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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Finding the Right Agent

Please welcome guest blogger Cynthia Eden

Ah, literary agents. Agents have been known to strike fear (and stir mad love) in the hearts of writers. Have you started your literary agent hunt? If not (and even if you have), let me give you a little advice:
  1. Research. Seriously—research before you submit! If you’re looking for an agent who is romance savvy, don’t send to an agent who only represents non-fiction. Or, if an agent says she currently has a full client list for paranormals and you only write paranormals, then you might want to look elsewhere.

    After you check out the agent’s “want” list on her/his site, look up the agent’s recent sales. You want to make sure you are submitting to an agent who is making sales to the publishers you are targeting. You want a savvy agent! So check out the sales and make sure you’re agent is on top of her/his game.

  1. Make a list of your ideal agents. I’d advise against putting all your writing hopes on one agent. Yes, you can have a “prime” agent that you’d most like to have in your corner, but why not make a list of a few agents that appeal to you? As my grandmother used to say…don’t put all those eggs in one basket! Have a backup agent—or several—waiting for your query in case that ideal agent isn’t interested.

  1. In this social media world, you can learn a great deal about an agent through such outlets as Twitter. Do a search for the agent that interests you and follow that person. Agents often talk about the type of books they are looking for and they talk about their sales. You can learn a lot about a person from those tweets!

  1. If you’re not sure how to find an agent that is interested in the type of books that you write, then head over to www.agentquery.com. You can do a search by genre and you will find agents who are looking for your work! You can also see a listing of recent sales by these agents—and this is all free material. Get thee to www.agentquery.com.

  1. When you query an agent, always be as professional as possible. Hook the agent and get her wanting more! Follow the guidelines listed on the agent’s site, and don’t send more material unless it’s requested. Follow the rules, and if the agent doesn’t make an offer of representation…it’s not the end of the world. Move on to the next agent on your list. Or, if this agent asked for revised material or asked you to submit another project, then submit again! Keep trying! Don’t ever give up in this business.

  1. When you make a connection with an agent who loves your work, please, don’t jump ahead and immediately sign a contract without asking some very important questions. First up, you need to figure out just what you want out of the agent-client relationship. Are you looking for an editorially focused agent? A more hand’s off agent? When you are offered representation, you need to be clear about this to make certain that your needs will be met. Just because one agent is 100% perfect for your BFF, well, that doesn’t mean the agent will be perfect for you. You have to follow the agent path that is best for you—and that means finding an agent who will meet all of your needs.

  1. Finding an agent that is book-focused versus finding an agent that is career-focused.

    When I signed with my agent, I wanted someone who would see the big picture with my work. I didn’t want someone who only wanted to sell the current book I was pitching. I wanted her to help me work toward my career goals. So when you are searching for your agent, keep that in mind…career or book?

  1. Also…review any offered agent contract carefully. Don’t understand some of those clauses? Ask what they mean! This is your life. Don’t just sign it away.

  1. So you talked to the agent and he/she seems like a perfect fit. You’re of the same editorial mindset and you’ve got great career plans. You’re ready to sign with her…

    WAIT!

    Before you sign, why not take the time to talk to some of the agent’s other clients? Most agents have a client list on their websites. Shoot off a few emails and get the inside scoop (so to speak). You can also check out the editor on the Predators and Editors website (I always recommend checking around to get as much information as possible).

    After all, knowledge truly is power. Especially in our business!

    Okay, now you’re armed with agent knowledge. Any questions? J

    Good luck finding your perfect agent!

Cynthia Eden
www.cynthiaeden.com
I'LL BE SLAYING YOU--Available 06/29/10 from Kensington Brava
DEADLY FEAR--Available 08/1/10 from Grand Central Publishing (Forever)


Cynthia Eden is an award-winning author of paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Her publishers include: Kensington Brava, Grand Central Publishing, Avon Red, Red Sage, and ImaJinn Books. 



Eternal Hunter

Cynthia Eden delves into the dark realms of the Others, where desires and dangerous games await the unsuspecting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Assistant DA Erin Jerome has a secret. Make that two. One: She’s not entirely human–she’s Other, desperately trying to keep her supernatural strength under wraps. Two: she’s got a killer stalking her–an Other rogue set on “gifting” her bloody corpses, not to mention nights lying awake in terror. Small wonder she’s been having bad luck with men.

But the bounty hunter on her new case isn’t worried about any of that. Jude Donovan is a shapeshifter himself, and the new DA’s midnight hair and addictive scent tell him all he thinks he needs to know: She’s gorgeous, she’s definitely not human, and she’s bringing out the animal in him in a really good way. He might have to track a psychotic Other stalker through half of Louisiana. But he might also get the chance to watch Erin’s wild side come out and play.

12 comments:

Danica said...

Cynthia, all wonderful, wonderful advice.

I have a list of agents I'd like to work with, having checked to see who they represent and reading those authors so I can see how my work would fit in. I haven't found an agent yet, but I'm definitely keeping this advice in mind when I do!

Thank you!!

Edie Ramer said...

Great advice, Cynthia! I once contacted a client listed on the agent's webpage, only to find out she had fired the agent. She gave me the scoop on why she did so, saving me from a bad experience.

Cynthia Eden said...

Hi, Danica! Thank you--and good luck with your hunt! :-)

Thanks, Edie! Are you currently hunting for an agent? I know you've been a busy writer!

Rebecca said...

Nicely said, Cynthia! I especially like number 5 - don't give up. I know several authors, myself included, who were signed by an agent who had rejected a previous book. Persistence does pay off in this business. Great post!

LynnRush said...

Great advice!

Cynthia Eden said...

Oh, Rebecca, you are so right! Persistence pays!

Thanks, Lynn!

Sayde Gace said...

So Ms. Fantastically agented Cynthia Eden :) what about when you are submitted something to an editor said editor offers a contract but your dream agent is closed for submissions? Should you email them anyway?

Dawn Chartier said...

I was so glad to see your post, because I'm about to start my hunt.

Thanks,
Dawn Chartier

RK said...

Thanks for the great advice and the encouragement. :)

Rashda

Cynthia Eden said...

Good luck with your hunt, Dawn!

Thank you, Rashda!

Wynter Daniels said...

Thanks for that great info and advice.

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