Author Marketing: Entice Agents With 3 Sparkling Steps!





At times the Kindle Top 100 is made up of over 25% Self-Published Authors*. Will this number increase in 2012? Are Agents and Publishers becoming pointless? Are we all going to become rich authors selling millions of books each year?

I would say Yes, No, and HELL NO!

Welcome back to the How To Build An Author House Series. In the last few posts we’ve been looking at segmenting your audience and positioning your author marketing to take on the world. We’ve discovered we’re chasing:

–     Readers/Customers

–     Experts

–     Agents/Publishers

Today’s post is focussing on Agents and Publishers, and how you can find them and harness their superior knowledge to take your author platform to new levels. Agents and Publishers still play a huge part in your author platform, even if you plan on heading down the Self-Published route. So let’s tackle the first major obstacle.

How to find them…

For the most part you use the same methods as finding Experts (as discussed in Author Marketing: How To Find Experts & Become Friends With Them), Twitter and Blogs acting as the catalyst to discovering and evaluating new people. However, there are also a few other sites you can use to help track down these industry folk.


This is a search engine of Agents and Publishers where you can filter down on areas such as genre, location, and novel type. I strongly advise you to use this tool in the same manner as Tweepz and, and find yourself quickly finding people relevant for you.

This is a general writing site full of tips and links to helpful online material. One of its features is an Agent and Publisher search engine, but let it be noted you need to subscribe to get the most out of this site (£2.99 per month). I’m not subscribed to this site yet, but I’m planning on doing soon because with a database of over 1,000 publishers and 850 Agents, it’s well worth the small monthly fee in my opinion. Thankfully most things can come free these days, but to really harness your author marketing you sometimes need to get the wallet out!

Agent Query

‘The Internet’s most trusted database of literary agents’; that’s what they tell us anyway. Sounds good, right? Overall I think this is a must and strongly suggest you spend some time searching this database. It’s a great site in general too with loads of tips to help position yourself to Agents; so search, have fun, and learn lots and lots of things.

Research Your Favourite Authors

Who represents and publishers your favourite authors (preferably those similar to your writing style)? It maybe a long shot as most will have Big Six publishers, but it wouldn’t hurt to research and learn from them. Who knows what it could lead to?

There are loads of sites out there to help you and I suggest you spend some time on Google searching for Agents and Publishers in your Genre, or at least those that seem to work with your style of writing. Even if you plan to self-publish, these industry folk will help you along the way. These are the people who’ve been there and done it so watch, learn, and stride down the publishing road with confidence.

Finding The Right People for YOU

Finding these people and companies is the easy part. Whittling it down so your focussing only on those relevant is a completely different ball game. You’ll discover thousands, show initial interest in hundreds, but when you delve deeper you’ll probably only find a dozen or so that suit your needs.

As you’re probably beginning to notice this Author Marketing lark involves rather a lot. You don’t have the time to follow everyone you come across and need to find the RIGHT people for YOU. I suggest you use a similar process as the one discussed in the last post (Author Marketing: How To Find Experts & Become Friends With Them) as this should overall help you whittle it down to those Agents and Publishers most relevant to your author platform.

Do remember these folk are the ones you‘ll be sending your work to, so research what they accept, the submission process they follow, and the pet peeves they hate (They will often Blog about the things that drive them crazy). Again, even if you intend to Self-Publish I’d strongly suggest interacting and sending your work to these industry folk. The very least you’ll get from this exercise is an idea of what the world of books thinks of your story, and maybe even some feedback too. The best scenario is you’ll get an offer, which you can always turn down in the end.

How To Stay Organised?

So you’ve compiled your list of the perfect Agents and Publishers, narrowed it down to the select few, and have a list of names and websites swimming around your laptop. Hardly helpful is it?

Don’t worry because one of the biggest things of having a strong Strategic Author Platform is it helps you stay on top of things. We just so happen to live in an age that makes this easy too, so consider the following tools to help organise your life:


This is the new love of my life and basically keeps me ticking away all day. It’s FREE, syncs with your laptop, iphone, and ipad, and allows you to update on the move. Create different folders for different aspects of your world, and import tables, pictures, and pretty much anything else you need.

Microsoft Excel

The classical approach but still the tool most people turn to. Simply create a spreadsheet with several tabs and you can quickly stay organised with who you’re following, who you’ve contacted, and who is saying what.

Google Docs

The middle ground between Evernote and Microsoft Office, and a great way to stay linked up on the go. Again, I don’t see the point of using this when you can use Evernote, but overall it’s a very good tool and is FREE!

Whatever tool you decide to use (and there’s quite a few I’ve not mentioned), staying on top of things is the aim of the game. So allow me to welcome you into my Evernote world and the folders I’ve created for these industry folk:

Potential Agents

–       I have a table with the following headings: Name, Website, Location, Genre, Clients, and Email

–       I also post links in the website section to any notable content (submission process, genre tips etc)

–       I colour code these Agents: Red = YES YES YES, Blue = Yes Please, and Orange = Hmmm, maybe

–       I add to a tick box (another Evernote feature J ) to their name that I can tick when I send anything to them (also add a note of date sent)

Potential Publishers

–       I have a table with the following headings: Name, Website, Location, Genre, Clients, and Email

–       I also post links in the website section to any notable content (submission process, genre tips etc)

–       I colour code these Publishers: Red = YES YES YES, Blue = Yes Please, and Orange = Hmmm, maybe

–       I add to a tick box to their name that I can tick when I send anything to them (also add a note of date sent)

People/Companies of Interest

–       I also have a sheet for people I come across (or companies) that may not tick my box, but interest me enough to stay in touch

–       This includes Editors and other industry folk, that may not be involved in my genre or market, but someone who never the less offers great insight

–       These are people that may become useful later down the line

Setting up a system like this will allow you to stay on track of the people you’re most interested in. I also sign up to their RSS feed (or newsletter) so I can stay updated with what they’re saying and doing each and every day. Not like a stalker though, let me just reiterate that.

As mentioned earlier, even if you plan on self-publishing I strongly suggest building yourself a network of these industry insiders and interact with them as much as you can. Like with the Experts, follow them, leave comments, and involve yourself in the discussions you create. The very least you’ll do is learn, which is no bad thing, is it?

This is a process I’ve only just begun myself, and although I’m following some Agents I haven’t actively created a detailed list of those most relevant to me. As mentioned in the last few posts I’m setting myself some mini aims, and for Agents/Publishers these are:

–       To have a list of 10 Agents, at least 5 of which are in the YES YES YES category

–       To have a list of at least 5 Publishers

On the 1st April I’ll create a new Blog post describing where I’ve got to, why I chose what I did, and how I got there.

So brings the end of another post of the How To Build An Author House Series, and so closing the section on Segmentation begins. In my next post I’ll recap the entire Segmentation section, post my mini aims for 1st April, and discuss positioning and how everything discussed links into your Author Platform and Brand Identity.

It’s once again been a pleasure, but please get involved in the discussion and let me know:

–       The tools you use to stay organised

–       Your experiences with Agents/Publishers

–       Do you already have a list? If so, how did you come across it?

Turndog Millionaire – @turndog_million

*Sourced from Jane Friedman

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