Marketing plans

Dear Miss Snark, Some agents are now requiring marketing plans with queries. Is this the coming thing or only reserved for a few agents? Can a writer's marketing plan spell the difference between getting a book sold or not? What's your take on the practice, is it helpful or an irritant?

With queries? Really? Yuck.
For starters, the only thing I want to know right off the bat is how well you write, and who'll be interested in reading it.

Who interested readers are, and how to reach them are separate questions in case you're wondering.

How to reach those interested readers may not be something an author knows about. For example I have a client who wrote about a personal situation she experienced. Turns out about five million people are in this same situation.

The author only knows what's going on in her life. She has no clue about marketing books, and she's not hitting the lecture tour any time soon. Am I going to miss out on what could be an extraordinarily helpful book cause there's no marketing plan. I hope not!

That said, there's going to be a marketing plan for this book, and for almost any non fiction book proposal being shopped these days. The central question is, does it have to exist before I take a project on. Answer: no. I know a helluva lot more about sales and marketing than the average author and we work together on creating a compelling position for the book.'

Does a marketing plan make a difference: yes. You'll hear it called "platform" too, and you can't sell most NF books without a good one.


Anonymous said...

Levine/Greenberg is one agency that wants a marketing plan in first-time queries, and there's another with an online form like that (writers usually get a thirty second reply at all hours, so it's not taken too seriously) that wants to know marketing ideas.

I put fuckall for L/G, but still got a request for a partial. I thought that was very good sportsmanship on their part. It's futile for the writer to be stubbornly ignorant about the market ("it's a writer's job to write" and all that nonsense), but it's definitely not the writer's job to come up with marketing schemes before they've exchanged their first words with an agent.

Kelly said...

Thanks, Miss Snark. This is something I'd wondered about, too, and you confirmed my suspicions. I've heard of more than one agent who requires a marketing plan to accompany *fiction* queries.