We Love publishers who say, "No!" to proposals we submit from authors we believe in. That motivates us to work even harder and why we don't represent more than 12-15 clients at any one time. Since our inception in 1988, Agent's Ink has sold books by first-time authors to Simon & Schuster, Crown Publishing, Random House, New Horizons Press, McGraw Hill, and other large and mid-size publishers. For unpublished writers rejection is the biggest stumbling block and an almost impossible obstacle to overcome. And it's even harder if the author doesn't have credentials. But that is the challenge that excites us, to represent authors who have something new and important to say that will help others. Why? Eventually, 90% of the time, no amount of money could ever buy the thrill that comes when Syd calls an author to tell them they have been offered a contract. For all of us, that's what really matters, that's what Agent's Ink is all about. Example?
After a book proposal workshop held at a California writer’s conference that Syd conducted, a man in his late sixties approached Syd and asked if
he would look at a book he wrote about his service during WW11. Syd did not know any military science editors because the agency’s focus was in other areas. No matter, he seemed so sincere so Syd gave him his card and asked him to send the manuscript. A week later when Syd picked up the agency mail, there were three boxes of manuscript that were waiting, all from him. The writing was compelling and the story was heartbreaking where most of his Ivy league college friends were killed at the Battle of the Bulge. The dilemma was the book was too long, more than 200,000 words and he had never published a book. So Syd told him if he could get the book down to 80,000 words, he'd give it a try. A year later, the author had it down to 80,000 words and in the next six months, Syd sent it to more than sixty companies and every one rejected it except one, a small university press that made an offer. The book was published and it still continues to sell today, almost twenty years after it was published. Moral? Why our mission is what it is, why when we believe in a book with a compelling subject, we will do what it takes to find a publisher. The word, "NO!" is air-brushed at this agency.
Agent's Ink's director is Syd Harriet. Syd taught English, creative fiction and non-fiction writing at the college level for more than 35 years. He is the author of numerous published non-fiction books and novels, short stories, and articles, and lectures frequently at writer's conferences. He spent years before becoming a literary agent as an on-air host for dozens of radio stations across the country. He was also in private practice as a licensed psychologist specializing in problems facing writers, artists, musicians, actors, and athletes. Syd has earned five degrees, two masters, and two doctorates and became a literary agent by helping students, friends, and teachers find publishers for their books. His greatest joy as an agent comes when calling an author and announcing that his/her 'child' was accepted for publication. In his own words, "I live for that moment because I know how it feels personally." Syd also offers the following: "As a college creative writing professor, I had two mantras that I taught to every one of my students. Mantra 1: “A book, short story, or poem is never finished until you stop working on it.” In other words, anyone who wants to be a published writer must inject into one’s DNA the passion to re-write and re-write. Hemingway rewrote the last page of “For Whom The Bells Toll” twenty-six times. Mantra 2:"If you want to be a published writer, you have to read everything in your genre and in other genres. If you want to learn how to write dialogue that sings, read any book by the late Robert Parker. And it helps if you are musical in some way. Read any biography of any well known published writer and they will disclose how much ‘music’ they put into their craft. Finally as a psychologist who directs Agent’s Ink, I love helping authors and novelists with ways to overcome writer’s block. If someday you get writer’s block, I recommend the technique that is expertly explained in a book called “The Kaizen Way". I know from personal experience because I use it when writer’s block shows up in my life, too."
Please, please, do not call or e-mail to pitch your book proposal. The best way to insure a careful consideration of your project is by submitting via mail a query letter before you submit a proposal. Once you get the nod from us review books by Michael Larsen and/or Jeff Herman to help you with your proposal submissions. Then send it with a S.A.S.E, or we will not be able to provide feedback.