Recently, I read a post by agent Scott Eagan on why some agents and editors are reluctant to tell writers what they want. At conferences, they give vague answers about voice and character.
They do this because they don’t want 100 conference participants to go home and write a contemporary YA or steampunk simply because that’s what one editor mentioned. They don’t want you crafting humorous middle grade or a nonfiction picture book about pill bugs because that’s what an agent mentioned. They want you to write what moves you. Then they want you to find the agent or editor that is a good match.
How do you do this? It isn’t as hard as you might think.
- Publisher/Agency site. First things first, check out the BIG SITE. See what they publish/represent. If this looks like a good match, check out the individual. Agents often list favorite books and/or sales on the agency site. If not . . .
- Google. Before you submit to an agent or editor, google their name. If they have a blog or a site, check it out. Among the things that you will find are conference brochures if this person was a speaker. Bios often include books published/sold. Check them out.
- Edited by . . . If you are a SCBWI member, don’t forget to check out the publication “Edited By…” It lists a variety of publishers as well as who within that publisher edited that particular book.
Once you’ve gathered this information give it a hard look. Does any of this work intrigue you? If not, give this agent or editor a pass. If so, read some of these books. Are these your types of books? If so, you have someone who might like your work.
The best part about this? You don’t have to limit your search to agents or editors you’ve heard speak at a conference. Now, happy hunting!