My last few blogs were about how to put together a manuscript. In this blog, I’m sharing what I learned through my MFA program and my personal experiences about how to find an agent.
Once again, I will break down this part of the publishing process in a list.
1. Look through the acknowledgements page in books in your genre and find the agent that represented that author. The agents you find using this method, will be more likely to accept your manuscript because they have represented and been able to find publishing houses for books that are very similar to yours. They will already know how to market your book. Take all the books you have read in your genre that are good Comp Titles to your manuscript and make a list of the agents acknowledged in those books. Google them to find out their submission requirements and contact information.
2. Look online. There are many websites that list literary agents. They will tell you the name of the agent, their agency, and their genres, etc. Use this information to narrow down a few who fit your needs. Once you’ve short listed a few agents, thoroughly research their query and manuscript submission requirements. I mentioned this in my previous blog, but if you don’t follow their submission instructions, you will most likely get ignored. Here are some websites with literary agent databases:
3. Writer's Market. This is a great non-digital resource you can find in libraries or Amazon. The second half of the book lists hundreds of literary agents for you to choose from.
4.Writers’ Conferences. As the publishing industry continues to evolve in the internet age, the ways of finding an agent have also changed drastically. The last writer’s conference I went to was The Atlanta Writers Conference. All the agents I met there said they found writers to represent at conferences. A couple of agents said they now almost exclusively represent writers they meet in person at a conference. Writers conferences can be an expensive way to meet an agent. Also, they are usually held in big cities so they can be difficult for writers to commute to. The good news is that there are scholarships and grants available for writers to attend these conferences. Although most agents still accept queries through emails, this is a new trend that writers need to prepare for.
5. Social media. Many agents are active on social media now, especially Twitter. Don’t solicit them on Twitter directly or slide into their DMs. That’s rude and creepy. Try starting genuine conversations with them in a way that they can know who you are. You can turn this social media relationship into a real one if you leverage it correctly.
6. Connections. Of course, as with most opportunities in life, the best way to find an agent is by leveraging your connections. If you know published authors, ask them about their agents. If you don’t know any published authors, go to more writing clubs/events/conferences so you can get to know some.
I hope you found this information useful. As always, thank you to all of you who have taken the time to read my blogs and shared your advice and experiences with me. I’m in this writer’s journey with you and I hope to continue learning from you all.
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Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s blog. Until then…
Happy Writing! :)
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