just before she loses consciousness, Kate wonders if sheâ€™s done enough with her life and prays, â€śPlease, let my life count.â€ť Unbeknownst to Kate, her handwritten copy of Psalm 23 soon begins a remarkable journey around the world. Eventually, Kateâ€™s paper makes it back to its starting place, and she discovers the unexpected ways that God changes lives, even through the smallest gestures. With beautiful prose evocative of master storyteller Andy Andrewsâ€™s The Butterfly Effect, this story will touch your heart and remind you of the ways God works through us to reach beyond what we can imagine.
Bio: The Writing Sisters, Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers, were born into a writing family, and began critiquing manuscripts at an early age for their mother, Newbery winner Betsy Byars. They went on to become authors of more than thirty-five childrenâ€™s novels. Their first book for adultsÂ isÂ The Shepherdâ€™s Song, Howard Books, March 2014. You can reach Betsy and Laurie at www.WritingSisters.com or www.facebook.com/WritingSisters. And here’s a direct Amazon link to The Shepherd’s Song: A Story of Second Chances.
And Who Won Bethany Jett’s Book, The Cinderella Rule?
Congratulations goes to Maureen Hager! I’m so happy for you, Maureen!
Please contact me with your mailing address and Bethany will get your book right out to you.
And readers, I know you want your own copies to give to teen and pre-teen girls in your realm of influence, so here’s a direct Amazon link to The Cinderella: A Young Woman’s Guide to Happily Ever After.
And if you’re a youth leader, remember, this would make a great book for your girls’ small group study.
So that does it for another Tuesday at The Christian Writer’s Den where we encourage, educate, and promote writers. I’ll look forward to seeing you Friday.
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