Friday, April 10, 2009

All my knowledge, I'm giving it to you...

Heh. 

On Fridays. Thank goodness I don't need to do it everyday. We'd be so bored. 

Lately, I've run into many different friends that are having the same problem, and I wanted to address it here. I know many that are reading this blog are querying. And I am totally on your side. Whatever I can do to help, I'm here. 

But have you thought about what you want in your agent beforehand? All kidding aside, I know that a large number of people *raises hand, I was here too* when preparing to query go to querytracker, or agentquery, enter in your criteria (YA, MG, Whatevs) and, printing out the list, go from there. This dreck about specially selecting the agents because you love them would give you five agents, and what happens if they didn't feel the same? What would happen when you have more than one offer (and that is a story for another time)?

Not to ramble (HA! Alex, tag!) my statement is this: from my own agent experience, as well as those friends I mentioned above, I can tell you that there is one sentence you need to keep at the front of your brain when you talk with an agent: 

COMMUNICATION IS KEY. 

It is KEY. Think about how you want your agent to respond. Do you want hand holding? Do you want somebody you don't feel afraid to ask any question to? Do you want to be left alone? (Heh, I can tell you on your debut submission, you will likely not want this!) Do you want your emails to be answered within a day, or a week, or a month or h*ll, even just answered? Do you want to be able to call?

What I don't want you to feel is, after the sale and you've got one, you're afraid to contact that person. Or that person can't be arsed to contact you back. It is a *working* relationship...how would you feel if your agent in turn was afraid to talk to you? 

This is bad, bad, bad, IMO. ***

There are going to be tons of stupid, stupid questions (no matter what your agent *loves her* says about stupid questions, some questions are just stupid, and I'm okay with that) that only they are qualified to answer. I mean, you don't want to go to some agent blog and ask them, right? Why not get it from *your* source of all agenty goodness? 

That's what they are there for. That's why you're paying them 15/20% (standard). 

Please think about what you want from your agent before it becomes time to choose. 

***In the event you are too Americanized to be able to contradict/confront/speak with your agent, I recommend you come and live with us here awhile in good old Germany. You will be speaking your mind and sticking up for yourself inside six months...because nothing teaches you that you are your own best council like an Irate German disagreeing with you. 




5 comments:

  1. What a good bit of advice. I definitely did a lot more research on agents than I've ever done on any of my novels. I knew what I wanted and I looked for it. Now whether or not they wanted me, well...that's a different story.

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  2. Research on agents is something you *have* to do if you expect to ever get one. I don't have one yet, so I can't speak from real experience like JKB, but it does no one any good if you query an agent that doesn't match what you've written.

    For instance my last book was a gaming/military thriller. Do you think I would have any chance at all if the agent was looking for Christian Literature? Not likely.

    Find the agents looking for what you've written, get details you can relate to, and query to your strengths.

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  3. Cindy - all you can do is make sure that your agents definitely rep what you've got, and look to see if they have personal interests that might mesh with your MS...check interviews, which tend to show the more personal side of agents.

    Douglas, you do need to research the agents, without question...the two websites I spoke of actually allow you to filter according to your subject material, whether Christian or Thriller, YA or MG.

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  4. Thanks for posting the agent search tools.

    FYI - I'd be interested in reading a post about your book and how you landed an agent.

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  5. WOW---This post has seriously helped me! Thanks!!! :)

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