It’s time to start planning! Do you have a potential book to present? What agents and editors expect first is called a “one-sheet.” It is, as indicated, one sheet and usually one-sided. It should include:

  • A summary of your book (think back cover copy)
  • A cover example if you have one
  • Your professional headshot
  • Your bio and any platform you have built
  • The name of your book
  • The genre of your book
  • The word count (or expected word count) of your book
  • The audience for your book (be specific, not just “all women/men over 16”)

Also include a cover letter and two–three chapters of your book (separate document), if they ask for it. They call these “sample chapters.”

Do not bring more than a one-sheet, cover letter, and sample chapters. Yours truly brought flash drives with a manuscript to my first writers’ conference. No one would take it, although there was interest in the book. A lesson well learned and I wanted to pass it on to you—thou shalt not bring your full book on a flash drive, paper, or any other method. 😊

If your book is fiction, the manuscript should be completed before you send it to an agent or publisher (after they ask you for it). If nonfiction, you might be offered a contract before it is completed, unless it is your first book. If it is your first book, they often want the book in full before offering a contract.

When you meet with an editor or agent, I suggest you give them what we call an “elevator speech” that takes no longer than entering an elevator and heading to the top floor. And unless it is the Space Needle or the Empire State Building, this should only take about 30 seconds. For your elevator speech, focus on what your book is about and why it matters. If they are interested in learning more, they will give you their contact information and let you know.

Note that many agents and most publishers want a proposal in a certain format. This is often available on their websites, but if it isn’t, don’t hesitate to ask them. A wonderful part about Christian conferences is that people there, even the professionals, care about you and are kind. They want you to succeed. They don’t mind if you ask questions. They know and appreciate that you are a part of the family of God. They also want the best Christian work out there and available to the public.

Be encouraged! Several attendees at our summer conferences have started a relationship with agents and publishers at our conferences and eventually received a publishing contract. We are here to support you. And as Philippians 4:13 says: YOU can do all things through Christ who strengthens you! If He calls you, He will make a way. See you in June

(Julie and Sue)