Agent Name: Lindsey Smith
Agency Name/Location: Speilburg Literary Agency
Agency Link: www.speilburgliterary.com
Social Media Links: Twitter and Instagram: @LindseySmithHHC
Nonfiction Genres Represented: Cookbooks, lifestyle, health, pop culture, gender issues, self-help, true crime, and current events. She is especially interested in podcast-to-book ideas, journalists who specialize in specific research, and cookbooks that have a niche and/or narrative voice. Please do not send diet books.
What is your best tip for new writers looking for a book deal?
It’s important to not compare your writing journey with others. So many writers and authors I’ve worked with tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves to be a debut bestseller, get a movie deal, and become best friends with Oprah. In publishing, it’s important to look at it as a long game. It’s part of the reason I like to work with writers who are interested in building a career and understand that the small steps really do add up.
What kinds of pitches catch your attention?
I like pitches that explain the unique hook or angle early-on. I also appreciate when people did their research and can make a genuine connection of why they think I’m the perfect agent for their book, aside from genre.
Also, simply following the instructions is so important. I get so many pitches that don’t use my name or pitch me something I don’t represent. Read the instructions and follow them! That alone will get you far. J
How important is platform in getting a deal?
Platform is part of the whole picture, but it isn’t everything. It’s also important to understand that platform extends beyond social media. Platform encompasses everything from industry connections, educational background, speaking engagements, newsletter lists, and media placements. I know many people who have small social media followings, but huge industry connections and networks that are perfect for their specific book. I like to look at the whole picture and also see what the author is excited to do and how they want to put themselves out there.
Also, a good idea is a good idea. As an agent, I like to see platform, but if it’s an amazing idea, I know the platform can grow and I’m willing to help with that.
What do you look for in a writer’s platform?
I look for their online presence, in-person events, media appearances, and industry connections. The most important thing I always ask is “Why is this writer the perfect person to write this book?” It’s especially great when the author can answer that question in their query.
How should writers promote themselves right now (before approaching an agent)?
I am a fan of people doing the things that work for them. Rather than trying to get on all social media platforms, start a newsletter, start blogging, conduct webinars, and try to do a TED talk, focus on what you are good at and bring value to and then build from there.
What should writers know about book proposals?
Follow the guidelines! Every agent wants something a little different in their proposal so make sure you read and follow the guidelines.
Also, don’t skimp it! As an author myself, I find that the proposals tend to be harder for me than writing the actual book, but I’ve come to realize how valuable they are long-term. It’s basically your marketing plan, back cover text, book pitch, and the start of your manuscript all-in-one.
What other steps should writers take before approaching an agent?
Do your research! Instead of just sending a mass email out to various agents, be intentional about the agents you are reaching out to. Seek out the ones that are best aligned with your vibe and content.
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