Thursday, February 21, 2013

Reasearching Agents

As I have mentioned lately I am in the query process. One of the first things I did before sending out any query letters was research agents. I set up a profile on QueryTracker a while ago. This site is amazing. I have used this site to find online critique partners and create a list of agents I wanted to query.

I found most of the agents on my list through books I have read and enjoyed. I simply read the acknowledgements pages, most authors will thank their agent, and I made a nice long list of those agents. Other ways I found agents was through Twitter. I have noticed that when writers get an agent one of the first things they do is make a mention of who reps them in their Twitter profile. Another way I used Twitter was by following agents from my original list. Lots of times they will mention other agents they know in the business. I also get regular emails from Guide to Literary Agents.

After making this list I sat down and looked at their websites and blogs. This to me was important. I wanted to know what they were looking for and if they might really be a good agent for me or not. I also follow a lot of these agent's blogs, including ones I know I will never query but enjoy their advice.

The other week I read several tweets from Mandy Hubbard, about new agencies with almost no experience. I never really thought about this before. I mean I have noticed agencies pop up, but usually they are created by agents with years of experience in the field.

Then a couple days later while going through blog posts I had missed I stumbled upon a blog post that led me to this post by Sara LaPolla about new agents. She mentions that most new agents start out at the bottom as interns and work their way up through the position of assistant before becoming new agents.

As writers I think when researching agents we need to ask ourselves several questions before we query. We need to decide what is best for us. Therefore, we need to do our research thoroughly and know what we want before we make that leap of faith.

We need to decide what type of deal we want. If you are only looking to go through a small publishing house, then maybe one of these new agents is right for you. But at the same time, most small publishing houses accommodate unagented writers. I sent my query out to several small publishers. I knew I did not need an agent for that, so I did it on my own. And I went with publishers who I felt fit the bill of this particular project. I did lots of research on these publishers just as I have with the agents.

Likewise, I have a couple other projects that I would love to send out to agents once they are completed. I think different projects require different approaches. I also have hopes of eventually having a book deal with a large publisher. That requires an agent with either experience with the big guys or the backing of an agency with that experience.

I have also been really interested in new agents, ones within the established agencies. My theory is, they are out to prove themselves and they might just have a smaller slushpile to get through. Plus, they have the agency helping them to prove themselves and make those important connections within the publishing community. I have read posts from established agents who go through hundreds of slushpile queries weekly. *insert fainting here* I cannot imagine having that inbox. 

What are your thoughts on these new agencies and agents? What are your requirements for a literary agent/publisher?

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