One Writer’s Journey

September 18, 2014

5 Tips on How to Find an Agent

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:26 am

agentIt is probably a wee bit ironic that I am writing a post about finding an agent.  I, after all, have yet to find one.  That said, I’ve submitted my work to a dozen or less so it really isn’t too surprising that I’m agent free.

How then do you find an agent?

  1. Attend events.  Attend the writing events where agents are speaking.  You may think someone is perfect for you until you hear her speak at which point you realize that your interests aren’t all that close.  On the other hand, an agent who didn’t interest you very much might say something that clicks with you.
  2. Friends and acquaintances.  At conferences, retreats and workshops, when someone gushes about their agent, I ask for a name.  I’m still going to have to do some research but that’s okay.
  3. Read online.  There are lots of sites and blogs you can read to find out about individual agents.  Two of my favorites is Literary Rambles and Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents Blog .  I also look at the SCBWI Blue Boards and check the listings in the SCBWI Book.
  4. Google.  Whether I get a recommendation from a friend or a blog, my next step is Google.  I do a search on the agent’s name.  There are all kinds of interviews and the like online.  If ten pages of results come up, I go through all ten pages.  Why?  Because you don’t know what you might find on page 6 (read on).
  5. Look for Trouble.  That’s right.  Look for coplaints and gripes and whithering commentary.  First check Preditors and Editors.  This site lists agents who are not on the up-and-up.  If there is someone out there taking advantage of writers, there is often a listing here.  But not always . . .

Not long ago I Googled an agent other writers were complaining about.  I’m nosey.  I wanted to know what had happened.  Even knowing this agent was a problem, I didn’t see word one until about 6 pages into my Google search.  Six pages!  No one agent is right for every writer but when you see complaint after complaint of non-response, no proof of submission and agents leaving her agency, that’s a solid warning.

Those are the bad things, but there are also good things to see — a client list, a list of sales, and a professional looking site.  A new agent may not have a client list but as part of a larger agency she can use the agency name to open doors.  Perhaps one of those doors will lead to the editor who will buy your book.

–SueBE

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