Monday, September 15, 2014

How I Research Agents


Because I love me some Johnny Depp


It's #blogpostmonday and I'm having a hard time figuring out what the people want to read about.

Honestly, I have no clue. I'm just a basic 20 year old in my third year of college, studying theories, and still trying to figure out how to pass a math class.

So I don't have much, I'll tell ya that.

But what I realized--in terms of what people want to read--is that my audience is very interested in the self-help section. And after I sent out another query yesterday, I was inspired to write a post on the process I go through once I have a finished query.

So here it is, folks, my process on sending out queries and researching agents in three simple steps.

Step One: Where the heck do I find agents?

I know I'm still young--especially for a writer--but I've been looking up information on agents for a very, very long time. So it doesn't surprise me when agency's like Andrea Brown Literary Agency or New Leaf Literacy pop into my head randomly.
I know one thing that helped me when I first got started was Agent Query. They have an entire agent section. All you have to do is know the genre of your book.
Another website that helps tremendously is Literary Rambles. This blog is literally heaven sent, and I will continuously swear by it. Everything I've ever wanted to know about an agent is right there, making research that much easier. (Don't get me wrong, doing your own research is plausible, but this...this website...is like mixing chocolate, pecans, and carmel together.)

Step Two: There are too many options. Which agent do I CHOOSE???? HELP!

Even after you've looked up agents in your genre, there are still a plethora to choose from. But here's how I choose: If I don't like their bio, I'll move on to the next one. Simple.
Some people might say: Well, Britney, you're never going to get published if you don't give everyone a fair chance.
And I say--you're completely wrong. Well, actually, you might be right.
However, I'm firmly against settling for less. I want an agent who's going to be absolutely crazy about my manuscript and about me. (Ha, it's almost like dating.) I'd rather query all the right agents and have them say no, than query all the wrong agents and have them say yes. (I'm not sure that made sense.)
Basically, choosing an agent is almost the same process that agents go through when choosing a query. If an agent makes it through half a query and they don't like it, they'll send a rejection. Likewise, if I'm halfway through an agent's bio, and my eyes burn, and I feel like I'll die if I read another sentence (that was dramatic,) then I'll pass.
Trust in your gut, people!

Step Three: How does the research tie into all of this?

Aha! Research is key!
Agents loooovvveeeee personalized queries. They think, "man, this writer just read my soul. I wonder what that manuscript looks like?"
Now, that is just my theory, but the point is that it makes the agent look. How can your query stand out amongst the pile of queries? What do you have that makes you better than the rest? (It's basic marketing skills. Be the purple cows of the world.)

For example, after I've stalked an agent, and I'm ready to personalize my query, the first paragraph would probably look a lot like this:

Dear so and so, 


For most sixteen-year-olds, pregnancy is a fate worse than death. For Joni Reid, it might be the only thing that saves her life. THE WILLOW TREE is a YA contemporary novel complete at about 65,000 words. After researching you and your interests, I knew that my manuscript might be to your liking. It’s an emotional high, a contemporary, and a bit more on the serious side. However, you mentioned you liked extremes and stories that make you feel more alive. I hope this is a good fit for you.

Step Four: Wait, I thought you said there were only three steps....?


Ha, for me, the final step is usually pressing send. 




I hope that this is helpful. Remember, if you have any questions about anything revolving this, I would love to answer them. 

Good luck,

Until next time blog world. 

Happy Query Days! 






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