Authors looking for a traditional publishing deal, who want to get agent representation
So many books are published, and so many more written, that it can be difficult for agents to find the gems among the slushpile (and many new writers are still found there). Honing your manuscript and getting your pitch right, and only then sending it to the right agent, can make all the difference.
Authors looking for a traditional publishing deal but do not need / want agent representation
Not everyone needs an agent. Certain categories of book are not economically worth representation by an agent working on commission. Obvious examples include academic work including textbooks, and fee-paid author work for a series developed and owned by the publisher.
Alternatively, you may simply prefer to pay an hourly rate for ad-hoc professional services rather than offer commission to an agent for the life of the book.
In either case, you will still want to catch the attention of the right publisher with an accomplished proposal and pitch.
Authors with a publishing deal who now need help with the publishing contract
Again, this category includes academics and other authors who don’t strictly need an agent – even legal academics! Don’t send your contract to be checked by your friend the tax lawyer; the publishing industry is unusual and it requires specialist knowledge and experience to get the best contract for you. You need someone with both publishing and contracts experience, who knows what is negotiable and what is standard, and who can fight for a contract that suits you. You should never just sign a contract the publisher has drafted – it can and should be negotiated.
Authors who are self-published or who want to self-publish
If you’ve chosen to self-publish your work and want to publish to a high level, you will need input and assistance – the truly solo author-publisher has never been populous, and for good reason. Although you can learn to format books, create cover images and to some extent edit your own work, it may be valuable to you to hire more experienced people to help you. You will also leave more time to write if you out-source these areas of expertise. Editorial help will polish your book, and advice about your market will help you position it in front of your readership.
Non-fiction: General and popular non-fiction. Areas of particular interest include Biography, Business, Law, Science, Psychology, Humour, Politics, Health & Personal development
Fiction: Literary and commercial fiction in all adult categories, particularly Women’s Commercial fiction, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. No Poetry or Children’s books.