Based in Noblesville, Indiana, Curtis writes the syndicated humor column, Grammar Guy. He also likes to write for startups.

BIG NEWS: I signed with a literary agent

BIG NEWS: I signed with a literary agent

knight agency.jpg

I signed with a literary agent!

Elaine Spencer of The Knight Agency will represent me to work toward the goal of getting my book project (codename Gram Gram) published. Elaine has excellent relationships with editors at publishing houses who will hopefully be interested in the book idea.

I'm excited to move forward on the path of writing a book. I think Elaine and The Knight Agency will represent my vision for Gram Gram even better than I can. We'll now work to finalize my book proposal, which Elaine will then take to a shortlist of potential editors.

The Knight Agency, established in 1996, has placed over 2,500 titles in a broad range of categories. Each year the agency boasts dozens of new New York Times Times and USA Today bestselling titles, as well as regularly receiving genre-leading awards. 

How did I get to this point?

After attending the National Society of Newspaper Columnists conference back in June, I felt like I, too, could write a book. Being around these phenomenal writers, columnists, bloggers and journalists made me want to further pursue my dream of someday becoming a full-time writer.

I listened to a great podcast called Launch. It's a 6-episode podcast by Wondery (I adore this podcast publisher) where screenwriter John August tells the story of writing an adventure novel for kids from inspiration to publication. It was practical and inspiring. It left me saying to myself, "Why not me?" 

So, I found a website that filters literary agents by the types of books they seek to represent and sent a book query (which is a brief summary of your book idea, not a full proposal) to some agents. Elaine responded most positively to my idea, and asked me to send her a proposal.

One thing I learned in this process is that even if your book idea is good, it may not be right for most literary agents. If your book idea doesn't have them chomping at the bit, that doesn't mean it's not a good idea; it just means it's not the right project for that agent to represent. Send out dozens of queries. Rejection isn't personal. Just make sure your idea is as strong as it can be.

Then I Googled "how to write a book proposal," and found some good examples, articles, and templates. I worked on the proposal, which ended up being around 25 pages in a Word document. Elaine and I talked on the phone, and she sent me a marked-up version of my proposal with suggested changes. After polishing version two of the proposal I sent it back to her. Then she offered me a contract.

In my opinion, it's critical to get an agent to represent your project because most publishers do not accept book proposals from non-agents. I also want to pursue a traditionally-published book because the publisher will have significant resources at its disposal to promote a book. I will lean on Elaine's industry prowess to guide me to make the best decisions to ultimately have the most successful shot at getting a book deal with a publisher.

Do you even know how to adult?

Do you even know how to adult?

To infinitives and beyond

To infinitives and beyond