Literary Agents Level the Playing Field

As many of you know, I have had the good fortune to be in the publishing world for almost exactly 30 years. And not only in the publishing world, but in the business book part of the publishing world. For 27 of those 30 years I have worked with such great publishing houses as McGraw-Hill, Dow Jones-Irwin, and Portfolio/Penguin. And wrote or published works on such business luminaries as Jack Welch, Lou Gerstner, Ross Perot, George Soros and Warren Buffett, to name a few. That is, until 2009 when I decided that I would become my own boss and create a unique business: a literary agency that offers agenting services as well as writing and editing services. I figured that two factors would set my business apart from the typical literary agency:

1.  All I do is business books, making me a true specialist of the industry; and

2. I offer all sorts of writing and editing services, helping authors develop whatever they need to distinguish themselves and their work(s) in the marketplace.

Oh, one more thing: I also specialize in working with first time authors. I have a respect and love for the business book world which is why I enjoy educating those special group of budding authors about to tackle their first book project.

I often get the question, “do I really need a business book agent?” And my answer is always the same. You may not need one, but you definitely want one. Why do you want a business book agent? There are several key reasons:

1. An agent with a sterling reputation can help bestow a whole other layer of credibility to your project.  Some of the best publishers won’t even look at a business book proposal unless it comes from a reputable agent. By hooking up with the right agent, your book takes on added and not insignificant authority.  

2. A literary agent can help ensure that you are putting together the right materials that publishers require in order to make a positive publishing decision. This includes the business book proposal, which is a specialty of my firm;

3. An agent, especially one that does nothing but business books, has all the key contacts in the industry to ensure that your work will end up in the hands of the right editors and publishers. I have hired or worked with as many as half of the key business book editors in the field at one time or another;

4. An agent will get you a better deal than you can get for yourself. This one may be the most obvious. An agent knows what to look for and ask for—things that you might not even think of. Negotiating is not only a strength of mine it is an absolute passion. You might find this hard to believe, but there is nothing in life that I don’t negotiate. Hell, I even negotiate the number of toys for my sons’ Happy Meals at McDonalds! 

5.  A good agent sees the big picture. In recent months I have worked with authors who have the potential to write several books. I advise them on which book comes first, and helps them to map out a five-year strategy for their entire writing career. Put another way, I see beyond the dollar signs of a single book and instead see the forest through the trees. My entire future is dependent on authors who can write multiple books that succeed against long odds.

There is much more that I can offer an author but I will leave that to a future blog posting. If you think you may need my services then email me at jkliterary@comcast.net or call me directly at (630) 323-5499. Feel free to contact me 7 days a week as I seldom take time off.  I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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