Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Why Agent Spotlight

Why the focus on agents lately? Well, because I'm now on the hunt for MY perfect agent. These interviews, I hope, will enlighten writers who are searching and seeking. I've posted my ideas on agent-hunting before, and I'm re-posting now to reiterate my thoughts. Please feel free to chime in with your ideas. . .your experiences with finding/searching for an agent. . .the good, the bad, and the ugly!

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 So many are "not taking new clients" or not considering unpublished writers.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 write...now 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 Yes, we, the unpublished and learning and growing writers, research the agent/agency we'd like to represent us.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 concerned...now 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 stellar....you have to decide if they're right for YOU. How? Read their submission guidelines...do 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 conference 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"...an 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 HOO....now 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!

18 comments:

Dana Pollard said...

Awesome advice. And yes, I took notes...

c.rooney said...

I wish we could sit back and have agents fight over us. But that's never going to be the case, is it?

Robin Caroll said...

Dana...just wait til you see the lineup! I think you'll be impressed!

C. Rooney...wouldn't that be nice? I've only heard of that actually happening twice! Hmm...I'd say the odds are very much stacked against it occurring! LOL

Stay tuned, guys...this is gonna be very informative!

Camy Tang said...

Good advice, Robin! It's true, we as writers really need to do our homework and make an effort in order to find the right agent for ourselves.

Camy

Jeff said...

Great advice! Thanks, Robin. :)

KT said...

Awesome advice. I was insanely lucky in that my published work came to me before I got an agent, but the terrifying contract nastiness that has happened since has made me more than a little concerned at stepping back into the publishing waters without having one. (See: Petty publishing rivalries, and off the record bonuses leaving one really quite uncertain of where you stand. And all before I was 21, awesome.)

Looking forward to reading the rest of this. It's a thing I know nothing about.

Kelly Parra said...

Good luck with your agent search, Robin. It's a tough ride but worth it in the end when you find the right one for you. =D

Shesawriter said...

Great advice, Robin. And I've no doubt you'll find the perfect agent for you.

Tanya

Michele said...

Informative post.
Thanks for sharing!

BTW-as this is Wed. and I saw your comment on my blog...
Hope you feel better soon!!
I think you caught it from that 3rd post down :-)

Make sure you have plenty of chicken soup!!! with LOTS of garlic and onion. Nature's tag-team germ fighter. Awesome!

Robin Caroll said...

Camy...I hope this agent spotlight will writers a little in finding their perfect match to an agent.

Jeff...thanks. I hope writers who visit find it useful.

Kt...thanks for dropping by! I hope these interviews will help give writers a little "insight" as to which agents they're interested in.

Kelly & Tanya--thanks! I hope I do find the perfect match...and uh, SOON! LOL

Thanks Michele....still feel yucky, but at least the fever's broke. For now anyway! LOL

Edie said...

Robin, I'm eager to read your first interview. :)

Robin Caroll said...

Edie...I hope to have it posted up early in the week!

jason evans said...

Best of luck in querying, Robin. Such a tedious process...yet fun in a sick way.

The Beautiful Schoolmarm said...

I found your blog after visiting Pub Rants. I'm doing the waiting game right now (and I am very bad at it). Thank you for such an informative blog.

It's nice to hear that other writers feel the same tension about submitting as I do.

Heather Diane Tipton said...

hey...ever hear of a thing called a paragraph?? LOL That was one long paragraph toots!

Bonnie Ferguson said...

Great post, Robin :)

Robin Caroll said...

Thanks, Jason. It IS a tedious process, but I think it's necessary so we don't just take the first offer to come around. Been there and done that...don't want to fall into THAT trap again! UGH

Hi Becca, thanks for visiting! I hope you'll come back again after I've posted some of the interviews! :)

Heather...I cut and pasted and I have the flu....give me a break, woman! LOL

Paula said...

This whole waiting game isn't fun, but I just keep praying and hanging on for the ride . . .