So, your manuscript is spit-shined, polished, gleaming, ready to be presented to agents. But, where should you send it? Why, to the right agent of course! Finding this special someone who’ll love your brain child and stand beside you, cutting through the red-tape infested world of publishing isn’t difficult it just takes a tad of time, just like finding the right anything.
Here’s three tips that’ll help you start your journey to discovering the perfect agent for you.
1.) Don’t use a 3rd party to submit. To date, I’ve never heard an agent say “Wow! A 3rd party submission! I feel so special and so confident that the writer submitting did their research!” And it’s unlikely they will ever utter those words. The writer/agent relationship is supposed to be a long-term thing that takes thought, research, personal choices that only the author/agent can make on their own and a magic clicky juju that generates when two minds are in sync. Kinda like the Vulcan mind meld.
2.) Research. Not just on Writer’s Market or Publisher’s Market Place, nope, though useful tools to finding general info you want to dig deeper. Utilize that ever-so-powerful oracle of Google. Read articles about the agent, interviews, everything you possibly can to make sure that they’ll be a great fit. Why when WM lists what they like all in one page? Because an agent might list Fantasy as a genre of interest but what they might really want is only selective types of Fantasy. Some like high, others low, some like epic some romantic, and so on down the various flavors within any given genre. Knowing an agent’s specific tastes will save both of you time and frustration.
3.) Stalk them. Not in real life, that’ll end with a restraining order or death depending on the agent’s mood. However, stalking on Twitter, Facebook or wherever the agent is most active is an acceptable method of getting to know them. This clues you in to the agent’s current MSWL (aka Manuscript Wish List, search it on Twitter) and some agents post spiffy things like tenqueries or even 500queries where they post what sort of query they received, their general thoughts on it and whether they passed or requested – valuable insights to be had! It’s also a window into their personality, which is important because, as stated in #1, the author/agent relationship is long-term and you must have confidence that you can work with this person through the hills and valleys of the publishing world.
Wishing you the best of luck out there! And remember, the old adage is true – having a bad agent is worse than having no agent so take your time and know who you’re signing with.