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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Answer my question?

I'm going to be an active participant in Deana Barnhart's Find an Agent Blog-a-Rama. So this week here is my deep, weird, probing question:

How can you really tell if an agent is truly great for your book? We can all find little snip-its about various agents online here and there, but how do you really know them? Do you pick an agent with a great client list--or will they be too busy for you? Do you pick a new hungry agent with less experience? How do you really know who to query and pick? Prayer?

Some one in the great blog-o-sphere must have a little advice. I'm all ears--or eyes.

9 comments:

Small Town Shelly Brown said...

Being the expert that I am *cough cough* I would have to say that you query to agents who's bios say they are looking for material like you have written. When you have been offered representation you should ask around before accepting. This is where having author friends comes in handy.
The best way to get representation is by referal in the first place but few of us will be so lucky :)
So, there you go! The blind leading the blind :)

Pierce Family said...

I would like to suggest the children's rhyme...

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch the tiger by the toe.
If he hollers let him go,
eeny, meeny, miny, moe.

but then again... this method didn't help me during the ACT test.

mooderino said...

You might consider asking them what plans they have for your book and if they have definite ideas how to proceed with your book (that you like the sound of) I think that's a good sign.

mood
My blogorama question is up at Moody Writing
@mooderino

Christina Mercer said...

Ah, the agent hunt... First, I do lots of research on what the particular agent is looking for, the agent's bio, what books he/she represents, etc. I always love finding interviews on prospective agents, and lately, I've been stalking...er...following some on twitter to get another glimpse of their style ;-)

Kristi Bernard said...

I would take a chance on a newbie. Who knows, we may get famous together.

Emily Rittel-King said...

I was using queryshark.com and agentquery.com, but neither tell you much more than the basics. Then I came across this blog http://caseylmccormick.blogspot.com/
It has current information on agents beyond the basics. I use agentquery.com to narrow down my results, then cross-reference my list of agents with this blog. I hope you find it useful!

Christine Danek said...

I use the sites Emily commented about, but I've been told trust your gut. I know, not the best advice, but that's what I've been told.
Good luck!

Michelle Fayard said...

Hi, Angie,

Whenever I read a book that resonates with me strongly, I do some research to see if I can learn who the editor and agent are. Then I see if they accept the genre I write. If so, I start reading books by the authors they've repped. I also rely heavily on agentquery.com and http://caseylmccormick.blogspot.com/ to get a feel about what others have experienced with my prospective leads.

I also look to see if they're an editorial agent, as that means a lot to me. I'd also ask how many other authors they're currently repping, because that probably would better address the concern of whether an agent with a great client list would have time for me; their client list could be hot, but the agent could have time to take me on.

I wouldn't mind having a new agent if they met all of my other criteria; most new agents are in an agency with other, more-experienced colleagues, so I feel comfortable that my agent would be able to pick their brains if needed. Besides, passion and energy mean a lot.

Other questions to ask could include:
- What publishers do you have in mind for my book?
- How frequently do you update authors and what is your preferred communication style?
- Why do you want to represent me? What do you like best about my work?
- Would you be interested in repping my future novels?

What a great question!

Michelle

Angelina C. Hansen said...

Good question, Angie. I was going to give the same answer as Emily. You can find out a lot about agents on that site. Also, if you have the opportunity to go to conferences you can listen to agents give presentations and get a sense of who they are and what they're looking for. Also, a new agent at an established agency is a pretty safe choice.

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