If you get a literary agent, it can be to your advantage. We tend to take proposals
a little more seriously if they come via an agent, because we know the proposal
has been vetted by that agent and is now presented in the best possible style and
form. An agent may also be helpful to you in contract negotiations.
However, we do publish a tremendous amount of un-agented books, so agent representation
is not necessarily required to get us to publish your book. We recommend you at
least discuss your proposal/idea with several agents to see if their representation
is right for you.
Format & Presentation
Appearances are important. Your proposal's presentation will be seen as indicative
of the form in which your entire manuscript will be delivered. A clean, easy-to-read
proposal encourages an editor to put it on the top of the "to do" pile. Here are
Barring exceptional circumstances, your entire proposal (excluding sample chapters)
should be no more than 20-30 pages long.
Double-space and use reasonable margins on 81/2 x 11 paper. Don't handwrite or use
markers or crayons (you'd be surprised what people send us!).
Unformatted proposals with many typos are taken less seriously than more well-prepared
Before turning in your proposal, we suggest you put it aside for a period of time.
Then, take a good, hard, objective look at what you're about to submit. Is it a
topic that someone will be interested in? Are people waiting for this book? Will
someone read it? Have you presented the proposal in a professional manner? Are you
qualified to write it? Sometimes it helps to have someone else read your proposal,
whose detachment and objectivity may shed light on something you're too close to
Make sure you keep an original copy of what you've sent us. We can't be held responsible
if something is lost in the mail or, worse yet, by us.