August 31, 2009

How to Submit and Query Agents, Part 1

So, when you've written the best novel you possibly can, all tweaked to perfection, what do you do next? You submit.
My recommendation: query agents. You can query publishers, but it takes forever and you're less likely to get a sale. You can self-publish, but you lose a lot of credibility that way. (Quite frankly, I don't have enough knowledge to help you in these areas anyway.)

So this next series of articles is going to be about submitting your manuscript to agents.

First, an agent is someone who works with you, the writer, and publishers. They can negotiate contracts, they know all about what rights you're selling, they know editors, they know marketing. So where do you find a reputable agent?

The Association of Authors' Representatives (AAR) has a (very long) list of agents that are most likely reputable. Check to see if an agent is on their list before you sign anything. (If an agent asks for money from you, s/he's probably not reputable. Check out Writer Beware, a website that closely follows scam artists that target rising authors. This site in particular has a list of red flags to watch out for. ) AAR has a fantastic FAQ. Read it.

There are a number of sites that list good agents. Some more helpful than others. I use QueryTracker. This site has a slew of agents that you can search by genre, but better than that, it lets you tag agents you'd like to query in the future. You'll have your own list of agents you want to query, agents you have queried, and agents that have replied. QueryTracker also has a blog that posts useful information.

Similar sites include Query Shark and AgentQuery.

Seriously, if you haven't already, spend a couple of days on these sites. Get familiar with the basics of a good query letter and what an agent does. The next part of this series will cover how you find the right agent for your book.

2 comments:

Roberta Walker said...

Part 2?

Emily Casey said...

Part 2 is linked at the bottom of the post:
http://emilycaseysmusings.blogspot.com/2009/09/how-to-submit-and-query-agents-part-2.html

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