Last week, Laura Howard, an Indie author, asked whether I would write about what an agent looks for when offering representation to someone who is in the self-published community. Since we represent a significant number of authors who originally were/are self-published, I was delighted to accept her request.
The first thing I look for in any author, self-published or not, is the quality of the writing. If the work is poorly written, then we cannot represent it no matter how strong the sales are initially (substandard writing will not sustain high sales in my opinion).
An author’s sales numbers and how they build over time are also very important. Unit sales are critical but so is the author’s position on the lists of the various e-tailers—Amazon.com; BN.com, etc. A prolific author will often see each subsequent book in a series build up the sales of the previous books.
The author must be very active on social media—having an effective, accessible website and/or blog is important, as is a solid presence on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and other networking sites. Positive reviews of the author’s self-published books by the target readership are critical as is a willingness to interact with and be supportive of other writers in his/her category.
Finally, I always like to talk with prospective self-published clients to make sure that what we think we can offer them matches their expectations; we try never to over-promise although we do assure all of our clients that we will do our very best to help them build their careers and have a positive experience doing so.
The goal is to sign up writers who have a solid future in Indie and traditional publishing, or a mixture of both. So far, it’s working out very well for us and we’ve learned a tremendous amount. I am happy to answer any questions regarding this subject which is becoming an important one in our business. Let me hear from you.