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Reseaching Literary Agents

Elanja Johnson did a fabulous post on researching literary agents by utilizing QueryTracker on the QueryTracker blog today. There's also a bit about personalizing queries.

Something I'd like to reiterate is that you owe it to yourself (and it's a courtesy to the agents you're querying) to try to find a good match.

I realize that it's hard to find information on some agents. If you feel you must give these agents a shot, I'd recommend you know (at least) what genres they represent (yours?) and whether or not they have legitimate sales and/or a respectable seat in publishing. If you can't find even this information, why are they on your list? And if you're going to query an agent with this amount of information, do yourself a favor, have a prepared list of questions in case THE CALL does come.

I constantly see writers out there cold-firing queries, doing little-to-no research, and/or accepting the first offer they receive without question, and it just doesn't make sense to me. I can understand the desire to obtain representation and to get published but not the desire to get published no matter what. Personally, I want the best for myself, my books, and my expected career as an author. You should too. The goal is not to be a one-hit wonder, it's to build a career, and you're going to need strong, lasting relationships to make the most of it.

My closing advice: If you query all your great, good, and decent matches and still don't have representation, don't query everyone else under the publishing sun, write a new book or extensively rewrite.

Whether you agree or disagree, feel free to open up a friendly discussion in the comments.

And thank you, Elanja, for the great post!


8 comments:

  1. Hi, I just found your blog and love your Agent Spotlights. They're so useful, especially for agents who don't have much information online. Thanks for doing them.

    On your post today, I can't agree more. I've written about this same thing on my blog a number of times. It's so important for writers to work on their query letters and agent/editor research as much as they do the book. Researching agents that match you, your book and your writing style not only helps you target the right agents (cutting down on time wasting for you and the agents), it also will cut down on your rejections, because many agents reject submissions simply because they they're not a genre the agent handles.

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  2. Samantha, thank you for coming by and chiming in on your first visit!

    You make a great point. If more writers would do the proper research, it would cut down the number of auto-reject queries and response times would improve.

    Agent research is made of win.

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  3. Great advice and this is so important.. And your agent is so important in shaping your career.

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  4. Casey:
    Your blog sets a good example for what people should do before they send a query. You go beyond the agency website or a listing in a market publication.

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  5. Ann,

    Thank you! I hope the agent spotlights show writers how deep they can dig, even on little-known agents.

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  6. Great post! That's exactly where I am right now I'm working on a query for a specific agent.

    I'll have to check out the link!

    Christy

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  7. Thanks for commenting C.R. Evers! Tons of good luck to you when you do query.

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