What Literary Agents Want to See If You’re Not Famous, Part III

I had a lunch date with literary agent Carol Susan Roth a few years ago, and I mentioned an idea I had for a book.  It was a book on helping the world, but it had a funny title. I had planned to build a mailing list with a viral ebook, and then eventually going for a big publisher.

Carol said something that astounded me: “If you want, I can sell that book now.” My jaw dropped.

“But I don’t have a platform.” That wasn’t actually true. I had my AuthorSecrets ezine with 40,000 readers, but still, it wasn’t a list I’d built of people who are set on saving the world.

She told me it didn’t matter. “With a title that funny, you can sell it. 10 Speed Press loves that kind of thing.”


I’ve since decided to change the title to one that will be more effective for what I want to accomplish with the book. Plus, I wasn’t sure I could write a book as funny as the title.

But that story came to mind when I saw that copywriter Andrew Gall and illustrator Vince Soliven had sold their book to Adams Media. It’s called Everything’s Better with a Gorilla. It uses fun factoids and illustrations to show that any boring activity becomes effortlessly enjoyable when you add a gorilla to the recipe. Two examples: “Having a Gorilla as Your Wingman” and “Going clothes shopping with a Gorilla.”

If you’re funny, you can sell a book without being famous.

The gorilla  book was sold by LaunchBooks Literary Agency.  David Fugate was the literary agent.

Contessa with Carol Susan Roth, literary agent

Contessa with Carol Susan Roth, literary agent

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