6 benefits of NOT having a Literary Agent

Most blog posts on publishing related websites talk about how important it is to have Literary agents represent authors. So it is only inevitable that the reverse question comes up frequent, specially from authors who’ve tried their best to reach out to the best literary agents in town (and outside) and haven’t had much luck.

Aren’t there any advantages of not having a literary agency offer representation? You bet there are.

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Re-sending Query Letters: Is it ok to re-submit to literary agents and publishers?

Literary agents and publishers reject an overwhelmingly large number of query letters than they accept. With those odds, it’s hard not to have gone through the rejection and dejection phase. In many cases, it’s not even an outright rejection of the query letter through a template responses. It’s that eerie silence from the other side that gets on the nerves of new authors. There are ways for authors to deal with rejection.

But does a rejection (implied or explicit) from a literary agency that was on the top of your wishlist mean it’s the end of the road for you?

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Book editing services in India: Are you paying too much?

Freelance book editors provide services to authors before literary agents or publishers come into the picture. The assumption here is that the original manuscript has potential that can be accentuated with a little help.

There are many subjective and commercial aspects you need to consider before you decide to hire a book editor. Some of the subjective elements were covered in an earlier post titled ‘Hiring a freelance editor for proofreading & editing your book’. This one focuses on the commercial perspective.

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Query letter rejections: How writers can deal with it

Query letters for books need a lot of TLC (tender love & care) to create. Getting the mailing list of the best literary agents and publishers to send your carefully crafted query letter takes longer. Waiting for the publishers and the book agents takes forever.

So no matter how determined you are in wanting to get your novel or non-fiction book published, rejections can be very disappointing.

How you deal with rejections and move on is an important part of the learning curve. Here are a few things you can do to help you put things in perspective and improve your book proposal or query letters.

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Jacaranda Literary Agency – Interview

Writer's BlockIf you are a serious author, planning to approach the best literary agents in India (or Asia), you probably already have Jacaranda Literary Agency on your list. Jayapriya Vasudevan (Founder) and Priya Doraswamy (Partner) have been doing excellent work in the field and setting the standards high for others who wish to get into the literary agency business. [Update: Priya Doraswamy has moved on and started her own agency – Lotus Lane Literary]

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Literary agents in India

Several years back when I was searching for the best literary agencies in India, there were very few names to be found. There were many self-proclaimed literary agents, but the good, authentic ones were very few. After all these years, I tried searching for literary agents in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai and many other bigger cities.

The story doesn’t seem to have changed much. You still find the same agency names that have gained more credibility over time. And yes, there’s a bigger number of unknown names claiming to be agents but with very little data on their track record and book sales to the big (or even small but good) publishers. So most first time authors in India, seeking representation, continue to send query letters to literary agents in the USA (New York, being the hub of such activity).

If you are in the same situation that I was in when I first started my hunt for the top literary agencies to represent my MBA book, here’s a short list to get you started.

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Literary Agents: Beware of unprofessional and unfair agency practices

A good literary agent can work wonders for the author’s career but it’s very tough to locate and get one interested in your work, specially in a country like India. Outside India, however, there are many good, and many more bad and ugly literary agencies that prey upon the desperation and impatience that permeates the new writer’s psyche. In a bid to get the first publishing break, many writers ignoring the research that is so important before signing up with a literary agency.

There are several things you can be aware of as you seek out representation for your work. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

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How to write a Query letter for your book?

I wrote several hundred query letters and sent them to a whole lot of literary agents and publishers. ‘Several hundred’ refers more to the variations of a basic format, rather than hundred distinctly different formats. It was more of an experimentation and fine-tuning process where I made minor alterations after every few submissions.

One of those query letters got me a great literary agent and subsequently a publishing contract with a top tier publisher. I can’t call myself an expert at writing query letters, but after having gone through the drill so many times, I can share some basics that you can use as a starting point to create variations that work for your book.

Read the Query Letter FAQ post first.

How long should a query letter be?

A good query letter will not be more than

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As a new writer, will you pay to get your first publishing break?

There’s a common saying in the conventional publishing world. Money flows to the writer. What does it mean?

It means that you should never have to pay money to anyone in the publishing chain – publishers, editors, literary agents, websites running websites or any facilitators who are suggesting that they’ll make the rocky road a little smoother for you.

Here’s how it works for each team.

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How long are you willing to wait to get your book published?

For all the hundreds of thousands of books that seem to hit the bookshelves each year, you might get the impression that there’s some fantastic super-efficient machinery running behind the scenes that’s working at break-neck speed to pump out tons of books at a record pace. Far from it.

Publishing is a extremely slow moving industry. If you are a new writer waiting for your first big break, the earlier you realize this, the less painful your journey will be. Set the expectations right and get ready for a LOT of waiting at every stage of the process.

The maximum control you have on the book publishing process is when you are

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Beyond The MBA Hype on The Times of India bestsellers list

There was no formal book launch for Beyond The MBA Hype, no celebrities waxing eloquent about the book and consequently very limited media attention. People I knew started finding out that my book got published based on my Facebook comments and they would be kind enough to reach out with their best wishes.

A few days back I got a phone call from a friend congratulating me (yeah, Ravi-bhai, you triggered the story). I thought this was another one of those calls trickling in. But it was unusually early for him to call

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Book marketing and promotion: Meet the superheroes

Marketing and promoting a book can be one of the biggest hurdles for first-time authors (Well, ok, after you’ve got a good literary agent to represent you, got a contract from a good publishing house and all other other equally challenging hurdles have been crossed…) Fortunately for those who have the backing of an established publishing house, the journey can be a little less rocky. This post is a tribute to the unsung heroes of the publishing world.

Before the book goes to the printing press (and the editorial process is still on), the sales and marketing team has already got into action. Here’s a little to-do list to give you an idea of the complexities that Marketing guys have to deal with:

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