Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How to Get an Agent: Part Two - Research

This week I’m going through the steps of getting published. You can start from the beginning here: How to Get Published.

Before I get into the nitty gritty, the most important thing you should know before you send out your queries is that legitimate agents don’t charge you a thing. No fees. Real agents make money by selling your book and taking their 15%. Until they sell your book, they make nothing. Please, don’t get scammed. Preditors & Editors is a good guide to check out agents you’re not sure about.

Now, how to find the perfect agent for your work.

You want an agent who is open to new clients and interested in your genre. The top websites I recommend for researching agents are: Agent Query and Publishers Marketplace. Agent Query is free. Publishers Marketplace is $20 per month. It is well worth buying one month to use their database of book deals for research. After that, you can see if you want to keep your membership going or not. I still have a membership even now.

Using AQ, you can generate a list of agents. Then use PM to see who else the agent represents, what deals they’ve made recently, and perhaps what they are currently looking for (they may post this on their website and/or blog).

Make a list of all the agents you’re interested in. This could be 20, it could be 100. Prioritize them. Don’t email all 100 agents at once. Do 10 at a time. This way, if your response rate is very low, you can change your query letter and perhaps get a better response from the next 10.

Some agents want queries via email, some want them via snail mail. Some agents want a query only. Some agents want a query plus the first chapter. Send the agent what they want.

In the next installment, I’ll go over the ups and downs of the Query-Go-Round and the most important thing you can do while you’re on it.

These are only the websites I used in my search. If you know of another good one, add it in the comments! :)

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