Case Studies

A top agent on her first try

THE BOOK: Memoir / Novel / Nonfiction

THE PROBLEM: Kate is an entrepreneur in Paris who wanted to write about starting up a business in a country where she barely spoke the language. She was a first-time writer, yet highly committed to the idea of doing it on her own.

THE SOLUTION: She took a series of online Barncat classes and was able to complete an entire first draft of a memoir in six months. She then experienced the joys and terrors of the rewrite process. With great determination and Barncat’s editing and coaching help, Kate got the interest of two top agents during her very first round of queries. She flew to New York, met with both agents, and signed with an agent at Sterling Lord.

THE OUTCOME: Kate went on to start a novel and then turn her attention to combining parts of her memoir with a nonfiction book about what Parisians can teach us about ourselves through lingerie. PARIS UNDRESSED: The Secrets of French Lingerie, by Kathryn Kemp-Griffin, will be published by Anansi Press in Autumn 2016.

BARNCAT SERVICES USED: Kate used a combination of Barncat services that included part or all of Online Master Workshop, SOS: The Secrets of Structure Workshop, Book Proposal Package, Developmental Edit, and Final Polish.

An agent, a bidding war, a six-figure deal …
all in a few weeks

THE BOOK: Business how-to

THE PROBLEM: “P” owned a small coaching business, and needed a book to help raise her profile and position herself as the go-to expert in her field. She had tried hiring a professional ghostwriter who came with good credentials, even paying that writer thousands of dollars. The resulting proposal and sample chapter were stiff and uninspired, and failed to capture the spirit of the material. In frustration, P put the entire project on the back burner.

THE SOLUTION: At Barncat, Jami rewrote the entire proposal, restructured the outline, conducted interviews and wrote a new sample chapter. She “timed the market” and actively urged P to step up her timeframe when certain news events made the book’s topic time-sensitive.

Within one week, P signed with a top literary agent at ICM.

Next, Jami rewrote the agent’s pitch letter (with the agent’s permission!), and within two weeks, there was a bidding war that landed P a six-figure deal with a major publisher.

Jami “ghosted” the book (wrote it without taking a byline or claim to authorship), and the book was published January 2010.

THE OUTCOME: Today, P uses the book as her chief and most persuasive marketing tool. With her book as a calling card, she has been able to get publicity in newspapers and magazines, increased speaking opportunities, and a much larger pool of potential clients.

BARNCAT SERVICES USED: P used a combination of Barncat services that included Book Proposal Package, Pitch Letter, Ghostwriting, and Private Coaching. Different combinations and/or a different timeframe would have allowed her to learn to write the book herself (and follow up with a Final Polish).