Agent Friday: Andy Ross

Andy Ross is a veteran of the publishing business. Involved in publishing since 1972, he owned Cody's, an independent bookstore for 30 years, works as a literary agent, and is president of the Northern California Booksellers Association.

While his agency, the Andy Ross Literary Agency, represents only non-fiction, a man in the business this long has worthwhile opinions on the varied aspects of publishing. Fortunately for us, he shares his viewpoints on his blog, Ask the Agent: Night Thoughts About Books and Publishing.

As a writer, it's important to be aware of the genre you write. Ross interviews agent Laurie MacLean and provides a detailed explanation of the different genres, and how to tell them apart from literary fiction.

Most of us will end up submitting to an agent's slush pile. Andy Ross is different from most agents. First of all, he believes the term "slush" is demeaning to writers, because "writing is a courageous act. And the activity deserves to be treated with dignity and respect." As a result, Ross doesn't delegate the slush pile to an intern. He reads it himself. Find out why.

Of course, if you're going to query, you need to write a query letter. Thankfully, Ross shares nine tips for effective query letters. Number nine is my favorite.

If you survive the query process, and nab an agent, the possibility of rejections doesn't end there. Publishers will reject your manuscript, too. Having been in the business for decades, Ross understands how to deconstruct a rejection letter to learn what the publisher is really saying.

More posts I really like:
The Art of the Pitch: getting publishers to get excited about your book proposal (and what not to do)
Social Media for Writers: the pros and cons of different media platforms, and what writers need to know.
E-book Royalties: how Ross believes writers are getting cheated in the e-book market.
Interviews: Ross regularly conducts interviews with fascinating people in publishing.

For more about Andy Ross, check out the interviews here and here.

Can't get enough Agent Friday? There are lots more right here.

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