My Book Agent

A Literary Agency Getting Authors Published Well

Non-Fiction Guidelines

Our Submissions Process

An author who approaches a literary agent is saying, "I am ready to go to market successfully." Authors who do not understand how agents and publishing finances work or what is needed in a proposal package or how to structure their query letter should do their homework first. My Book Agent does not provide free assistance in these matters.

My Book Agent uses a three-step process for its reviews:

  1. Use Submissions Button to submit your idea
  2. When you are invited, send us your submission proposal by reply email attachments (see, below)
  3. Be ready to submit your partial (or completed) manuscript in the following format (see, below)

The Proposal Package

Most book agents or literary agents want to see the following items:

  • A query letter that elicits a request to see a manuscript sample; this should be between 250-350 words
  • The first 50-pages (or 3 chapters) of story, double-spaced, and copy edited
  • A narrative outline of the entire book including the chapter titles and a paragraph (or two) detailing what is being discussed in that chapter--what argument is being advance, time period considered, steps in a process being detailed
  • Assurance that the manuscript is completed and can be sent quickly should the agent want to see more

Query Letter Encouragement

Many non-fiction authors comment that it was harder to get an agent than a publishing agreement. The main reason is not surprising: literary agents are primary filters for the major and even mid-size publishing houses.

A second reason, although hidden, is nearly as important. Agents expect the author's proposal package to contain the inspiration and information that publishers' editors require. Many non-fiction model proposals circulate; most books on writing a query letter focus on non-fiction examples.

Successful authors treat this nettlesome task as a fiction short-story or creative writing exercise.

Manuscript Formatting Instructions

  • Top and bottom margins set at 1 inch
  • Side margins set at 1.25 inches
  • Double-spaced throughout
  • Mark scene changes with a symbol (traditionally three asterisks) and with an extra double-space before and afterward
  • Times New Roman 12-point throughout
  • Use bold and italic, but avoid other text treatments (colors, extra-large type, etc.)

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