Friday, December 02, 2005

The Hunt for the Perfect Agent

Not every agent is the perfect agent. At least not for me.

As pre-pubbed writers, we hear all the adages and advice from the writers who've gone this journey before us. You know what I'm talking about..."no agent is better than a bad agent" and so forth. The warnings are true, I know for fact, but it's all such a daunting task for a writer. How do we avoid these nefarious "bad agents" and dig down to find the great ones? So many are "not taking new clients" or not considering unpublished writers. What's a writer to do? How do we step up and get noticed by a really brilliant agent? To begin with, IMHO, we write the best story we can. No, it won't be perfect. But if it's a good story, well written, and has a unique feel to it, the rest can be fixed. So, you've got the best story you can what? Research. Yes, we the unpublished and learning and growing writers, research the agent/agency we'd like to represent us. How? Several websites have recommendations. Reliable organizations. Writing memberships. So you've got all the goods and the agent/agency has a solid reputation as far as the general public is what? You find their client list and email these authors and ASK. Ask if they would recommend their agent--ask how the agent interacts with them as the client. Ask if they're satisfied with their writer/agent relationship. Most authors who really love their agents can't wait to sing their praises. So now you have a complete ms, researched and the agent is have to decide if they're right for YOU. How? Read their submission they represent the genre you write for? Are they selling to houses you have targeted? (check out Publisher's Lunch) Everything good? Great. Then go a step further. If you have contacts with editors, ask THEM what agents they like to get submissions from. You'd be amazed at how much you can learn this way. It's a scary process, but hey, this is all just IMHO anyway. LOL Now, you've got all the info and you're raring to go. Now what? Find a confence that agent is attending and make plans to attend...and if at all possible, get an appointment with that agent. Why not just send it in? Well, for the freaky people like myself, personal contact is vital. You can get a great "feel" for an agency and their vision for the publishing future by just talking...not just about your wip, but about the agency. Ask questions. See if you and the agency representative are on the same "page", so to speak. (Yes, pun intended) Do you feel a "click"...a "connection" overall experience of this could be a perfect fit for you? A writer/agency is a TEAM EFFORT. It's not just for you to hand over your ms and expect to be called when the advance check clears. LOL That might be nice, but I don't think it's realistic. So you find what you believe to be a perfect team and you're ready. They request your ms! (Woo hoo, great so far!) You whisper a prayer, bite your nails with your crit buddies, and send it in. The waiting begins. Sure, we'd all like an instant answer. I am probably the most "p" word deficient person in the world, but I know it takes time. As if they were just waiting on MY work to come in so they could bring all their business to a screeching halt and devour each word I wrote? Yeah. Sure. Right. Keep on dreamin', baby! LOL So we wait. We get rejections from ones we were really hopeful about...and it stings and it's a bummer. But you pick yourself up and start the whole process again. Or, we get "the call" that the agent wants to represent us...or an email, or whatever. WOO the work can begin! It's all a cycle, a big circle, just like life. It's a wild ride, people....but oh the adrenaline rush we get! LOL

From Robin...who's still on her hunt for the perfect agent, but enjoying the journey!


Mel Francis said...

And once you find the perfect agent for you--it's like MAGIC!

Could luck to you, Robin. I got lucky and found my perfet agent. I have high hopes you will, too.

Kelly Parra said...

Those are good tips, Robin. Good luck with the agent search!

Robin Caroll said...

Thanks...I even ordered tapes of my first choice for an agent from her workshops at conferences. Yeah, I know...I'm SO detail-oriented. But, I'm hopeful. And, if I get one of those stinging rejections, well...I guess I'll just start the whole process over again.

Jeff said...

robin- Thanks for the tips. :)

Anonymous said...

Good luck, Robin :) I know you'll find the perfect agent for you. Great post!

allen said...

Hi Robin..thank you for posting this. This was a great read. Im kind of scared of this point of the process. I know I have a LOOOONG way to go to even GET to that point, but it still scares me! This post has some very good points to consider once I DO get to that point.

Thanks again for posting this!

Dana Pollard said...

This is awesome advice. I too have been on the lookout for an agent. I kind of look at it as trying to find your perfect mate. Yeah, it's that hard.

Good luck in your search!!

Dineen A. Miller said...

Wow, the girl did a long post. LOL! Yeah, we know the drill, don't we? The waiting sucks, but I have a feeling we'll be looking back soon from the flip side, thinking, "Was it really that hard?" And then we'll say, "YES!!!!!!!"

Blood and sweat, baby, blood and sweat!

Camy Tang said...

Good tips, Robin! I like the part about it being a team effort.

Farzad said...

Dear Robin,
Thanx 4 the information :)
I've been looking 4 some great tips, and once again, you handed 2 me 4 free ;)
And, good luck with your search 4 an agent and let us know how the process turns out. [It’s very important 4 anybody who wants 2 B a writer.]
BTW, if you got any tips in regard to writing a memoir/bio, please let me know… I could use some!
Thanx :)

Shesawriter said...

Hi Robin,

You wrote: "A writer/agency is a TEAM EFFORT."

Yes! So many people forget that. It's about the relationship more than anything else. You work *together* on a common goal. Great advice.