What is a literary agent?
Think of us as a seller’s real estate agent. We invest our time trying to find a buyer for your property and don’t get paid until we do so. A literary agent will reach out to their contacts within a gamut of publishing houses to gauge interest in your book proposal. Once we have a publisher or publishers who would like to move forward with your concept, we discuss with you what we appreciate about the publisher(s) interested in you and what we recommend, we negotiate the offer and forthcoming contract, and advocate for you in matters concerning your book including product positioning, marketing, and your best interests with the publishing house.
What does your job include as a literary agent?
We look at the author’s ideas and where their proposal and sample chapters are in terms of marketability and what the best format and book hook for it is. We discuss, edit and work on your book proposal and sample material to the point that they are ready for us to show publishers. We present your book to publishers and have discussions with them about how they would see your product in their line, promote it, and its positioning in the marketplace.
What is the benefit of having an agent?
An agent can open doors for you that you’re not able to open on your own. We have experience of working with scores of publishers and editors and know which ones are appropriate for your particular book and what a good contract for you looks like. Not only do most of the publishers require an author to have an agent to submit, we know the pulse of the market and what publishers are taking, what a reasonable offer is, and how best to position the author for success.
What is BDA looking for?
We are looking for authors who have a distinguishable book hook that is unique and stands out from the same topic written in other books. We look to see who has done searches to compare the topic of their book to those that have already been published. We need to see how you have developed your concept in a way that makes me say, “I haven’t thought about that before” or “I haven’t heard anyone say it like that.”
We are reviewing books in the categories of: Christian Life, Spiritual Growth, Current Events, Inspirational/Narrative Non-Fiction, Business/Leadership, Church Leadership, Marriage, Parenting, Apologetics, Social Issues, Women’s Issues, DIY, and Gift books.
We work with previously published bestselling authors and up-and-coming voices that are: business leaders, pastors, journalists, ministry leaders, and others who have an established organization or ministry, or are a part of one.
Are there any genres BDA doesn’t want to see?
We are not acquiring fiction, poetry, or short stories. We are reviewing a limited number of Bible studies and devotionals that have a unique twist, a brand-new way of presenting the material, and a topic that meets a daily, felt need that inspires the reader.
How do I know if I fit the guidelines that BDA is looking for?
In general, authors need to have a platform that spans a readership online. We consider writers who don’t have this established yet but are mainly able to help those who have built this type of platform.
Writers need to see if what BDA is acquiring fits their book category. If so, we want you to give us an “elevator pitch” on what your book is about, who the book is for, and how you are connected to the audience for it. We want to see how you are building your audience even if it is small. We look at blog or website unique visitors per month, e-mail subscribers, podcast subscribers, YouTube presence, online outlets the writer contributes to on a regular basis, social media presence, an active speaking schedule, and your network with other writers and published authors.
Even if you don’t have all of these things but have some of them, show us what you have built and what you have done – not what you are planning to do. We want to see that you have already started this process of building your audience (i.e. gaining new subscribers, building your email list). Doing all of this work ahead of time really puts you at an advantage for having a sellable idea and platform from which to speak on the topic.
What is the best way to present my proposal or book idea to BDA?
We are more likely to consider your proposal if you schedule an appointment with us at one of the writers’ conferences we attend. Click here to see where we will be meeting with writers. We also value the referrals and recommendations from our clients and friends in the industry. So if you are connected to one of them we will consider your proposals if it comes through an introduction from one of these individuals.
Where do I submit my proposal if I am not able to meet with BDA face-to-face?
Please submit via our online submissions page. We check this email weekly and within 8 weeks if you have not heard from us, you may reach out again if we have not responded already.
I need a little help getting my proposal together. Do you have any resources you can recommend?
Do you want to receive a one-sheet prior to my submission?
No, it is not necessary. We work from book proposal and two to three sample chapters.
What are your do’s and don’t’s of seeking an agent?
We don’t like to see a score of other names in the email when you are sending to us. Personalize your email pitch to us. Look at the other books we publish before submitting yours to make sure it’s a book that we would consider based on what books we have on our website. We do like when you have noticed a book we have worked on and comment on it and if you have a connection to that author, do let us know. We don’t want to see you give a long narrative on your book proposal. Hit the high points in your pitch and let us decide if we want to follow up with you. You don’t want to continue to email an agent unless they have told you they want you to send something else or revise the proposal and resend. We make it clear when we want to hear from you after we have an initial review of your material. We will contact you if we are interested.
If you have not heard from us and you have an offer from a publisher or another agent, let us know so that we can either a) review and get back with you in the timeframe you have, or b) take your name from our review list so that we aren’t reviewing something you have or are about to place with an agent or publisher. Most of all, be genuine and be “you” in your presentation to us so that we can get to know you!