Hello all. Any ideas on selling your writing? What has worked for you in the past to get an agent's or an editor's attention? In some quarters it seems there are easier paths to putting it on someone's desk, as in attachments and online emails, but is that working for you? Have you tried to sell an idea over the internet? In some quarters it seems harder to pitch an idea than ever. What are your thoughts?

I blogged on this issue at Acme Authors today. Acme is a consortium of some eight Chicago writers. It's a cool blog spot and easily found via google.

Thanks, Rob Walker
www.robertwalkerbooks.com - new site, new book cover, new giveaway!

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I have always approached editors and agents the old-fashioned way, via mailed query. But there are agents who accept and perhaps prefer e-mail contacts. You'll have to do some research to see who does.
As for selling proposals: If you are an unpublished writer, chances are very good that they want to see a piece of writing and get proof that you can, in fact, complete a book. In other words, you write the book first.
Lastly, it helps if you have some writing credentials, or at least something that makes you an expert in the field.
Good luck!
Even though I'm only 39, I kind of prefer Ingrid's approach myself.

Now, I do send e-mailed queries for non-fiction if the editor prefers them, but I like writing letters. And as a side note, hand written, mailed thank you notes are a rarity and greatly appreciated, so I do use those as well.

I don't know Ingrid well, but I've read her posts here and on another forum for years, and one thing she's leaving out and I'm sure she'll agree is professionalism.

There are "standards" for pitching editors and/or agents on non-fiction and fiction. And I think many, if not most, expect these "standards" to be followed to some degree. But it comes down to being professional, having clearly thought out what you want to sell, and proof that you are the guy to write the story/article/book.

Even with a short story, a good, clean, properly formatted manuscript, carefully edited and accompanied by a professional and brief cover letter, will be appreciated.

I did a stint as the editor at a magazine - a regional type publication - and part of my job was reading the queries.

Here's the good news based on that experience - do a little homework, and if your goal is magazine writing you'll break through because there is A LOT of crap being sent in because people don't know the markets and don't realize hand-written queries are unprofessional and get tossed.
Hi, Clay. I remember you. Good to see you've also made the move. Things are uncharacteristically slow here at the moment. Not sure why. This site has all sorts of reasons why people should come and post regularly if they are in the business or if they love mysteries.
I'll be watching replies to this topic with interest, since I certainly haven't found the ideal answer. I have high hopes for the internet approach and just signed onto blogbooktours. If I can get past my technophobia, this approach seems much more compatible with my basically introverted personality. I'll let you all know when I set up my first virtual tour!
You could try writing a letter with SEX! in big letters on the top - that would generally get a person's attention.

Alternatively, I know more people would be willing to shell out cash for your work if you can show that other people have thought it good enough to publish, just stories in the local rag or writers mags; for some reason it establishes real street cred.
Hi Rob,

I'm not sure if you're looking to pitch non-fiction or fiction, but either way, I would check out www.agentquery.com and www.publishersmarketplace.com . That's how I found my agent. Agentquery especially has a lot of helpful articles on how to approach querying a project. Plus they have a current database of agents, contact info and what they're looking for.

If you're pitching non-fiction, you'll have to put together a proposal (usually an outline, credentials and sample chapters, I believe), and if fiction, make sure you've written the whole thing.

Good luck!

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