Lot’s of writers start trying to find an agent before they’re ready. The truth is that finding an agent can be every bit as difficult as finding an editor. Submitting before you are ready will earn you nothing but rejection letters.
How do you know when you’re ready?
1. You have a body of work.
This is a bit of a repeat from yesterday. Agents are into building careers so they don’t want one hit wonders. Get busy and get writing. Then contact an agent. They want to know you have more than just one idea/book in you.
2. You have already made sales.
What? You have to make sales? How can you make sales without an agent?
Think magazines and anthologies. Look into work-for-hire. You might even sell to a smaller publisher or a regional house.
If you make sales on your own, the agent knows you are willing to work at your writing. You take it seriously. They also know that you can revise. If you have repeat sales, they know editors are willing to work with you again and again.
3. Your Rejections are Personal
This means you are getting close. Editors like your work enough to comment on it. An agent can give you a little nudge and they may know an editor you don’t.
4. You have enough going on (writing, rewriting, researching new markets, querying) that you need someone to take on part of it for you. You need a team on your side because you’ve got enough work to keep them busy.
If this sounds like you, it may be time to start looking for someone to help you further your career.