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Tips on Getting an Agent


Getting published involves a lot of work, and the actual composition of your novel is only part of it. The other part involves researching the market and finding the best agent to represent your work. If you're at the beginning of this process, the following suggestions and links may prove helpful.

  1. Get to know other writers/industry VIPs and learn more about the business by joining professional organizations and message boards. Also attend conferences.

  2. After you've written, revised, tweaked and polished that manuscript, find an agent. This should involve EXHAUSTIVE research.
    • Consult Agent Query, where you can search agents by name/genre AND find links to all sorts of writing/publishing resources.
    • Sign up for Query Tracker, which refines the search for agents, provides statistics, and helps you build a database to track queried agents and their responses. Also has a listing of "who reps who." (I used this site a lot and cross-referenced with Agent Query.)
    • Vet possible agents at Preditors & Editors—find out who's legit, and who's NOT.
    • Read the "How I Got My Agent" columns and much more at the Guide to Literary Agents—Editor's Blog.
    • If a potential agent has a blog or Tumblr, familiarize yourself with it before you submit.
    • Follow agents on Twitter. They often comment on what they want/don't want, and sometimes they'll have contests or open calls for queries, etc.
    • My agent recommends this blog article by Lilith Saint Crow, A Good Book Ain't All You Need.
    • ****Subscribe to Publishers Marketplace and study book deals. ($25 a month—you might subscribe the month before you start querying. It's easy to cancel.) Agents take note when you demonstrate an awareness of the books they represent! Also, this site could be helpful if you find yourself in the position of choosing between multiple offers of representation.****

  3. Write a GREAT query letter!
    When you research a potential agent, take note of his/her guidelines for querying and FOLLOW THEM. Otherwise, your query will almost certainly be deleted/trashed. (#1 complaint on Twitter)
  4. Prepare for THE CALL.