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Agents: A Writer's Best Friend (Part 2 of 2)
Now that you have finished, polished, and edited your manuscript, you are now free to search for an agent. But do not jump at the first agent that you meet.
1) Research to find the most suitable one. There are several publications and websites offering directories of agents. Find the agent that represents the genre that you write. You do not ask a romance novel agent to represent your science fiction novel unless the agent accepts romance fiction crossed with other genres. Peruse through the profiles of agents and see what type of writing they represent. Invest in subscribing to a publication of directories of agents.
2) Another way is to find out who are the authors that the agent is representing. Most of the time, an author will mention his agent on the acknowledgment page of their work. If you have connections with other writers or the writing community, feel free to ask around. Writers are often glad to help other writers.
3) You can also check the websites of literary agencies to look at their roster of agents. See if one of them could represent the kind of book you write. Read through their profiles and find out what books they are interested in. See if they have accounts on social media channels as well. Follow them to see what kinds of authors and work they have successfully represented.
4) Now that you have chosen an agent, follow their submission guidelines. Agents, just like editors, have their own set of guidelines. As a hopeful writer knocking on an agent's door, you must follow the guidelines religiously. Agents and editors see how well-disciplined writers are when following guidelines. Your failure to adhere will see your manuscript thrown into the bin.
5) Write a good and convincing personal query. "To Whom It May Concern" is a lazy salutation. You did not even make the effort to get the name of the agent you wish to represent you. The agent will shake his head in disbelief and crumple or delete your query. If you did not bother to learn his name, why should he bother to represent you? Of course, getting their name is just a part of the equation. The body of your query must create a polite and professional tone. Introduce yourself and tell the agent why you chose them to represent you.
Now that you have sent off your query, wait patiently and be open to the possibility of rejection. Rejection is a constant companion of the writer. Rejection letters will have different tones ranging from the impersonal to the reassuring. Whatever the case, stick to your guns, especially when you know that you have written your book in good faith. Trust that you will find it a home.
In case you find representation, sit down with your agent and discuss the terms and conditions carefully. Some deals may not work in your favor but may work more for your agent, especially if you reek of desperation. Your agent should work for you, not the other way around.
Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Vincent Dublado