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Writer Asks: How do I get an agent?

Leonicka Valcius: Writer Asks: How do I get an agent?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Writer Asks: How do I get an agent?

I would like to know how one goes about finding an agent to help them to publish a novel as my oldest daughter is currently working on a few novels.

(Please note I am not an agent. This advice comes from my observations while working with and talking to agents.)

The first step is to develop an understanding of the publishing industry and the role agents play.  Learn what agents do and what they don’t do. Know what the standard business practices are and what the new trends are. You certainly don’t have to become an expert but you need to know enough to ask the right questions and make informed business decisions.

Don’t start querying until you are ready. Though many agents will edit for clients, do not expect to get an offer of representation on your rough draft. Make sure your manuscript is complete and thoroughly edited. Get critique partners to review it for you or take it to a writer’s workshop. You only get one first impression so only submit your best work.

Though you should query as many agents as you can, it is unwise to simply blanket the industry. Once again, research is key. Look up the agent’s current list and sales history to get a sense of the work they do. Then prepare your query. There is no perfect query letter but you can find plenty of templates online. The most effective ones I have seen include the word count, genre and/or intended audience, a synopsis, and a bio. Pay careful attention to the agent’s submission guidelines and follow them.

This is a long process. Be patient. Be persistent. Keep writing.

Before accepting representation think carefully. Are you comfortable with the terms of the contract? Are you comfortable having a close business relationship with this person? If you are unsure about something, ask. Make sure you get the best agent for you.

Hope that helps!

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Blogger Rhonda's Doings said...

Thank you so much for answering my question!!! I forwarded this information to my daughter and suggested she follow your blog as well. I really appreciate that you actually took the time to carefully consider my question! have a great day!

June 12, 2012 at 11:34 AM  

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