Literary agents, editors, and publicity

October 23, 2013 Writing  One comment

¬†Continuing on from last week’s post … I will finish talking about:

– What happens after you get an agent

– What happens when your manuscript goes to an editor

– Publicity and marketing strategies (plus, building your social media platform)

Please note that most (or all) of the following information is taken from The Complete Idiots Guide to Getting Published, 5th Edition. I do not claim any rights or ownership to the information posted here.

What happens when you get an agent
If you’ve successfully gained the representation of an agent, and signed an author/agent agreement then they will start submitting your work to the editors they think will be interested in them. Each editor (and/or publishing house) has a list. This ominous list has titles/subjects that editors have promised their bosses to bring in that year. So if you’re book is not on the list of things they are looking for, you might not get in for that reason alone.

Your agent is your number one fan and advocate. Depending on the agency/agent, they may invest extra time in developing your work and platform to become a career novelist.

Should your manuscript be licensed for publication, your agent will focus on:
– the publisher’s publicity department
– making sure you get paid
– selling subrights (movie, audio, etc.)
– serving as the go-between, liaison, and mediator between you and the editor to make sure that you as the author and the publisher maintain a positive work relationship

What happens when your manuscript is sent to an editor
You still got that fifth of whiskey lying around? You’re going to need it to read this.

So your agent sends your manuscript (that she loves, btw) to her editor friend at Big-Shot Publishing House. Here the editor can either decide to pursue it further or drop it. If they drop it and reject you, you move on to the next publishing house. Editors reject most of the manuscripts that come across their desks.

If the editor decides to pursue it, they may call you to get to know you and your work better, how you plan to promote it, etc. Be professional, polite, passionate, and to the point. If this phone call happens, it is critical you present yourself well.

If the editor still wants to license the rights to your manuscript (aka publish it), they will take it to an editorial or pub board meeting. Here she will present the book to the other editors and their boss. If the other editors and the boss are interested, the sales department will draw up a Profit and Loss Statement that will tell them if the book is expected to be profitable. If they are not interested, you are dropped and rejected. Move on to the next publisher.

If you are rejected it may not be because the book is not good enough. Maybe the publisher just isn’t interested, or maybe they just published a book like that, or maybe your book isn’t on the list, or maybe they just don’t like it or don’t think it will sell.

Know this, you will be rejected. It’s a rite of passage (check out this list of famous books and authors that were rejected for encouragement). But take heart, you will (hopefully, maybe) find the right publisher for you eventually (even if that publisher ends up being you).

If at this point, they are interested and the book will be profitable, they may offer to license the rights to your manuscript and publish your book! When you sign a contract with a publisher, they take over the rights, which means they have control of what happens to it and the final product (although your intelligent and well-researched insight may be considered). Be prepared to make the edits and changes the editor wants in a professional and prompt manner. You will have to make edits and changes, just accept it now.

The book production process can take anywhere from 1-2 years. Hence, you should be working on and finishing your next novel by the time it hits the shelf.

Publicity and Marketing (plus building your social media platform)

Nowadays, a lot of the responsibility for marketing your book falls on you, the author. Crazy blog lady, say what?! Yes, you will have to be very involved in the publicity and marketing for your book from here until forever. You should have a marketing plan drawn up to show your agent and editor. You should be promoting yourself on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blog, etc. You should also be aware of how other authors are getting the word out about their works. Show up. Be aware. Take notes. Be prepared.

But surely, you aren’t going to have to do ALL of the work, right? Right.
The publicity department at the publisher’s “might send out bound galleys or review copies to reviewers, work on setting up local book signings and local media tours, and try to be sure your book gets into the hands of the right media people.” (p. 256)

So what can you do to promote your novel?

– Keep friends and followers on social media up to date on your novel.

– Host a launch/release party for your book.

– Get in touch with your local newspapers. You can talk to them about maybe doing an article on your book or a spotlight on you.

– Talk to local bookstores/libraries/coffee shop’s to put together a reading or event.

– Talk to book groups and introduce your book to them as a possible selection. You can offer to join them in the conversation as a bonus.

– Radio and TV interviews. Remember, that no station is too small. Do as many as you possibly can. Develop a pitch for your book and have it ready to sell to producer’s when you call their stations. Let them know that you are available to fill in as a last-minute guest as well. You can post an ad in the Radio – TV Interview Report to let producer’s know you want to be a guest.

– Online you should make an Amazon author page, a Goodreads author page, as well as a Facebook page for your novel.

– Also, get a nicely designed and accessible website up!

– You can also pay companies to promote your book. Some resources for promoting your book are,, and


Hope this information gives you some insight into how the publishing process works!


Until next time, farewell, & may your life never cease to be filled with wonder and curiosity.


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