Amanda Luedeke

October 24, 2013

Thursdays with Amanda: Will My Agent Help Me Market My Book?


Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

I thought I’d spend some time today, sharing two minor annoyances that I run into while at conferences…

Since I have branded myself as “the marketing agent” or “the agent who understands marketing,” I always get a few people who sit down across from me at a conference, expecting something beyond a simple “yes, I’m interested in this project,” or a “no, I’m not interested.”

The first type of person is the guy who tells me that he needs an agent because he needs help with marketing and publicity. So, all of the reasons that make most people want an agent (the fact that we can get their work in front of top publishers, the fact that we will negotiate an airtight deal, the fact that we will help them strategize a long-term career), are outshined by his one major need for someone to help him peddle the goods.

Let me be frank, though I do strive to help authors with marketing (it’s why I write here every Thursday!), an agent doesn’t help with the actual act of marketing and promoting a book. We don’t Tweet for you or set up speaking engagements or launch your Facebook page. We don’t create your media kit or provide you with a list of guest blogs or spend time extensively researching your target audience. We don’t do this, because we don’t have the time…and because for a majority of us, it’s not our strength. Now, while I may be different in that I theoretically COULD do these things for you, I chose to be an agent and not a publicist. So therefore, I want to spend my time doing agent things.

Now, I will say that a good agent will always point you in the right direction…

1. A good agent will help you brainstorm marketing strategies

2. A good agent will take a look at your marketing plan and offer suggestions

3. A good agent will recommend publicists and marketing help if asked, and they may even get you in touch with the media contacts that they have on hand

Furthermore, a good agent will market you to editors and publishers! We’ll stay on the lookout for possible career fits and industry needs. But will we market your book? We may Tweet about it, and help you with strategy, but that’s usually it.

Another thing that I tend to run into are people who assume that since I know marketing, I should be able to come up with a crazy awesome marketing strategy for them within the constraints of a 15-minute pitch appointment.

Excuse my while I laugh, maniacally.

While I LOVE brainstorming and talking marketing, it’s just not as easy as hearing a sentence or two about the book and the audience and then birthing a bestseller-quality marketing scheme. And when I try to explain this to the authors who are sitting across from me, pens poised, minds open and ready to receive this nugget of sured marketing success, they have a tendency to get…angry. Like I’m some kind of a fake who’s getting away with murder, posing as a marketing guru.

So let me remind you:

1. Great marketing ideas come with detailed strategies

2. Great marketing ideas are rarely the first ideas that come to mind

3. Great marketing ideas come from a DEEP understanding of the book and the book’s audience

Now I’m sure these rules vary from agent-to-agent. I mean yeah, there’s probably an agent out there who LOVES letting their inbox fill up while they help one of their 40 authors with scheduling radio interviews. And sure, I’d bet if Steve Jobs had decided to be an agent, every single marketing idea would have been awesome and revolutionary and a shade of pastel. But most agents, while awesome supporters and at times idea-generators, aren’t going to be the answer to your marketing needs.

Remember: No one will marketing your book as passionately or aggressively as you. The less you need to rely on others for marketing and promotions, the better off you’ll be.

For a simple, DIY approach, check out The Extroverted Writer. Now available in print!


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  • Melissa Tagg says:

    Dang it, I was so sure you were going to arrange an international book tour for me with stops in all the cool places I want to visit.

    But yeah…good stuff. Love your third point about the best ideas coming from good understanding of the book and its audience. In which case, it makes SO much sense for authors to be on the front lines of marketing our stuff…because nobody is closer to our books than we are.

  • This is so true–that no one will market your book as passionately or as aggressively as you. In the end, as an author, you have to believe in your book more than anyone else, b/c you’re your own best advocate. Yes, agents can get behind your book 100% and back you up every way they can (as a self-pubber) or look for those inroads with editors (for trad. pubbers). I think Playlist Fiction is a great example of how MacGregor Lit works with self-pubbed authors and makes sure they’re getting their names out there. But in the end, as you say, those authors have to be maintaining their own social presence, watching for their own opportunities to bring exposure to their books. Not something authors generally love doing…but I think if you believe in your book enough, you’re willing to throw yourself to the social media “wolves” and try every tactic to draw the right readers’ attentions. Great post today.

  • :Donna Marie says:

    I’m thinking that, although agents aren’t publicists, I feel like someone, whether agent, editor or whoever, should have a checklist of things for their authors, sort of an outline, along with the best books and resources to help them market their own books. To me, that makes sense at least.

  • Lindsay Harrel says:

    While you may not help clients with the actual marketing of the book, helping them brainstorm strategies is a huge help, I’m sure! 🙂 I know it would be helpful to me to have an expert in the field (publishing in general) who knows me and my book to generate ideas and tell me what might or might not work.

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