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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

What Kind of Agent do You Want?

A recent chat we had on the #WritersRoad inspired me to write this post to help those writers who are currently querying or will be soon. When researching agents to query or pitch to, I often research who their clients are and what they say about them. This is an important part of the process for me because it reveals a lot. Having been agented before, this time around I was very careful in who I chose to even approach because I wanted it to be the right agent, the kind I'd have likely for the rest of my career. It's all about a great match with someone who is passionate about your work.

Beyond that, you need an agent whose working style meshes well with yours. You must know if you want an editorial/developmental agent or one who takes your highly polished work and barely changes it. You must also know if you want an agent with a strong online presence, and/or one that attends a lot of literary functions like BEA, RT, RWA events, etc. Figure out if you want a new agent vs. an experienced one. Both have advantages and disadvantages. New agents will have a smaller client list, giving them more time to interact with you. However, they may just be establishing themselves in the industry and may not have all the contacts a more experienced agent will have. Decide before hand if you want an agent for just the one book/series, or for your entire career. While you'll likely sign for the one book/series, you'll know from talking to them whether or not they are interested in more from you.

The most important thing to know is that you don't want just any agent, you want the right agent. Do your research before and after you query. When they offer representation don't immediately say yes. Ask questions about their style, their plans for your book and you. Remember that the wrong representation is worse than no representation at all.

8 comments:

  1. Great idea to see what authors are saying about their agent. And yes, it's so important to be sure the fit is right before signing with an agent.

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    1. I learned that one the hard way. Talked to clients after and really had regrets last time.

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  2. This is great! As with most relationships in life, just because one works for someone else doesn't mean it will work for you and vise versa.

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  3. Heather, this is such great advice. I'll also add that I think it's wise to sign with an agent who you aren't afraid of. It's nice to be able to email them with questions or concerns, without feeling awkward.

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    1. That's an excellent point! I've met some agents that I would not have had that rapport with.

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  4. This is great advice for those stil seeking a lit agent. But as the market is changing, more and more authors are going indie, myself included! I'm just so over the whole agent and traditional publishing thing. Many of them are lovely, but boy, the often painful process of landing one is draining! :o) But good luck with your queries!

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    1. It can be quite painful true, but it can also be rewarding. The important thing to remember is that we have options, which is one of the awesome things about the industry today. Best of luck to you!

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