Capturing the attention of a busy literary agent or a publisher is no easy feat, but crafting an effective pitch is as important in its way as writing the Great American Novel (or the Great American Nonfiction Book). By working with us and learning to speak the mysterious language of agents and publishers, you can take the guesswork out of the process. All pitch package evaluations include a 30-minute consultation with the editor who prepares your evaluation.
And if you’d like to hear it from the horse’s mouth, book an Ask the Agent 30-minute phone consultation with a leading literary agent. Agents also participate in our What’s the Big Idea service, which helps authors nail their books’ sexiest, most marketable concepts and hooks. And they also coach authors to prepare for one-on-ones with agents at conferences.
If you had no trouble putting 100,000 words together for your manuscript but feel utterly lost when it comes to selling it, let us evaluate the situation. Why waste time guessing at what will catch the eye of an agent or a publisher? And if you can't get past word one, we can write your query letter and synopsis for you. We have a strong record of getting agents to ask to read full manuscripts. The quality of the manuscript is on you, but chances are good that we can get it in front of an agent, and that's the most an author can ask for—consideration of the work itself.
We’ll evaluate your query letter and book proposal for their effectiveness at striking a chord in today’s market. Does your overview promise a story that needs to be told? Do your bio and sample chapter demonstrate that you’re the right author to tell it? We draw on many years of proposal-writing success to guide you.
We’ll provide an editorial memorandum addressing the organization of the proposed book, the quality of the writing and the project’s commercial prospects, based on literary agents’ reports from the trenches. We’ll also provide annotations within the body of the proposal suggesting possible improvements.
A nonfiction project needs to be packaged just so in order to stand out in a market where countless titles crowd any given category. If you’ve written a diet book that has something the others don’t but it doesn’t quite come off as something new in your cover letter, we can help you to reframe your hook. If you’ve written a memoir about your spiritual journey in the Himalayas but in your proposal it reads as a pretty bumpy ride, we can smooth the way. Whatever your particular case, we’ll help you to stand out in the crowd.
Evaluations are available for the first page of a novel, novella or short-story manuscript; for the first 10 pages (the pages that give you the best chance to hook the reader, an agent and a publisher); or for a plot synopsis, a query letter and the first 50 pages (up to 12,500 words)—the typical submission package sent to agents and publishers.
We offer a written evaluation of your project’s marketability based on our lengthy experience with the pitch process. The query and the synopsis are each an art unto itself, and each requires your best effort as a writer. A synopsis isn’t simply a condensed version of a manuscript, and a query isn’t simply a condensed synopsis. Different forms of writing are required for each piece of a pitch package. It can be a difficult process involving lots of trial and error, but we can guide you with the concrete direction provided in an evaluation. If your hook—that certain all-important something that makes your manuscript unlike any other—isn’t shown off to sufficient effect, we’ll show you how. If you can’t strike the right balance of action and back story and, as they say, cut to the chase, we’ll do the cutting for you.