Many years ago I contacted the widow of a well-known war veteran to see if she wanted to write a book. We had a lovely conversation over coffee, but it had been only a few months since her husband’s death, and she told me later that she wasn’t ready. I said I understood and wished her well.
Four years later I was sitting at my desk when my phone rang. It was the widow. “I’m ready to write the book now,” she said. Two years after that her book was published.
Books have a way of coming into the world when they’re supposed to, but sometimes authors try to write when they’re not ready. I meet prospective clients who have the ambition to write a book, but lack the vision, the discipline, or the talent to pull it off. They lean on me to make things happen for them, but an agent can only help so much. The end goal of an author-agent relationship is not about getting the book deal. It’s about making sure three things are in place: Is the book idea a good one? Are you the right person to be the author of this book? Will the market be receptive to it when it comes out?
If you can answer yes to all three questions, you may very well have a worthy book project that will find its way into the world. If you can’t, you might have to retool your idea, build your platform, refine your research and writing skills, or maybe give it a little more time.
—Howard Yoon of the Ross Yoon Agency