Selling Your Book to Agents and Publishers: Making Sure They Recognize Your Name Before Your Query Hits Their Inbox by Raimey Gallant
Please help me welcome Raimey Gallant to Writer’s Fun Zone as she shares with us “Selling Your Book to Agents and Publishers: Making Sure They Recognize Your Name Before Your Query Hits Their Inbox.” Enjoy!
Agent and publisher inboxes. Each a gorge flooded daily by a storm of new emails.
From what I’ve read, it is not uncommon for agents/editors to receive hundreds of new queries a month.
But before we get to the 5 tactics that will help make your name recognizable to agents and publishers, let’s talk about query batch size.
The main reason to query in smaller batch sizes—say 5 to 10 people at a time—is so that if the response is negative or non-existent, you can adjust your pitch and still have a large pool left to query to.
The added advantage as it relates to the strategies presented here is that the smaller the batch size, the more manageable these tactics become.
It should go without saying, the following are only suggested for agents and publishers who are open to unsolicited materials.
- 1. Be fresh in their minds: Two-ish days before you hit send on a query letter, go follow the agent or publishing house in question across their social media sites. That way, there’s more chance they’ll recognize your name when your query letter lands in their inbox. Agents and publishers are unlikely to follow you back, so make sure you don’t accidentally unfollow them. Why not longer than two days? Because you want your name fresh in their minds. Why not less than two days? Because you don’t want your query letter clumped together in their inbox with your new follow notifications—they may accidentally delete your query letter if they think they’re deleting a string of social-media related notifications.
- 2. Play the long game: It can take months for agents to get to your query. On Twitter, add recently queried agents and publishers to a Twitter List. You can access this feature from the gear icon on your profile. Lists let you view the tweets of a select group of people. This will make it easy to like/retweet their tweets, so you remain a recognizable name until they find time to read and respond to your query.
- 3. Favorite their favorite things: How can you tell what an agent’s favorite thing is? By locating and reading their personal/professional blog. Like everyone else who blogs, they’ve put a significant amount of time into crafting these posts and will be more likely to remember those who take the time to like, share and comment. If you do share their post on social media, be sure to tag their handle (i.e. @raimeygallant).
- 4. Get to know their wish lists: For each agent and editor you are planning on querying, visit their profiles on www.manuscriptwishlist.com. This is the host site for the ongoing Twitter Manuscript Wish List event in which agents and publishers tweet what they want to see in their inboxes. Review tweets from the past year, like a few and make note of one that fits with what you’ll be querying. The added benefit of taking this step is that agents want you to reference these tweets in the subject line of your query to them. Please do not tweet with this hashtag yourself, as it is only for agents and publishers.
- 5. Lurk around the #askagent hashtag on Twitter: Throw questions up, like/retweet responses from agents, participate in scheduled #askagent events. You can do the same with the #askeditor and #askpub hashtags, but at the time of writing this, they’re relatively dormant. Though, that doesn’t mean they won’t reignite.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Raimey Gallant is a marketing and fundraising consultant who is currently writing a top secret, twisty crime thriller. If you want more advice from Raimey on marketing for authors, it’s probably a good idea to follow her WordPress blog, as well as her Twitter and Facebook pages.