A literary agency is a business. When we sell your book, we earn our commission. If we don’t sell your book, we’ve worked for free. Nobody wants to work for free.
Literary agents and publishers care deeply about good books, but ultimately, we all have to make a profit. Agents decide whether or not your book will sell to publishers based on the freshness of your book idea AND your “platform” size [read: fan base]. Your platform matters to publishers, so therefore it matters to agents. Publishers decide whether your book will sell to the public based on your platform + your content.
No Platform = No Book Sales
Big Platform = Lots of Sales
Logical Conclusion: Every nonfiction author-to-be needs a platform.
Keller Media will consider representing you if you have at least TWO of the platform indicators listed here:
- 20 or more paid speaking engagements in the last 18 months
- You are the “only” or “best” or “top award winning” something
- High status in business, medicine, science or the arts
- An aggregate social media following in excess of 150,000 people (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
- Personal mailing list of 25K or more, and you keep in touch at least once a month
- Previous New York Times best selling book within the last 5 years
- Host a radio/TV show or are a regular media guest
- Top ranked podcast on iTunes
- A group of celebrity, business or prominent author friends who will agree to co-promote your book
- Syndicated writer for Forbes, Entrepreneur, etc. – with a very engaged readership
- Signed contract with a studio to produce a movie or host a show related to topic of your book
- C-level executive for a nationally (or internationally) recognized company
- An unusual “claim to fame” that has not already been exploited fully on the media
Frankly, we’d rather have a platform from you than a fabulous book idea. We can get a decent idea out of anyone – but a platform takes effort and finesse.
These criteria may seem harsh or stringent to you, but as the publishing industry has changed in the last decade and the competition for the consumer’s “eyeball” has intensified. Publishers demand that a nonfiction author show up with some of these platform elements already in place.