I read a great question on Facebook, and decided to pontificate:
Have any of you solicited agents based on an essay (or essays) that you’ve published and feel would make a compelling book?
Yes. I learned:
- essays are “harder to sell” than poetry, unless you have a massive platform such as David Sederis or Sandra Tsing Lo.
- You have to put together a proposal that is a cross between a nonfiction proposal and a novel proposal- – which are similar themselves, but there are differences.
- For example, in your query letter, the theme of the essay is more important stress (marketing! marketing!) than is the case when pitching the novel.
- Similar is that that the power of the writing the reason agents would chose and essayer novel, especially for a first-timer.
- It is best to have new essays, as well as previously published; again, unless you are “Joad Didion: Collected Essays.”
- Small presses might take a more serious look that than what you might get from an agent/big house route.
Sorry to be so real-world disheartening. In no way should a writer cease pursuing her dream. Sometimes, something gives.