I must say it’s been an exciting past two weeks, as I traveled about the United States in search of quality information regarding Literary Agents. You cannot imagine the gaiety involved.
“My experience was that I didn’t have any luck finding one until after I had a deal on the table. Then I queried several and, after emailing back and forth and getting to know each other, ended up with Wes Yoder of Ambassador Literary Agency. He’s been a great fit for me and that’s really the best advice I have. Find a good fit.”
Tis a recurring theme, don’t you think. “Find a good fit”. But, as my research has uncovered, a good fit may not happen the very first time around. Knowing what one wants and learning more about the particular agents in whom one is interested, is the first way to uncover a good fit.
Calm and kind Siri Mitchell took the time to answer my questions, even though she was celebrating the release of her newest novel, A Heart Most Worthy. Ever the lady, she offered me a spot of Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate, which I couldn’t deny. It was heavenly.
Here are her nuggets of wisdom about literary agents:
I feel like agenting is about building and maintaining relationships. Therefore, you need to sign with an agent who already sells to the house you want to work with. To do this, you really need to do your homework.Look at an agent's client list to not only see if they have clients whose work is similar to yours but also to which houses they frequently sell. It pays to ask around about an agent's reputation (yes, even in the CBA!). I've asked my editors who they feel are good agents in terms of forwarding proposals that fit their interests and in advocating on their clients' behalf.
You should also find an agent who is willing to talk about and actively participate in career development. Don't waste those one-on-one conference appointments with agents and editors! Even if they're not interested in your manuscript, ask them who they consider to be the best agents in the business
Does anyone else catch the faintest hint of a theme in these comments? ‘relationships’ ‘conferences’, ‘fit’.
Deb Raney. With the warmth of a mum, she welcomed me into conversation and immediately put me at ease. Here is the cover for her June release, Forever After. Her advice continues with the same advice as before.
Her words of wisdom?
1. Keep in mind that a good agent for your best writer buddy may not be the best one for you. Personalities come into play, and different writers want different things from an agent.
2. Decide what you need from an agent and choose accordingly. Some agents excel at career planning, some are great first readers/editors, others are ace encouragers and hand-holders, still others are best at organizational skills or negotiating. Decide where your strengths and weaknesses are and find an agent who fills in where you are lacking.
3. Don't rush into the first offer that comes along. Once you have an offer for representation, talk to some of that agent's clients to learn about their style of agenting.
Patti Lacy, who is thrilled with the release of her newest novel, Rhythm of Secrets. Her advice is succinct and thoughtful, from her wealth of experience.
1. One who loves your writing.
2. One whom YOU love.
3. One who can get phone calls returned pronto. In other words, A Presence.
Well ducks, I’m quite finished for now. Perhaps, the lovely Alley Cats will invite me back again when I have some more juicy tidbits of information to share. Should you all be curious about another topic, feel free pass the question along.
For now, sit back, read the wisdom from some lovely authors, and enjoy the tea and Victorian Sponge Cake.