Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Great Agent Hunt

Writers have to wear several hats. First we have to master the storyteller's craft (a lifetime pursuit!) and then once we have a finished manuscript, we have to put on our marketing hat and sell it to someone.

If you want a writing career, IMO, you need to sell your work to an agent first.

And guess what? Top agents want to find new clients whose writing excites them. To do this, most of them have very informative websites, complete with pages dedicated to aspiring writers. My agent, Natasha Kern excels in this ~ (I particularly appreciate her assurance that "everything worth doing is worth doing badly at first.") She always gives me plenty to think about and sends my writing in new directions.

Do your homework and comb your target agent's website.

Some even have blogs:

The Knight Agency ~ Updated often, this blog features lots of the agency's clients as guests. Which tells me they encourage prospective clients to contact their current ones for a recommendation.
I learn by example. Agent Janet Reid posts lots of examples of what writers are doing right—and wrong. A very interactive site that encourages you to submit.
Rachelle Gardner specializes in Christian/inspirational writing and has a great knack for blogging about practical, useful topics, such as query tips or book proposal advice.
Nathan Bransford shares what he knows publishing, which is quite a lot! He covers industry news as well as more narrow writerly issues.
Writers never have to wonder what an agent wants. Kristin Nelson’s Agenting 101 series is a must-read for every author ready to send a query.

This list is in no way exhaustive, but these are a few blogs and sites that I've found interesting.

Where are you on the writer's journey? Still working toward finishing your manuscript? Scouting out your first agent? Needing a change in your current representation? (Sadly, things sometimes don't work out as you hope and it's best for both parties to split.) Do you have any questions about the agency relationship? If I don't know the answer, I'll bet one of my regular commenters does!

PS. There's still time to enter my MERRY CHRISTMAS BALL CONTEST! Someone will win a $100 gift card on December 1st, just in time for Christmas. Will it be you?


Christie Craig said...

Hi Emily,

Great list. I might add one on there where you could grab some good info. While the blog covers all different kinds of topics, they do a great job of giving insight on how the whole agenting business works.


EmilyBryan said...

Thank, Christie. Here's a live link for your suggestion! BookendsLitAgency

Sandy said...

Thanks, Emily. Great list.

EmilyBryan said...

You're welcome, Sandy. I'm always on the hunt for helpful sites. It's not too hard to find folks who know more than I do about the beast of publishing.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Emily,
Thank you for the list, I will certainly check them out.

EmilyBryan said...

Glad to help, Margaret. I popped over to your website to check out your books. Interesting settings. We don't have enough Aussie set historicals.

Glynis Peters said...

I am at the point where I need to finish and edit. I want to, but am afraid. I have shared a little of my work on my author blog as a 'coming out' birthday parade. My email box was full of help and positive support from those who read it. I am now ready to take another deep breath and go for it. Your list is just what I need, thanks Emily your blog always helps me stay focused.

EmilyBryan said...

Glad to help, Glynnis. Another thing you might try is finding a "beta reader"~ someone who reads widely in your genre whose taste you trust and who will give you honest feedback (which you will take to heart and weigh judiciously!) Contests are a great way to get feed back as well.

Anna DeStefano (her single title debut Dark Legacy just came out from Dorchester!) says she cyber-stalked her target agent for a while (in a nice way, of course!) She followed her blog, made it a point to meet her at conferences and develop an acquaintance with her prior to pitching. By the time Anne talked to her about her writing, the agent was thinking, "I hope she can write! I hope she can write!" because she already liked her.

And fortunately, Anna can!

Glynis Peters said...

Thank you for the tip Emily!

Jennifer Taylor said...

I'm on my third agent and my debut novel, Highland Blessings, releases in May 2010. Excellent advice.

EmilyBryan said...

3rd agent, debut novel? I sense more here than what's been said.

Let me just add that NO agent is better than the WRONG agent. So tread warily, my dears.

Jane L said...

Hi Emily, Thanks for the links! Ok so I am crazy this month, not only am I doing NaNo, I am entering the "Gotcha" contest eeks! Must be off tata!

EmilyBryan said...

My goodness, Jane! You are a glutton for punishment. Good luck in the Gotcha and with the NaNoWriMo! (I'm blogging about NaNoWriMo tomorrow.)