To Agent or Not…

WRITING WEDNESDAY

Typewriter Pink

On Wednesday I like to share information I picked up on my path to publishing, marketing and preparing to publish again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.

To Agent or Not and How the Heck do you Find One…

Writing a book is such a personal even solitary act, a creative process. Publishing, marketing and selling a book is a difficult even brutal at times business process. Authors have choices today and if your decision is to give traditional publishing a try, you will need an agent. Agents handle the business of selling a book to a publisher and negotiating the best possible contract for you.

Before querying an agent your manuscript needs to be complete which includes having been professionally edited by a literary editor. Believe me the editing is not a step you want to skip. It isn’t all about grammar. It is also about plot and character development, story flow and identifying holes in the story. It is an expense and it takes time but it will save time in the end and will definitely improve your chances of landing a good agent and a lucrative publishing deal. Consider it an investment in your book and in your future. The book should also have been beta read by at least three readers. You will also need to have a complete proposal which includes a synopsis and a query letter.

The Write Life has some good tips for querying:

http://thewritelife.com/ask-a-literary-agent-query-letter/?utm_source=The+Write+Life&utm_campaign=a663795067-main_list_11_6_13_11_5_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ae07a22b59-a663795067-96873517&mc_cid=a663795067&mc_eid=c62f5fcd41

I used query tracker to research agents. You want to read their bio and make sure what they are looking to represent is what you wrote. You also want to learn something personal about them. Most importantly you want to spell their name correctly and follow their submission guidelines carefully. If your query is not formatted and submitted correctly there is a 99.9% chance it will be discarded. Agents receive 100’s of queries a week. They do not get paid unless the author gets paid so of course they will choose to work with authors who can follow directions.

The best way to pitch an agent is in person and the way to do that is to attend writers’ conferences, workshops and pitch fests. If pitching in person you also want to research the agent. Learn something personal about them and use it to start a conversation.

Prepare and practice your pitch. Include who your target audience is, the word count, why you are the best person to write this book and a brief synopsis that includes the beginning, middle and end of the story. Have a few questions for the agent in mind as well as a few talking points to use if you have time to fill.

The New York Pitch Conference: http://newyorkpitchconference.com/pc-registration.htm [all genres]

New York Writers Workshop: http://www.newyorkwritersworkshop.com/fiction-pitch-conference [fiction]

#PitMad on Twitter is another great resource to get your work in front of agents who are actively looking for authors to represent. For information on PitMad:

http://www.brenda-drake.com/pitmad

My tip would be to plan your tweets and schedule out ahead of time and have fun with the process. I have personally heard a few success stories from PitMad participants.

Quote Believe in HOPE

Good Luck and Keep Writing,

Doreen

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