068 | How to find a literary agent & pitch publishers with Kate Woodrow, Present Perfect

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Kate Woodrow is the founder of Present Perfect, a full service literary agency serving clients from across the globe. Kate launched the agency in 2015 with the goal of advocating for artists and creatives in publishing and is recognized as an industry leader in design-driven nonfiction work. Kate specializes in developing visually arresting books that offer a unique perspective across a wide range of topics, particularly art, lifestyle, personal growth, and anything with a practical bent.

Before becoming an agent, Kate was an acquisitions editor at Chronicle Books where her experience spanned 10 years and hundreds of books and gift products. Bringing that many projects from a simple brainstorm to the bookshelf gave Kate a keen sense of what makes a book commercially successful and how to be a professional collaborator.

On today’s episode, we’re talking about the process for finding an agent, how to create your pitch, and how to find the right publishers. If you have ever wanted to write a book or wondered what the process was like, this episode is for you.


  • The misconceptions people have in regards to writing a book

  • Kate’s career path & how she ended up starting her own business

  • When she knew it was the right time to go out on her own

  • Her role as a literary agent

  • The benefits of an author hiring a literary agent and how to find one

  • What Kate looks for when she is scouting artists to work with

  • How she finds the right publishers for her clients

  • What goes into a pitch

  • A typical payment structure for an author & industry standards with regards to royalty percentages

  • What’s next for Present Perfect

Download These Quotables to Save and Share


“One of the hardest things about writing a book is the maintaining momentum and enthusiasm for the project across a really long period of time.” – Kate Woodrow

“I had my first kid and I slowly started to realize that my priorities were shifting and that my dream had changed, so I needed to find something else to support my new dream and my new lifestyle.” – Kate Woodrow

“I represent authors and artists and across the globe and help them get book deals. That’s the main part of it, but the bigger picture is that I am their advocate and coach and guide and I help them navigate the very opaque world of publishing.” – Kate Woodrow

“I work with my clients to develop their book ideas and I sell them to major publishers and I help my clients strategically build their publishing career beyond just that one book idea.” – Kate Woodrow

“Most often authors thank their agent in their acknowledgements so you can start compiling a list of the relevant agents who might have the category expertise that you’re looking for and start targeting them.” – Kate Woodrow

“The first step is finding an agent with the right category expertise.” – Kate Woodrow

“Showing that you can thoughtfully articulate a specific book concept is going to go a long way in capturing the agent’s attention.” – Kate Woodrow

“When I send the proposal and that lands in an editor’s inbox, I know she’s going to open it right away and respond right away. Whereas if you’re sending to a generic submissions, email address, not so much.” – Kate Woodrow

“We feel putting together a very thoughtful, compelling vision from the get go is going to get you the best possible deal with the best possible publisher.” – Kate Woodrow

“Publishers are really looking for authors who are motivated to help make the book a success and reach a wide audience.” – Kate Woodrow

“An author should expect to get an advance in royalties. The advance is money that’s paid up front and is the author’s to keep, no matter if the publisher sells zero copies or a million copies.” – Kate Woodrow

“One important thing about putting together a pitch for an agent or for a publisher is you want to look professional and polished, but don’t feel the need that you need to figure everything out.” – Kate Woodrow

“There are a lot of cooks in the kitchen developing the idea and to the strongest possible book, and so I think entering into it with truly a genuinely open mind about making the strongest book is going to set you up for success.” – Kate Woodrow


Website: Present Perfect | Instagram: @presentperfectlit

Connect with Katie Hunt

Katie Hunt is a business strategist, podcaster, mentor and mama to four. She helps product based businesses build profitable, sustainable companies through her conferences, courses and coaching programs.

Website: prooftoproduct.com  |   Instagram: @prooftoproduct

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