Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Ask O: How Do I Get an Agent Part 2
Happy Wednesday my writing friends,
Last week I gave you my preliminary thoughts on getting an agent: 1) Remember the agent/client relationship is based on mutual trust and respect, 2) Be patient. Becoming a great writer (one an agent will love to represent) takes time.
Now here are my three final thoughts.
3) Write with extreme awesomeness. Obvious perhaps, but agents, editors, booksellers, and readers all want the same thing—an amazing read. So ingest those writing books (and blogs), go to workshops, listen to tapes, write every chance you get--anything it takes to improve. When an agent sees your amazing manuscript, she’ll pounce on it.
4) Go to writers conferences. These fun and exciting events are where you meet agents, see what they’re like, what types of clients they represent, and can decide if you have a connection. Years ago (2001) I first went to the Mt. Hermon Writers Conference. That’s when I met agent Janet Grant. I went to her workshop and thought she was delightful. From then on, I dreamed of having her represent me. I sent proposals and she rejected them. But finally, in 2007, she said yes! It all started at a conference.
5) Get published. It seems backwards, but agents like to take on clients that already have editors interested. It's even better if the client has a contract in hand. I’ve seen this several times. One friend of mine self published a book on health. It sold so well that a publisher offered to contract her. She called me, lost, having no idea if it was a fair contract or not. What do you think I told her? “You need an agent!” And guess what? She signed with one within a couple weeks.
Also, have you seen those anthologies? These books have four novellas, written by different authors. Usually, there are one or two “known” authors, and one or two “unknowns.” Once a contract comes, the unknowns gain a bit more clout and often find it easier to catch an agent’s attention.