Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My Agent, The Marketer

Got this question in reference to my post yesterday...wanted to clarify: What do you mean by create a marketing campaign for it? Do you have to work with your agent to create a special campaign for the book when you go to a publisher?

No, you don't have to create a special campaign, but an agent's job extends beyond just calling up editors and saying, "Hey, I'm sending this manuscript over to you for review." Or I should say, a good agent's job.

Much like you craft and finesse the perfect pitch letter to land an agent, so too will an agent craft a letter/pitch about your book to send to editors. (Even if this is an email or something more casual.) The agent will look for a way to set your book apart from all of the riff-raff that the editor is also receiving - she'll hone the hook of the book, find good comparisons (for example, as mentioned last week, my agent pitched my book as a Good Grief meets The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters) and sell the book to the editor. Not literally, though she might well do that too, but more figuratively - she'll make your book sound so tempting that the editor would rather receive the manuscript than a dozen chocolate cupcakes.

I really think this is a critical difference between an adequate agent and a great one: the great ones know how to get editors salivating, and part of any good sell is the packaging and marketing. So, in essence, great agents are also stellar marketers. That's what I meant by that comment.

Make sense? Those of you who are agented, do you agree?


Sara Hantz said...

Yes, 100% I agree!

Anonymous said...

My agent was in the marketing end of things before she became an agent, which is the good news, the not so good news she is a new agent and finding it tough to break into that side of publishing. Got my fingers crossed, I like her a lot and hope we will have a long, happy, working relationship!

Unknown said...

Thanks, Allison. I appreciate our taking the time to answer.