One Writer’s Journey

January 29, 2018

Using a Decision Matrix to Select an Agent

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 3:17 am
Tags: , ,

This weekend, I had to select which of four agents to have critique my manuscript at an upcoming  event.  I started by Googling each of their names.  By the time I had read a bit about each, I couldn’t remember which had looked like a great match.  Or had it been two?  And one didn’t rep half of what I do. But which one?

There was just too much information to keep straight. At least that’s how it felt at first.

Fortunately, my husband is the King of the Decision Matrix.  We’ve used this technique to buy a car and select a vacation destination.  It’s a great way to convert information to a visual format and compare apples and oranges.

pb mg ya nf other
Agent 1 X X X X Christian but interested in other faiths.  STEM. URL for “what I’m looking for”
Agent 2 X X Quirky nonfiction. Very into crystals etc.
Agent 3 X X
Agent 4 X X X X Weird. Creepy. Loved I’ll Love You Forever

The first thing that I did was list the names of the four agents.  Here, I’m calling them Agents 1 – 4.

Next, I included various types of children’s books – PB (picture book), MG, YA, NF (nonfiction).  Ideally, I want to find an agent who does a bit of everything because my own writing interests are diverse.  Reading up on each agent, I X’ed what each of them reps.  Agent 1 has a good spread but so does Agent 4.  Agent 2 listed only middle grade specifically although she also does nonfiction.  Agent 3 only does middle grade and young adult and doesn’t rep nonfiction.

This eliminated 2 and 3.  But I still had two equal candidates.

This time I read interviews and bios.  I quickly found that Agent 1 is Christian but also interested in acquiring work about other faiths. She’s interested in STEM and her wish list sounded like a go-to of things I’ve done or am working on.  Only one of my pet projects wasn’t specifically listed.

Agent 4 loves nonfiction. Especially the weird and creepy.  Pukeology would be her cup of tea.  Then I read about her favorite books.  I’ll Love You Forever.  Ugh.  Personally I”ve always considered that one both weird and creepy.

Using the matrix I could see that Agent #1 is an excellent match.  Agent #4 might also be and is someone I’ll consider submitting to after the event.

The next time you are trying to choose between several agents or several publishers and are having troubles keeping the information straight, draw up a decision matrix.  Not only does it make the information visual, it makes it easy to compare several things at once.  Give it a try the next time you find yourself question which project to work on next or which agent in a specific agency to approach.

–SueBE

 

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February 7, 2017

Warning! Warning! How to Know An Agent May Not Be Legit

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:54 am
Tags: ,

agent-legitSince I’m looking for an agent, I’m paying more attention to what other people have to say about their own agent searches.  There are a lot of great agents out there but there are also people who call themselves agents but don’t get the job done.  Here are some warning signs.

First things first, just check for “official” recognition.  As with many professions, agents have a professional organization. Is the agent or their agency a member of the Association of Author’s Representatives (AAR)?  Go here to search for agents or agencies.

Does this agent charge a reading fee?  If so, scratch that name right off your list.  Money should go to the author not the other way around.  The agent gets paid when he or she sells your work, not before then.  Reading fees are a bad, bad sign.

Who do they work with?  This is a two-fold question.  First things first, I’m suspicious when an agent won’t name clients.  That makes me wonder if the so-called agent has clients.

But also check to see who publishes their clients work.  You want an agent who can open doors that you can’t.  A friend of mine was offered representation by an agent who would only submit her work to open houses, places that will take unsolicited material from the authors themselves.  Again, that’s a good time to say adios.

Also, pay attention if someone to that uneasy feeling that you get when you look into someone.  A friend recommended an agent she had met at a conference.  Remember, anyone with a checking account can attend a conference.  I checked the agents website and . . . something just wasn’t right.  It didn’t feel professional.  I never could put my finger on it but it turned out that this person was taking in manuscripts and then nothing.  No one really knows what happened but she wasn’t sending work out, had no relationships with publishers, etc.

I don’t think I’m an overly suspicious person but there are people out there who are more than ready to take advantage of an unsuspecting writer.  Check an agent out and if they aren’t listed with the AAR, want money to read your work, don’t seem to have clients or ins with publishers or just make you squirm, pick up your things and leave the table.

–SueBE

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