Agent Research: I forgot to tell you something!

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Okay, so I didn’t actually forget, I discovered something I’d like to share in addition to my original post Queries! Queries! Queries! Part 1: Researching Agents. Originally I talked about taking notes on the agents you research. Well, actually I’m not even sure if I said that. Yikes!

Anyway, you should research agents you are interested in and keep extensive notes on them. What are their submission guidelines? Be detailed! What books would they like to see cross their desk? What do they represent? Who do they represent? What genres are missing from their lists? (Don’t include genres they say they don’t want to represent.) Do they like personalized intros? Or getting right into the heart of the query? Do they want comparative titles or does this annoy them? Read their website, interviews, Publisher’s Marketplace page, QueryTracker, etc. Why?

Because this will help you craft the best query possible. Your intro can be based on the info they specify. You can eliminate pet peeves they have that other agents don’t. There are so many reasons to know everything you can about the agent you are querying, and you may have noticed my Submission Spreadsheet doesn’t have room for all of that info.

Here's an example of my spreadsheet. Sorry if it's too small to read!

Here’s an example of my spreadsheet. Sorry if it’s too small to read!

That’s because I kept paper notes and only included that which was important for query tracking in the spreadsheet. This is where what I forgot to mention comes in handy.

I lost my notes. Hey, I wrote them a year ago. And I lose things all the time. This is an organizational problem. Sure, I had to re-read everything I could find on the prospective agents anyway, just to verify that all information was still accurate, but I could have just been verifying, instead of re-writing all my notes. I had my spreadsheet, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. So this time I created a word document and saved it in my Submissions Folder for my MS. No losing it now! Every tidbit I found on an agent is saved for posterity, or until I need it again!

And on re-researching if you’ve done your original research a year, or even months before: DO IT! I can not stress this enough. An agent may have changed agencies, changed their submission policies, or as I found about one of my top ten agents, no longer accepting submissions until they dig themselves out of the slush pile that has consumed their office. Always verify before you hit SEND!

***Author’s Note added 10/3/14 at 11:00am***

Annnnd I forgot something else. In re-reading both my posts on querying agents I realized not once did I mention finding the right agent for you! Big sales, famous names, and representing authors you like won’t matter if you and the agent don’t have the same ideas for your career. I’ve heard it recommended to attend conferences and find ways to meet agents in order to get the best idea if you would work well together, but this is not realistic for most of us. So our best bet is to troll the internet for every interview, guest post or website that mentions our prospective agent. Not only so we can craft the best query to achieve representation, but so we can determine if they are the sort of agent we want representing us in the first place. Good luck to all agent-hunters. I hope you all find the best agent for you and achieve publishing success!

What tips do all of you have for researching agents? What do you look for when trying to find the perfect agent? And if you have one, what do you like about him or her?

More of my posts on querying:

Queries! Queries! Queries! Researching Agents

Queries! Queries! Queries?? Hot to Write a Query Letter

Rejection Spike

Silver-Linings in Those Rejection Letters

How I Got My Agent (Or the art of never giving up)

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6 thoughts on “Agent Research: I forgot to tell you something!

  1. Pingback: 10 Things I Wish I Would Have Known As A Newbie Writer; But I Learned The Hard Way | Jennifer Austin – Author

  2. Pingback: Queries! Queries! Queries! – Part One: Researching Agents | Jennifer Austin – Author

  3. Pingback: Queries! Queries! Queries?? – Part Two: How to write a query letter | Jennifer Austin – Author

  4. Pingback: Rejection Spike | Jennifer Austin – Author

  5. Pingback: Newbie Post #12: 5 Silver Linings in Those Rejection Letters | Jennifer Austin – Author

  6. Pingback: How I Got My Agent! (Or the art of never giving up) | Jennifer Austin – Author

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