from manuscript to bookstore -- the publishing process

Finding an agent
Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Read/Post Comments (1)
Share on Facebook
Jennifer asked how long I've been with my agent, how we met, etc. I assume the question was in the service of trying to figure out how to get an agent. So over the next couple of days I'll write about agents.

I met mine at a cocktail party. I was very lucky; this is not a recommended way to hunt for an agent, because agents are understandably wary after years of writers they don't know whacking them over the head with manuscripts on social occasions. If you do meet an agent socially, be absolutely charming, don't talk about your book unless you're asked and if you are, talk very briefly. Ask for a card, and send an email the next day to talk business. If you're looking for an agent, get a copy of Writer's Digest Guide to Literary Agents (that's not the exact title, but you can find it from that). Another good source is a book called Literary Marketplace, referred to as LMP. It's very expensive but most libraries have one. Browse these books for agents who seem to handle the kind of material you write. Or call the Rights Departments of the publishers of your favorite authors and ask who handles those authors.

Your chances of getting an agent interested are increased when you present yourself as a professional. Contact the agent with a BRIEF description of your book and ask if they'd like to see it. If they ask for an outline and 3 chapters (fairly common) then send that, not the whole ms., not matter how sure you are that your book can't be understood unless someone reads it all the way through. The ms. should be clean (you have no idea how many writers send out wrinkled, coffee-stained mss.) and formatted in some industry-standard way. (Writer's Digest has books about how to do this, and also how to write the query letter, etc.) Give the agent six weeks to two months -- most will get back to you before that.

It also helps, of course, if you've been published before, and that means anything -- short stories, newspaper columns, essays. Mention these in your query letter and list them in a resume attached to your submission.

Next post: how to work with and agent and what to look out for.

Read/Post Comments (1)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.