Monday, March 18, 2024

Marketing to the Agents and Traditional Editors

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

To market to agents and editors in the traditional world, be sure your book is the right fit, create a stellar proposal, produce stellar writing, and come up with some great marketing ideas. 

The Right Fit for an Agent

Agents know what they can place titles they place due to relationships with publishing houses . If the project matches an author's passion that makes it even better.

So, know the agents. Meet them at conferences and listen to their passions. Find out what they placed. Ask writer friends who publish in the same genre as you if their agent might be a good fit.

The Right Fit for Editors

Publishing houses have their own brands and lines, so study the catalogue. Some that carry fiction may carry mainly romance with strong female leads or mysteries with underlying stories of families. You want to have an editor think, 'This writer gets us."

In the proposal add within the description and hook, wording that fits their brand.

A Stellar Proposal

As a writing coach I see proposals that don't showcase the book or author well. You want to honestly share about the book, how it meets a felt need for readers, and what will motivate people to buy the book. You also need to show why you are the person to write it with a strong bio plus lists of what you've had published, sales figures of previous books, awards earned, and especially how you are poised to market the proposed book. 

Excellence in Writing

Make sure others you trust review your writing and proposal. This can be a good critique group, a paid editor, or a fairly well published writing friend. It is not family, yourself only, or an unpublished writer. 

Be sure the material is well-organized, with great flow, the best word choices, and readable for the intended audience. Be aware of the progression of the book and ideas presented, that it works together well and in a logical order. Create writing that is fresh with new ideas and solutions that are doable. Even in fiction, it's not just using the same old murder weapons in the same way, or the same plots, but new twists that grab reader's attention.

Make sure there's a satisfying ending for the reader of fiction or motivation that lets the nonfiction reader feel "I can do this" or "This will change my life."

Great Marketing Ideas

Name ideas and share how you will harness the power of them. Be specific and share results. This is when you build the marketing plan. Here are a few examples
  • Articles. I write for ____________- magazine with a distribution of ____________- and the editor is open to my writing articles related to this book. A few will be (name a few article titles). Or state (if the editor gives you stats, and be sure to ask). (The article I wrote for my previous release had 140,000 hits in 4 days and the bio included the book title).
  • Speaking. I speak for ___________ groups in my (state, around the country, ...). This has included Name (places and audience sizes) or state a comment from the audience (recently I spoke at a woman's retreat of 60 women and at the end one woman jumped up and yelled, "This was the most refreshing retreat talk I have ever heard at a retreat.") 
  • Media. If you can post media you've been on, especially repeat guest spots do that). If not take training and state that you took media training, or state that you have been active with ABCs radio show telethon and they have invited you on when your book is published). Also share if you have developed a list of media that has guests on with similar topics and that you will contact them before your book' release).
  • I have an email list of 1000 followers with an open rate of 53%. Since the engagement is very important, it better to have a good list of at least 1000 that reads it than a huge list where only a few read it.

Unique Marketing Ideas

Stand out from the crowd. Show something different.
  • To connect to readers for my romance stories I'll be doing chocolate and rose parties and will ask my launch team to do the same. Anyone who sends me an email list of ten people who will attend the party will be sent (name prizes or special e-downloads). All these leaders will be entered in a drawing for (name prize)
  • I've already spoken to the museum (name it) about my book and they agreed to have me do workshops there when the book releases). I plan to reach out to other similar museums.
  • I have a connection to speak at (name a homeschool convention) and will have a booth there showcasing the book.
  • My book for kids includes double Dutch jump roping. I plan to connect with the Heart Association for their Jump for Heart fund raising and will be a sponsor for my local heart group. [so see what's in your book that can connect to an association or group of women]

I love writing for traditional publishers, but it takes time to craft the right proposal. After sending a proposal if a great opportunity opens up, send an email with news to add to the proposal.


Karen Whiting (WWW.KARENWHITING.COM) is an international speaker, former television host of Puppets on Parade, certified writing and marketing coach, and award-winning author of twenty-seven books for women, children, and families. Her newest book, The Gift of Bread: Recipes for the Heart and the Table reflects her passion for bread and growing up helping at her grandparent’s restaurant. Check out her newest book Growing a Mother’s Heart: Devotions of Faith, Hope, and Love from Mothers Past, Present, and Future. It's full of heartwarming and teary-eyed stories of moms.

Karen has a heart to grow tomorrow’s wholesome families today. She has written more than eight hundred articles for more than sixty publications and loves to let creativity splash over the pages of what she writes. She writes for Crosswalk. Connect with Karen on Twitter @KarenHWhiting Pinterest KarenWhiting FB KarenHWhiting.


  1. Karen, thank you for continuing to inspire and encourage writers. I appreciate your kindness.

  2. Wonderful ideas driven by experience. Thanks for sharing.