Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

04/29/2010

Anatomy of an Agent Search




I just read the story of writer Deborah Blake’s arduous search for an agent and found it inspiring along with a few insightful nuggets of how you may deal with literary agents.

Deborah (pictured left) told her story: 2 Years, 3 Manuscripts, and 50 Rejections: Anatomy of an Agent Search to famous romance author Candace Havens (pictured right):

I have been writing on and off my entire life. In my youth, I even sent out a few short stories (mostly fantasy and science fiction). They got rejected. That led to the “off” part.

Five years ago, almost accidentally, I wrote a book about modern Witchcraft, and started my career as a Llewellyn author. I loved writing the nonfiction, and my fourth and fifth books will be out this year—but truly, my heart was with with fiction world. So I decided I needed to get serious about that side of my writing. That first nonfiction book had taught me something important: I could finish a book.

I set myself some concrete goals: I would write and finish a novel. Then I would get an agent. A top agent, of course. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. But I didn’t realize just how hard and long the journey would be.

Two years, three manuscripts, and well over fifty rejections later, I finally achieved my goal. Along the way, a few surprising things happened, and I learned a lot about the agent search, publishing, and myself.

Candace Havens—one of the best surprises that happened to me on my journey—suggested that I share my travels and a little bit of what I learned, so here it is:

The Journey—

I finished the final edits on the first book in early February of 2008, and sent out my first query about a week later. Over the course of about a year, I sent out a lot of other queries, and got requests for partials and a few requests for fulls (including one from Harlequin editor Patience Smith, as a result of my EMILY “Best of the Best” contest win). I used all the Writer’s Digest GUIDE TO AGENTS and GUIDE TO PUBLISHING books, and the Agent Query site online. I also checked websites for the agencies and agents I was interested in, read the dedication pages of books by authors I respected, and started spending inordinate amounts of time following agents and editors on Facebook and Twitter.

Lesson #1: DO YOUR RESEARCH.

It took insane amounts of time and effort, but the research really did pay off. For one thing, I only sent queries to agents who represented the kind of books I was writing. Which undoubtedly increased the amounts of requests I got (and didn’t piss off the agents—always a plus). It also helped me to come up with a top “wish list’ of agents, one of whom was the agent who signed me.

Read the rest of the story at http://alturl.com/aeev

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: