Pitching celebs


So I'm working on a novel that I hope will sell bunches but if it doesn't, I'm trying to think of other ways to make money through writing and I happen to have an idea for a humor/how-to book involving a celebrity that I'd like to ghostwrite, of course. This celebrity has a literary agent -- her memoir came out not too long ago -- should I pitch the idea to the literary agent? Or her manager? And if the agent doesn't take unsolicited queries, is that an end for me? Or can I get around that, as this is about another client of his?

I guarantee you the celebrity does not have a literary agent. I guarantee you that her ghostwriter does. You need the celebrity to sign on before anything else so you have to talk with the manager. This will be an INCREDIBLY hard sell if you don't have a track record and you just come a cold calling.

You'd do well to keep working your way down the list of ideas before investing too much in this one.


ORION said...

Let me guess.
The celebrity is George Clooney?
If it's Melanie Griffith get it in writing.

Brady Westwater said...

The last person you'd want to pitch this to is the other ghost writer since - what's in it for them? The personal manager of the actress is the better choice to contact rather than the agent as they handle long term career planning more than agents who are more interested in negotiating the next film role.

And there is a market for this kind of project. When I was a screenplay doc, I was offered a number of odd ball projects such as this. But coming in out of the cold is a long shot; you'll need a very strong writing sample that really nails her voice to get any interest.

acd said...

What if you wrote a novel with this idea and a fake celebrity at the core?

Anonymous said...

I co-wrote several books with an actor and shared the cover credit.

The deal was set up by a book packager. He got the idea to team the actor with a writer to produce fiction. The packager approached the actor's agent with the idea.

I was on the short list of writers in the genre. The list, plus books by those writers, was presented to the actor. He picked the writer whose style he liked the best.

Contract signed, we three met in a hotel room and plotted the premise and first novel in two 6-hour sessions. I taped everything, then flew home to write the outline. The actor and I picked the chapters we wanted to write; I edited it together to mesh our styles. The whole process, from packager getting the idea to turning in the finished book, took about 18 months.

The actor got half the advance, and his face is on the cover; the packager and I shared the other half equally. The packager owns the copyright, but said if I want to do more novels in the series I can. The actor said it was okay with him, too. (They are both pretty cool dudes.)

That's how it worked for me, and my (then) literary agent had nothing to do with the deal. As it happens, during that whole time he was on a crash and burn professional course and I had to fire him.

My "new" (11 years and counting) agent knows all about this, and is cool about my dealing direct with the packager again should he have another job for me. She and I worked that all out before our own handshake.

This worked because the packager set up the deal with the actor's agent, and I had a lengthy resume of published books to show.

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