Monday, September 8, 2008

ISO The Perfect Agent

Agents…everyone always has questions about agents: whether they need one, how to find one, what it is they’re looking for, and on and on. I’m not sure there are actually definitive answers to these age-old questions, but here’s some additional insight for those of you on an agent search.

First, Editorial Ass explains here in detail why writers should never submit directly to publishers but should do the work (and take the time) to find an agent:

“If you have no agent--particularly if you are a fiction author--editors/publishers are going to assume you *couldn't get* an agent. This instantly knocks you to the sludgy, fetid, barnacle-encrusted bottom of the submissions barrel. Does your book deserve to be there?”

You might think you’re the exception, she says…but you’re probably not.

Okay, well then how to find the right agent? An important step is to educate yourself about the search process and to learn more about the agents out there (no matter how great your book is, if it’s a mystery and you send it to an agent that doesn’t represent mysteries, you are out of luck). To that end, you’d do well to read this guest post by Lindsay Reed Maines on Madam Mayo which suggests five excellent agent blogs:

“Like all writers, I've spent time deeply immersed in the voodoo art of finding a literary agent. While conventional wisdom always dictates researching them as carefully as possible, how exactly does one go about doing that? I mean, sure, you can look up their most recent sales on Publishers Marketplace, but what does that REALLY tell you about them?

“Oh, it's useful for specific, factual information, (yawn) but does it tell you who eats popcorn while reading submissions? Who hates being addressed as Ms.? Or any of the countless other proclivities one glimpses only through a window into another's mind? No. I think not.

"Enter: The Agent Blog. It's so refreshing to meet the humans behind the letters, and to see the passion that goes into the books they sell.”

Go here to see which agent blogs she recommends.

Like Lindsay Reen Maines, I, too, still mourn the end of agent blog Miss Snark, which deserves a spot in the Blog Hall of Fame!


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.