A recent post on R Colucci LLC‘s website announced a success rate of 100% in obtaining a literary agent for their authors. Join Robin Colucci as she takes a deep dive in how this was achieved. Robin takes a look at how they operate, emotional attachments and why a well written and well-designed proposal is key to success. Learn the ins and outs of Robin and her strategy for success. Tune in for more publishing insights from Robin.
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Inside R Colucci LLC’s 100% Success Rate For 2021
For this episode, I’m going to talk to you directly regarding a blog post that we did call A Year In Review: 2021 At R Colucci LLC. We shared that we have experienced a 100% success rate in terms of helping our clients obtain a literary agent who has gone on to sell their book to a publisher. I’m going to share with you some of the secrets that have enabled us to achieve those results. I hope that you find this episode informative and even perhaps entertaining. Enjoy.
What I want to talk about is we put out this blog post about our ongoing 100% success rate of our book proposal clients going on to successfully obtain a literary agent, and then the agent has successfully sold their book. I thought it would be cool to talk about how we do that because there’s some secret sauce in here that has enabled us to have such an extraordinary success rate. One of those is way up there as 1 of the top 2.
We choose carefully who we allow into our book proposal development program. We are looking for a specific person in terms of what ideas they have that they want to share and who they are in the world already. Our mission is to help world-class experts write world-changing books. The implied element of that mission, that our team has in our hearts and minds all the time, is to change the world, so it’s better for everyone and not just a few select people.
The first thing we are always looking for is, “Is this person bringing forward ideas that I can get passionate and excited about and that I know everybody on my team is going to be passionate and excited about?” If we can’t be a strong advocate for our clients and we are not emotionally attached to the idea of their book getting out in the world, then that impetus isn’t there to support their success.
The other element that’s also vital is that they have to be ready to enter into that step. At a certain point in their development, it’s where they are ready to go to an agent who can then take them to the publisher. That means they have to have some real-life experience already. It’s often decades of experience and expertise in the field that they are writing about. Maybe they have got decades of experience in one field but they are transitioning to a related field. That also can work.
There are some myths to dispel here. You don’t have to be a celebrity or household name to get a book deal. If you read the blog post and see some of the people that we helped to get deals with, you probably never heard of them before but they had compelling and unique ideas to add value to the marketplace. In some cases, the bar is probably higher than you would think it is to be able to get a book deal. For example, if you are writing in the field of self-help or health, fitness, and medical topics, you have to have a much larger audience than you do if you are writing a business leadership book.
One of the things we look at is based on the subject matter that this person is writing about, “How ready are they to approach literary agents and publishers?” If we examine the person who is coming to us and we determine that either they are ready to go now or we believe with a little bit of coaching that we can help them get their platform to the point where they are ready to approach agents, then we invite them into the program.
The other caveat that our 100% success rate depends upon is that they have to do exactly what we tell them to do, at least close to the time frame that we asked for it. Unfortunately, for our clients, we had a lot of people who maybe took longer than we had asked to get the stuff done but we still managed to help them get the result.If we're not emotionally attached to the idea of their book getting out in the world, then that impetus isn't there to support their success. Click To Tweet
Ideally, the time frame can make a difference because sometimes there’s a window of opportunity where a topic might be a particular interest but that interest could wane over time or there could be so many other voices joining that conversation that the publishing industry decides, “We have enough voices in this particular area.” It’s important that people are responsive and operating in the time frames that we are asking.
I don’t even put into the calculation people who don’t do what they are told, go rogue or don’t complete the actual proposal. They are not in our calculation for 100% success because they didn’t participate 100%. When we have a proposal, what is it about our proposals that make them more successful than the basic approach that somebody might use? If you look up a directory of literary agents, you would probably find there are a couple of thousand literary agents in the United States who claim to be working agents.
There are varying degrees of how committed people who call themselves literary agents are to taking on clients and selling books on their behalf. One of the things that ensure our client’s success is that we already have contact and good relationships with literary agents who are serious about their work. Most of our agents are in the top 40 agents in the US. They are very committed. They are consistently closing deals. They have vibrant and lively relationships with all these editors at the publishing houses. They are in a position to obtain these deals.
If you are doing cold queries to agents, be aware that you might be sending a query to somebody who is not even active. It’s important to realize that if you send a query to an agent and you don’t hear anything, it’s either because they are not interested but it also potentially could be because they are not that active. I would recommend if you are querying on your own, make sure you send your query to at least some agents who you know are highly active so that you could potentially get some feedback.
Even getting no feedback would give you more information than sending blanket queries to agents with who you are not that familiar with how serious they are. We only share our proposals with agents who are serious and committed to their work. It helps that I have a good reputation with them. If they see a proposal coming from us, they know it’s going to be a good read whether or not they are interested in pursuing the client or not.
Those relationships go a long way. Part of why those relationships work is that we are so good at vetting the clients in the first place. They know that it’s never going to be a waste of time to read that proposal and give us their feedback. Another reason why we are successful is that the proposals are well-designed and well-written. We are always aware of some key things that either excite or turn off agents and publishers. They are excited by new innovative ideas and the possibility of selling a lot of books.
They are excited about certainty. If we can show them some certainty that this project is going to sell a lot of books, that goes a long way. They are excited about the author’s network. If the author has the ability to get other people who maybe are household names behind their book, that can be huge. A big name doing the foreword also excites them. There are a lot of other things that excite them. I’m going to go over what might turn them off. I might think of more things that excite them.
What you want to be aware of is that whatever you say you are going to do to promote your book, you have already have demonstrated that you are doing it. What they hate to see is a big and long laundry list of all the things you are going to do once you have a book deal to grow your platform and start promoting yourself when you have zero evidence that you have done any of it. All that does is make them wonder why you are not doing it now if you already know you should be doing all these things.
They feel pretty certain that you are never going to do them, whether you get a book deal or not. I have seen so many people write proposals who do this. They say, “As soon as I have a book deal, I’m going to do this and that.” I also know from talking to agents if they write back to somebody who queries them on their own and says, “These are all the wonderful things I’m going to do when I have a book deal.” If the agent writes back to that person and says, “I love your proposal. If you could start doing some of these things now, I could maybe help you,” then they never hear from them again. Anybody who has been agenting for a year or two even, it will happen plenty of times.The reason why we're successful is that our proposals are well designed and well-written. We are always very aware of key things that either excite or turn off agents and ultimately publishers. Click To Tweet
They stop replying. If they see that you say you are going to do a bunch of stuff and you have done nothing, you are not going to even get a serious reply because they have already been shown by other people who they might have tried to help early in their career that it’s going to fall on deaf ears and nothing is going to happen. They are not going to waste their time. You need to present a unique idea. It needs to be well-written, professionally proofread, and formatted according to an industry standard of how they want to see proposals.
There’s a good resource besides us if you want to find a good book. Michael Larsen wrote what I think is the best book on book proposal writing called How to Write a Book Proposal. It’s the book that I used when I did my first book proposal that I pitched to Michael Larsen. He loved my proposal. Go figure. We became good buddies. I never even did the book because I realized it wasn’t a book. I ended up making a product. It was the beginning of a great friendship between Michael and me. It’s a terrific book. He came out with a more recent edition since the one I bought years ago. I’m positive that he did.
He gives a good overview of how to unpack the ideas that you want to share in your proposal in a way that’s interesting to agents. You need to show them not only that you can sell books but you can also deliver on the promise of what you say you are going to write about. That’s where the chapter summaries and the sample chapter demonstrate that not only do you have great ideas but you can express them in a powerful, engaging and entertaining way. Those are some of the secrets behind our 100% success rate. I hope you have enjoyed this and found it helpful. Until next time.
What questions do you have about doing a book proposal, finding an agent, and connecting your book idea with the right publisher? Leave us your questions in the comments or visit our Facebook page at R Colucci, LLC. Also, we have a business page on LinkedIn by the same name at R Colucci, LLC. We look forward to hearing from you.
- How to Write a Book Proposal