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Literary Agent Resources

June 28, 2010

The tough, rough, and ever so frightening agents.

I have finished reading the manuscript and make the minor corrections — finally. I realize that I’ll have to read the first 40 pages again, just to see if the deletion of the first chapter and minor changes to the second chapter has gone smoothly. I don’t want to miss a significant detail from the deleted first chapter.

What’s next? After I’ve read those 40 pages, I will personalize query letters to each agent on my list. I currently have 22 agents listed. I know that there are loads more, and I will look for them after I have sent out to those 22. These are also only agents who accept e-queries. I know that e-queries are easier to discard than paper queries, but I still think e-queries are the easier choice.

–> Compile a list of desirable agents.

I wonder if it’s better to send directly to the agents, or to their assistants. Will the agents be quicker to discard a query? I know that it was an assistant to fished out Stephenie Meyer’s query letter, so perhaps they are the better choice. Some seem to have assistants while others don’t. Regardless, I’ll have to choose an agent within the agency, one that represents my genre.

–> Decide whom to query within the agency.

The agencies only allow people to query one agent, so querying all won’t work. Janet Reid, however, suggests querying the others if the first one rejects. She says that if you don’t hear back from the agents within 30 days, one should re-query. She also says that one shouldn’t assume that silence = no, even if it’s written on the agency’s query page.

–> Decide a strategy for querying.

I have downloaded Sonar, a little program that’ll keep track of my queries. I haven’t tested it yet, but it looks neat and useful.

–> Keep track of when you send out the queries.

I have found useful sites to find agents. There’s Query Tracker, Publishers Marketplace, and Agent Query. I’ve briefly looked through them and listed some agents. I’ll take a better look at them later. Then, of course, there’s Google and links on various blogs. I also always check the acknowledgements in the books I read to see who represents the author.

Then I research the agent a little; see what books he/she has had published in your genre, and which of those books were a hit. I read that advice a long time ago, and I always check published books on the agency pages. I also run a search through Google with the agent/agency name + scam, to see if there’s any negative discussion about the agent/agency. This can be done if the agent requests a partial or full, but I like to do it beforehand.

–> Research your agent; see what books he/she’s had published and check for scams.

Task for the day: Read the first 40 pages.

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From → Finding an Agent

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