Frequently Asked Questions
What Publishers do you work with?
Hartline works with all of the major CBA and General Market publishing houses plus a growing number of independent houses.
What do you base acceptance of a project for representation on?
A good story that is well written and well edited will attract our attention. Nonfiction titles must offer something unique enough to stand out from hundreds of others vying for limited slots. Fiction titles must be in a genre that we are looking for and the market entertains. We only accept projects that we feel we have a good chance of placing with a publisher.
How are payments handled?
Hartline authors advance and royalty payments are split as stated in our Hartline contract: 85% of all monies to the author/ 15% of all monies to the agency. We negotiate the book contracts so the author is paid their percentage directly by the publisher. This insures prompt payment of all monies. A few of the smaller publishers do not split the payments and send all monies to the agency. Hartline then pays the author in a timely manner, usually within 5 days of receipt of monies.
How long is your contract for?
Our client contracts do not have a time limitation. Hartline agents like to develop long-term relationships with their authors, helping them advance their career. We occasionally do a single book contract, but that is not our normal policy. Our contract provides a 30 day termination option for either the author or the agent.
So the agency automatically accepts all my work once I’m a client?
Normally, we do. However, we reserve the right to reject a project that we feel we cannot sell or that is below our standards.
Do you charge a reading fee?
Absolutely not. We make money only on the projects we sell for our clients.
Where do you get most of your clients?
Most we probably meet at writer’s conferences. Some come through referrals from clients or from writers we know and respect. Some just come in through a query or a proposal that catches our eye.
Why is it so hard to get an agent or a publisher?
Simply, supply and demand. Like publishers, we get thousands of submissions each year. Obviously we can’t handle everything that comes in. This means it takes an exceptional project, one that stands out, to get noticed among all of the submissions competing for the same slots.
How do you know who to pitch a project to?
Hartline agents know the markets and what each publisher is looking for. They have developed relationships with the editors and spend a lot of their time targeting specific desks. At any given time a project may only fit one publisher in the industry. It is up to us to find that place and get the submission made before the window closes.
What makes a proposal stand out?
A professional appearing proposal prepared according to our submission guidelines. Bright florescent colors or fancy fonts will quickly reveal to us you are a novice. We look to see excellent writing and credentials that tell us you are the qualified person to be writing this book.
Why shouldn’t I just go ahead and self publish?
That may or may not be the right move for you. Self-publishing is not bad as long as it is a business decision and not just a knee-jerk reaction to receiving some rejections. You have to know what you are getting by self publishing and what you are giving up. If you go that route, you more than likely will have the sole responsibility for the sales and marketing of your book. If you aren’t capable of doing that, it may not be the best choice. Don’t fall for the line that it is the easiest way to get the attention of a major publisher. Once a book is in print, the odds of a significant publisher picking it up are very slim. Sales are what get the attention of the publishers, and unless it has sold a bunch of copies they want nothing to do with self published titles.
I don’t want to write a proposal, that’s what I want an agent for?
An agent will certainly enhance and improve a proposal, but the author is the one that knows the project best and can write the most compelling proposal. If an author can’t wow us with a great proposal then it is that much more difficult for us to see how we can take what we have been given to represent and do an effective job.
Can I send you my book if it is not finished?
Competition is fierce and a hard enough sell when sending in a project that is well written and well edited. It would be very difficult for a project to be competitive if it isn’t completed. For new authors a work of fiction must be complete for us to submit it. If you write nonfiction and have a stellar platform, meaning you speak regularly or see large amounts of clients on a regular basis, you might be able to submit your book with the three sample chapters in your proposal. But after surveying over 400 editors, 85% of them said, even on nonfiction, they wanted to know the book was complete.