Where Can I Find an Agent? Is this Agent Right for Me?

14 Aug

Tough questions. Let’s look at the answers!

So, first off, where can you find an agent? These are three fantastic resources.

  • Literary Agent Undercover: This link will take you a list of the top fifty agencies. Once you’ve got the perfect query, start at number one. You never know if you’re going to be accepted or rejected unless you try!
  • Agent Query: This is sort of like an agent search engine. You type in your genre and a number of other factors and it will give you a huge list of agents that fit your needs who are looking for new clients.
  • Writer’s Conferences: These places are crawling with agents! Attend as many as you can, and have a short spiel about your book prepared. You’ve already written your query, so just put it into spoken form, and keep it short. If the agent is interested, they’ll ask you to send them more. When send your stuff, be sure to mention that they met you and requested your work. Goodbye, slush pile!

Once you get that magical call from an agent who wants to represent you, how do you decide that they are really the right one for you? It’s soooo tempting to just say yes, but there are some big, red warning signs you should watch out for. A bad agent is worse than no agent at all.

  • Warning Sign #1: Your personalities clash. Talk to them over the phone and get to know them a little. Do they seem like someone you could work with long term?
  • Warning Sign #2: The agent is a noob. New agents will have a teeny tiny client list and next to zero experience. Don’t say yes to them. They do not have the connections you need to succeed at publishing.
  • Warning Sign #3: The agent has a bajillion clients. They like your work, so they’ll say yes just so they can stick it on their shelf and come back to it when they have time.
  • Warning Sign #4: Do they have a plan for submitting your book to publishers? If the answer is vague or just a flat out no, a red flag should be waving in your brain.

What resources have you used to find agents? What other questions can you think of to ask when an agent offers representation?

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7 Responses to “Where Can I Find an Agent? Is this Agent Right for Me?”

  1. Jevon August 15, 2013 at 1:33 am #

    As a new writer with no agent, I will find it hard to say no to the first agent that comes along. And I’m hoping to attend a writer’s conference soon.

    I take note of agents as they are mentioned on Writer’s Digest. But I will definitely check out those sites. Thanks.

    • Jessica Flory August 15, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

      I agree! If an agent said yes to me, I might just disregard all my own advice… But we’ll see 🙂 And good for you for attending a writer’s conference! I hope it goes well. Writer’s Digest sounds like a great idea, too. I’ll have to take a look!

  2. Jen Donohue August 16, 2013 at 2:21 am #

    I’m not quite to the agent finding stage yet (the book certainly needs edits!), but I’ve visited Agent Query before. Very helpful advice!

    • Jessica Flory August 16, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

      Thanks, Jen! Agent Query is great. Good luck editing your book! Maybe it’s just me, but I think editing is the worst part of writing.

      • Jen Donohue August 16, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

        Editing is pretty bad (though also an opportunity to be very pleased with yourself!)

        To me, the query letter is very, very bad. As somebody who was unfamiliar with the “how to get published” angle of writing, finding out that one has to also write a snappy letter that makes people slaver for your book was a bad surprise. I already wrote the book! Seriously.

  3. Jessica Flory August 16, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    Seriously! Query letters are HARD. Maybe even harder than the book! That was a bad surprise for me, too.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Is this Agent Reputable? Do I Really Need an Agent? | Story Tips - August 21, 2013

    […] is the last post in the literary agent series, and here you can read about query letters and finding an agent if you missed […]

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