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BookEnds, LLC | a literary agency





 

 

 


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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How did BookEnds get started?

BookEnds Literary Agency first started when two good friends decided to make a change. In 1999, Jessica Faust and Jacky Sach were sitting in their Brooklyn apartment wondering what they could do differently, and it was from that conversation that BookEnds was founded. Originally starting a book packaging company, it wasn't long before Jessica and Jacky realized that they wanted even more. They missed working on fiction and they missed seeing what could come from an author's imagination. So not two years after opening its doors, BookEnds changed its literary status to Agency.

Since that time, Jacky has left to forge yet another successful career and to continue to follow her dreams. However, BookEnds continues to operate with the same attitude as when we started: We're about achieving dreams and doing what we love. Representing fiction and nonfiction for a primarily adult market, BookEnds agents all hope to continue to live their dreams while helping authors achieve theirs.

 

  • Are you a member of AAR or any other publishing organizations?

All BookEnds agents are members of AAR (Association of Author Representatives) and adhere to AAR guidelines. BookEnds is also a member of the RWA, MWA, and SCBWI.

 

  • I've finished my book and feel ready to start querying, what are my next steps?

Please see this entry on the BookEnds blog.

 

  • What is the proper format for submitting my material?

Please see this entry on the BookEnds blog.

 

  • What do you look for in a query letter?

Query letters should always be written in the body of an email and requested materials should be sent as an attachment. Including the following information will help us better evaluate your material.

  • The book's title, the genre it best fits into, and the length or word count.

  • A very brief synopsis of your book. This is the most important piece of the letter since this is the one thing that's going to hook the agent. We don't need to know every detail of your secondary characters, but we do need to know what those key things are about your book that makes it different or special. To use one of our own books as an example:

"In The Trouble with Cowboys, the culinary world meets ranch country when a humiliated chef competition contestant returns to her small town to open a restaurant. Amy's sworn off belt buckles and Stetsons for good after one too many cowboys breaks her heart, but saving her family's farm means trusting sexy rancher Kellan Reed. The last thing Amy needed is more cowboy trouble—especially with a potential business associate—but Kellan walks and talks like the last honest cowboy in the west. When the truth comes out that he's the heir to the company hell-bent on running Amy off her land, he'll have to prove his worth if he hopes to protect Amy's farm and win the heart of the woman who's captivated his." (from Melissa Cutler's original query for The Trouble with Cowboys)

  • A bio that highlights any significant writing experience you have had.
  • Your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and any other pertinent contact information.

Please note, even if material has been requested you should always include a cover letter reminding us that we've requested it, the title of your book, and what it's about.

For more information, please see this entry on the BookEnds blog.

 

  • How do I submit requested material via e-mail?

If material has been requested by one of our agents, submissions should always be sent as an attachment, preferably Microsoft Word (since that's probably the most universally used program), in one file. And, to be extra safe, I would suggest including your letter along with the attachment. In other words, write a letter in the body of the e-mail reminding the agent that the material was requested and that you've attached it. Then include the same letter (this letter should be similar to your first query in that it also gives a blurb). Think of it as your reminder to the agent of what the book is and what made her get so excited about it in the first place. And for those who want exact rules, I would say letter first (including all contact information), chapters or manuscript second, and synopsis last. One file. For additional information, please see the Submissions page for all our submissions guidelines.

 

  • What is a proposal?

A proposal can mean many things to many people. Fiction writers asked to submit a proposal to BookEnds should include the first three chapters of the book (no more than 50 pages), a synopsis (whatever you already have on hand is fine), an author bio highlighting significant writing experience, organization membership, or anything else that might be pertinent to your work, and a detailed query/cover letter reminding us of what you're submitting.

Nonfiction writers have a great deal more work to do when submitting a proposal. Since nonfiction can be sold primarily on proposal, nonfiction writers need to include the following:

  • Overview—this should include a one-paragraph or half-page summary of your book and what makes it different from everything else out there. Your overview should also include a detailed chapter summary if you aren't planning on submitting the entire book.
  • Author bio—since nonfiction is almost entirely about who the author is, it's imperative that you give detailed information on what makes you an expert in the field you're writing in as well as any media exposure you've had relating to the subject.
  • Competition/Marketing—how do you intend to market this book for the publisher? Only give information that is actually attainable to you. If you've already written articles for Entrepreneur magazine then mention this; don't mention Oprah unless you can guarantee it! Also include information on how your book differs from other similar books already on the market.
  • Writing Sample (the first 1–3 chapters of your book)
  • And of course don't forget the detailed query/cover letter.

Please note that narrative nonfiction should be submitted as if it were fiction.

For more information, please see our Submissions page and this entry on the BookEnds blog. Also see our blog posts on proposals for nonfiction writers and proposals for fiction writers.

 

  • What length synopsis do you need/prefer?

BookEnds has no specific synopsis guidelines. Instead we always say, whatever you have on hand is fine. However, if that's not enough of an explanation, we think a synopsis should usually run about one to three single-spaced pages and include all pertinent information about the book, including the ending.

 

  • How long should I wait to get a reply?

Because of the vast number of queries and partials each BookEnds agent receives we will work our hardest to respond in a timely manner. Our goal is to respond to all e-mail queries in 6 weeks and all requested partials and fulls in 12 weeks. Unfortunately, at times, circumstances mean we fall behind in our responses. If you haven't received a response in the time estimations given above, please don't hesitate to send an e-mail to the agent you sent your material to requesting a status update. The e-mail should include the title of the work, date the submission or query was sent, and the name of the author. Any other information you have that might help us remember your book is helpful. We certainly understand that waiting can be the hardest part and thank you not only for giving us the chance to review your work but for your patience.

 

  • Am I allowed to re-query agents if I've improved my manuscript?

Please see this entry on the BookEnds blog.

 

  • Do you charge a reading fee?

BookEnds is a member of AAR and as such does not charge any reading fees or up-front marketing fees.

 

  • What are your fees/charges?

BookEnds charges the standard commission rates of 15% commission on domestic sales and 20–25% on foreign and film rights sales if a sub-agent is employed.

 

  • Are you available to speak at conferences or writers' group meetings?

All BookEnds agents are available to speak at writers' conferences and chapter meetings. They cover such topics as contract negotiation, hiring and working with an agent, writing a proposal, manuscript submission, getting the most out of a conference and pitch sessions, getting published, and publishing today. To get in touch with them, feel free to contact them directly through our About Us page.