Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Agent Search

As we wait for the ACFW conference registration to open, I’ve been thinking about literary agents and who I would like to meet while I’m at the conference. I don’t have an agent. The publishers for shorter Christian romance novels usually accept submissions from unagented writers, which is how I submitted my novel.
Now, that I’m looking at submitting a young adult novel (if I can get beyond editing the first chapter, but that’s a post for another day), I’ve been looking at agents. I’m trying to decide who would be a good fit, and who should be at the top of my list for appointments. Here are some questions I’ve been asking when deciding.

1. What is his or her style? I’ve been reading blogs written by the agents on my list to get a feel for how the agent works. I’ve learned that some agents are more aggressive. Some agents love to work with new writers, while others prefer seasoned authors. I’ve also found interviews that give some insight into what they’re like.
2. What genres do they represent? I’m not only looking at if they represent what I’m working on now, but also, things I may be interested in later. If they say they would never represent science fiction and that’s the next book you want to write, maybe it wouldn’t be a good fit.
3. Who represents my favorite authors? I’ve spent some time on the agency websites and using google to figure out which agents represent authors I love. If we like the same writing style and genres, there might be a better chance that the agent would like my writing.

There are a few big names that make me nervous. I’m still trying to decide if I need to step out of my comfort zone and get some face to face time with these agents. At the last conference I attended, the agent I was most nervous about meeting gave me some great advice that led to big revisions and ultimately to a contract.

What research have you done or questions have you asked in your search for an agent?


  1. Hi Julie,
    Well that's a good question. I started querying agents long before I ever attended one conference, so you're already a step ahead. I think the biggest piece of advice I could give you is to really pray about it. You are going to be trusting this person with your work, your career, a big part of your life. You want to know that they are going to make the best decisions for you, and that they believe in you. Communication is really important as well, and of course, you have to like each other. Face to face appointments are great for getting an initial feel. I was very fortunate in already having had some online communication with Rachelle before she even became an agent, so when she offered me representation, we sort of already 'knew' each other. Of course it doesn't always happen that way. Keep researching and asking questions, and trust that when you do get the call, it's going to be the agent God has for you!

  2. Julie,

    I'm with Cathy. Great comment. I'm also with you, praying about and researching agents.

    It can be daunting at times, but I'm trusting in God and working hard.
    ~ Wendy

  3. I have been reading agent blogs and I am currently working on my first query. I think God will lead me as He has all along. It's an exciting process but I'm also scared. It's a good idea to take a look at someone else's successful query to get a feel for what an agent likes to see.
    I wish I were attending the conference - have a blast!

  4. These are great questions to be asking when looking for an agent. Casey McCormick writes some great Agent Spotlights that can be helpful, as well. I definitely look at the agents who represent authors and books I love, because my writing tends to follow the same vein.

  5. That's some great preparation for finding an agent. I am working on this, too, because I want to know who to request an appointment with at the conference.

    I read the agent blogs and tried to read interviews with them as well. I've also come across agents by looking in books of authors I like. A lot of times they name their agent, so it's a great way to find new ones.

  6. I read the blogs and I try to research what they represent and find where mine fit it. BUt when I went to my last conference and met with some, ultimately, it is their personality that does it for me. For example, the owner of Wordserve (Johnson) was the nicest guy! He listened and reassured the writers and had a great sense of humor! That goes a long way for me.

  7. Yes PRAY! I had a horrible agent years ago and I do not initiate any contact with an agent without some serious one on one with the Lord. Good luck to you! I really believe we need more 'clean teen'. Hey! Maybe that can be your tagline?

  8. Blessings in your search, Julie. It's daunting. Because even if you think you find the agent who is perfect for you, they may not be taking new clients or may not feel that they can sell your story. So, narrowing it down helps, but persevering is key.

  9. Thanks for your encouragement over at my blog. I appreciate it very much!
    I'm sorry I can't offer any personal advice on securing an agent. Agentquery.com is helping me find possible contenders, as well as Writer's Market.
    Good luck, and keep us posted!

  10. Ah, good luck at the conference! Most of my agent research was through the Writer's Market book and basically Googling particular agents to see if they had any interviews or articles available. I LOVE it when agents have blogs. Makes it way easier to get a feel for their likes/dislikes. Well, hope the conference goes bueno!

  11. Ahhh yes ... we're in the same boat! :) I've emailed a few author friends who know the agents and know my writing too - they've had some indispensable insight as to what agents would work well with my genre/style. That's been a big help. Otherwise, my main source of research is reading books they currently represent that share my genre - at least that way I'm educated on what attracts them. Hopefully! :)

  12. I haven't gone looking yet, but I have kept a file of potential candidates--basically from word of mouth and whether or not I enjoyed books they represent.

  13. I ask myself the same questions. I also wonder what kind of relationship does this agent have with the editors I'm targeting? Not something I have the answers for, but I want them!