Tamela Hancock Murray headshotAsk the Literary Agent

Bestselling and award-winning author Tamela Hancock Murray understands what it takes to get published. She has been an agent for over 12 years and is currently with the Steve Laube agency.

Watch the show or check out the Q&A below.

Q: How can I get started as a writer?

  • Pick a topic you are passionate about
  • Read in the genre you are interested in writing
  • Fiction writers: Read in your category
  • Know where your book “fits on the shelf”
  • Nonfiction: Ask yourself what else is out there in my category?
    • Check the local book stores
    • Check Amazon
  • Appeal to a broad audience, but be specific
  • Blog once a week or start a newsletter once a month

Q: Are a lot of publishers looking for agents to pitch the book?

A: It depends on the publisher. Micropublishing can be successful as well, but that does not involve using an agent.

Q: How does a literary agent help authors? An agent is your first line of defense to pitch to publishers. Agents:

  • Tailors your message to publishers
  • Give advice on writing edits
  • Get with the right personality
  • Help with light editing
  • Knows which writing contests authors should enter
  • Helps you read and interpret your contract

If you are considering working with an agent, choose an agent that knows your category.

Well-known Reader Markets

Q: How established does my social media platform need to be in order to be published?

  • There is no set amount of followers needed to be successful
  • Your agent will know the best publisher for you
  • Agents look for quality followers, not quantity
  • Your active Facebook group connections can help add to your numbers
  • Establish a presence online

Don’t let fear paralyze you to submit your best work (preferably in a word document) to an agent.

Q: Does being self-published help you get published by a large company?

A: No. Not unless they have sold 60,000 at 9.99.

Q: Should I get an editor before sending to an agent?

A: If you feel that you need your work edited, yes, please do so, although it is not required. Agents are not allowed to recommend editors.

Are you a new writer looking for an agent?

  • Look for a personality that would fit with yours
  • Find someone you want to work with as a long-term partner
  • Identify why that agent could help you with your writing career
  • Attend a writers conference to stand out to agents and publishers

How to stand out to agents

  • Be marketable
  • Be knowledgeable in your category
  • Have a fabulous title that draws in the reader

Connect with Tamela on Facebook and Twitter, or better yet, join us February 24- 28, 2016 at the upcoming 28th annual Florida Christian Writers Conference located in Lake Yale Conference Center, Leesburg, FL! 

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Written by Bethany

December 11, 2015

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