Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ernestly Seeking . . .

*takes a deep breath*

Okay. I put the last touches on the manuscript. It's time to send in that full.

My goal was to begin querying by February 1st. Looks like I'm a little ahead of schedule. I'm a member of Querytracker, and I've read tons of blog posts with suggestions about querying.

Everyone talks about researching agents to make sure you're aware of their individual submission requirements and getting to know their personalities--if something wonderful happens, you want to know you want work with this person. I've heard rumors of agent stalking on Twitter and Facebook to help glean some of that insight.

What do you look for in an agent?

Or, if you already have your dream agent, what is it about him/her that you think is the most important in your working relationship?


  1. I want someone who falls in love with not just my book, but me too :) (Is that creepy?)

    Personalities need to click. I want my business partner to also be my friend. :)

  2. As you know I turned down representation from two agents in 2011 and the reason for that was because I chose the wrong agent two years earlier which proved to be a dreadful experience. I learnt from it and vowed never to make the same mistake again. The wrong agent is worse than no agent.

    Take notice of the language an agent uses in their correspondence with you. You want someone who LOVES your writing, not someone who wants to have a go and see what happens.

    Check for sales. What books has an agent sold RECENTLY? If they don't have the publishing house contacts, then they are no better than slush themselves.

    Does the agent have a good online presence? In this age of the Internet, you want someone who is savvy with a good website, twitter presence etc. Check out their tweets. Are they professional or immature in their professional capacity?

    Query widely. No exclusives. You work for yourself.

  3. I forgot to mention another really important indicator: look at the client list. A good agent will keep their client list manageable; I would suggest no more than 25 clients. One of the agents I turned down had a client list of 85, and it was still growing!

  4. Congratulations, Donna, this is huge! Though I'm still revising, I have been looking over agents. Donna's advice is terrific. Right now I'm at the broadest part of the search, where I'm watching for people who represent the kind of stories I'm writing. Good luck to you!

  5. I love that literary agent cat! Earnestly seeking an agent can be harrowing, so I would advise only querying the agents you're reasonably sure you'd say YES to. Don't bother with any agent; you want the right one. That being said, sometimes the obvious choice isn't the right one. I was offered rep by an agent who reps several bestselling YA authors, but it just wasn't a good match. The agent I chose instead was relatively new, had mostly foreign rights sales vs. domestic sales, and had only 4 clients ... but truly, it was a great fit personality/editorial-wise, and she's at an amazing agency, and it's turned out beautifully. The agent-client relationship is inherently risky because there are no guarantees of what you both want: a sale. So all you can do is make the best decision you can with the information that's available. Best of luck!!

  6. Wow! You got some great advice here in these comments! I echo the sentiment that you must go with someone you feel really go about, and always remember it's your story, your career and your choice.

  7. Never even thought about looking, but agent some people make it an Olympic event.

  8. I have had two books self published. The first went like a dream from start to finish and the sells exceeded my epectations.
    The second book however have proved harder , had many trials and tribulations, but at last they are on sell, Now I find it easy to write the book but the promoting it much harder, Still, nothing comes easy.


  9. Glad you're ahead of schedule. I never pursued an agent so no idea what I'd want in one.

  10. I wish you luck! Unfortunately, I have no advice for you since I'm going Indie.

  11. Nowadays, agents make it easier to get to know them. A lot of them have blogs, either their own blog or an agency one. If you're interested in that agent, spend a while following them and leaving comments.

    Helen Ginger

  12. Yay! I'm so excited for you! Have you checked out Literary Ramblings? That is a great site for agent info :)

  13. I don't know that I need to be best friends with my agent. The only real requirement for me is that they love my work.

  14. I hope all goes well! I've decided that I might not get an agent, Doesn't hurt to try the publishing houses directly first ;). But I wish you the best!

  15. Good luck, Donna! :D I have an Excel spreadsheet full of agents to query, based on genre, personality, client lists, sales, etc.

    Of course, I'm a little research-happy... ;)

  16. I hope Nicole loves it and you don't have to send out any more queries!! But good luck if you do!

    As for me, I use Chuck Sambuchino's Guide to Literary Agents in conjunction with AgentQuery and Publisher's Marketplace, where I search for dealmakers in my genre. These resources have given me a huge list to query from. Primarily, I look for someone who knows and understands my genre and who's sold recently.

  17. Best of luck!

    I simply would love to work with an agent who catches my vision and is willing to help make it better. That agent is out there ... somewhere. :)

  18. I have not found my dream agent yet, but I haven't officially started stalking. I don't want to get ahead of myself and jump the gun. Peggy Eddleman has a wonderful post about this tho. I'll try to find the link for you. I'm so excited for you. I know you have lots of awesomeness coming your way! Good luck!

  19. First, congrats! And I think it's wise of you to throw this question out.

    I had an agent several years ago. I went to a conference. Gave my pitch for a children's story to an agent I'd heard was the toughest there. When she opened her card case and the room hushed, I thought I was in heaven. That's the good news.

    I was so excited and naive I didn't know she was stringing me along - until the day she said she needed $3,000.00 in order for us to proceed. That's the bad news.

    Not totally stupid, I sobered up, told her to go to hell, and that was that. (Haven't looked for an agent since.)

    I strongly recommend you interview a possible agent as much as you are interviewed. If the agent is professional, you'll be respected all the more.

    BTW, a gal at the conference said, when she learned her book would be published, that she didn't ask the right questions, which she said, are: How much? (book will cost) and How many copies?

    Hey, thanks for stopping by and following. I'm happy to do the same.

  20. Congrats, Donna! That's awesome! I hope to be there by the end of the year.

    What I want personally is as was said above, someone who LOVES my story and gets along with ME, too. I know I'm going to need to feel secure in the hands of my agent. I want someone who is doing well in the business but who also has time to hold my hand a little if I need it. (But also someone to tell me to snap out of it and that I can do ______ on my own, too. haha)

    What I love about today is that we have so much information accessible online. I do have a few favorites that I'm certainly going to try for first... but I'm also going to query WIDE AND FAR, because who knows who might be your right match? Your book may end up making you AND your agent!

  21. Well, I guess you could say I cheat. I'm going to self-publish because I was getting to the point where I didn't even care about the agent, I just wanted one!

    BTW, I've nominated you. :)


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