August 4, 2011

Repost: How to 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 or self-publish, but quite frankly, I don't have enough knowledge to help you in these areas.

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. They negotiate contracts, they know all about what rights you're selling, they know editors, they know marketing. It's in their best interest to get you the best deals possible. You want a reputable agent who's interested in building the kind of career you want. 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 is NOT reputable. Check out Writer Beware, a website that closely follows scam artists that target rising authors. AAR has a fantastic FAQ.

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. How to Query Agents Part 2 will cover how you find the right agent for your book.

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