Sadly there is also no room for zombies on the non-fiction side of our list. As Caitlen wrote, children’s fiction is new to LKG Agency, but non-fiction is our bread and butter, it’s right in our wheelhouse, it’s squarely on our radar. How many other clichés can I conjure up in this one short blog?
The question I’m addressing here is how to submit. Next blog post: What to submit. That’s going to be a longer one.
The mechanics: Your best bet is to craft a pitch letter that encapsulates your idea, why it is different from other books in the category, along with a synopsis of your platform and publicity opportunities. If we are interested, we will email back asking for a completed proposal, which you can attach to an email response.
What we don’t want to see: A mass pitch letter addressed to “Dear Sir or Madam” or “Dear Agent.” Make a little effort — pretend you crafted this just for us. What particularly drives us crazy? A mass pitch letter addressed to “Dear Sir or Madam” and simultaneously sent to 200 OTHER LITERARY AGENTS, which, yes, we can see because you were goofy enough to do cc instead of bcc. Then we have to scroll down through that endless list to even get to your pitch. Which we won’t do. We’ll just hit delete. If you want us to take the time to carefully read about your book, then take the time to carefully sell us on your book.
Next please read, reread, and re-reread your pitch letter. That letter serves as a writing sample, a calling card if you will, for you and your book. If it’s a mess, with poor spelling, terrible punctuation, wretched grammar, chances are your book will be too. And it won’t have a chance in hell of getting picked up even if the idea is strong. After all, as an agent, I gleefully worked on Paul Yeager’s Literally the Best Language Book Ever. (Wondering how this is relevant? Go to Amazon and read about it. Then buy it. It will do wonders for how people perceive you.) This is a peeve of mine. Caitlen is nicer.
Get excited about your pitch and your book. Be creative with your letter (not crazy creative but a little is good), to get us fired up about it. The more your pitch resonates, the more we are eager to read your proposal. And frankly we will be predisposed toward you and your idea. I have gotten some amazing pitch letters where the proposals did not live up to that promise, but generally that’s not the case. The great pitch letters have often meant great proposals, which meant Agency Agreements, which is the goal here.
Last but not least, but which should probably be first, do your research. It’s likely the most often repeated bit of advice, so I know I’m not coming across as too clever or creative here. But it’s true. Read the LKG submission guidelines. If it says no screenplays or no picture books, there’s no point in sending them. It ends up being just wasted effort on your part. We used to respond to all of those by saying they were not for us. Now we just delete and you are left wondering what happened to your pitch. Did it go into a black hole? The answer is yes, it did.
But that’s just basic research. Look at the books we actually did pick up and sell. Is yours comparable but with a key difference? Score! Mention that in your pitch. It shows your effort. “I see you represented Clinton Kelly’s Freakin’ Fabulous. I’ve written a style book all about introducing color to your wardrobe. And by the way, I have a blog with hundreds of thousands of followers.” That is a beautiful statement.
I think that covers it. Now stop reading my musings and pitch, but pitch wisely. Happy writing.
— Lauren Keller Galit