Agent Name: Maureen MorettiMaureen Moretti

Agency Name/Location: PS Literary Agency

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Nonfiction Genres Represented: Narrative non-fic, culture, sports, biography, lifestyle, history, cookbooks

What is your best tip for new writers looking for a book deal?

Grow your platform and develop a unique voice.  A strong unique voice can drive a proposal.

What kinds of pitches catch your attention?

I always say, “Teach me something by accident.” I’m looking for fresh voices, unique angles on either a well-trod subject or something I hadn’t considered before. I loved SO WE READ ON which was like a biography of THE GREAT GATSBY.

How important is platform in getting a deal?

I would say it’s about 25% of my consideration for non-fiction. However, platform isn’t just how many followers you have across social media. It’s also bylines, speaking engagements, and engagement with followers on social media. Non-fiction needs to strike a balance between platform/market/voice as none of these can carry a book alone.

What do you look for in a writer’s platform?

I look for examples of their writing, a blog / bylines, what their engagement on social media is like, not just followers but how are they interacting with their audiences. To have an engaged audience is incredibly powerful.

How should writers promote themselves right now (before approaching an agent)?

Building a brand right now is about sincerity; as we all spend more and more time online we reach toward people who feel like the most genuine versions of themselves. Depending on the genre, bylines and expertise can be as important as building an audience through a blog/twitter/insatgram, etc. It’s also important with social media to understand which platforms cater to which audiences and finding the tone that works for that platform. Facebook can be an incredible tool with its wide reach.

What should writers know about book proposals?

A proposal is an overview of your book, and the snapshots of your writing, concept, and platform should be as clean and tight as possible. With a novel there’s a little more leeway for editing and engaging an agent. Proposals are so short they really need to showcase a clear vision, a strong voice, and an understanding of the market.

What other steps should writers take before approaching an agent?

Research the agent and your market. There are a lot of agents out there and finding the right one can be hard. You’re looking for someone to work with you for a while. Even one book takes about two years. You’re looking for someone with an established agency behind them who will put their name behind your work but also someone you like and whose agenting style works for you and your work. With the market, you have to know what is already out there and what you will be competing against.

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