Once I received my first offer, I nudged all agents with manuscripts to finish and withdrew unanswered queries. Partials were bumped up to fulls. Sara read over the weekend, making a counter offer on Sunday night, more than a week before my deadline.
Still, there were more passes than offers. This is such a subjective business. Finding an agent takes persistence as much as talent. All you need is one yes...or two, since the agent needs to find a publisher. There are no guarantees, but I now have a good shot with Sara Crowe as my agent.
|Sara Crowe's logo|
After signing the contract yesterday, I raised a glass to Sara with my family. My British husband and our daughter had left for England to visit relatives the day before I got my first offer and returned after I had accepted Sara's counter offer. Thanks to everyone for all your support during this stressful but joyful time, and good luck to those of you who are still querying. Below are some tips and useful links for other writers looking agents.
How to Find a Literary Agent:
The acknowledgement page at the end of books similar to yours is the best place to find agent names. Before querying an agent, I usually read a client book to check for fit and then tailored the market comparison paragraph of my pitch. The best matches were agents like Sara who represented several authors whom I'd already read and enjoyed. My nine years of book blogging were helpful for understanding my genre and for refining my craft too. Do not query until you have a complete manuscript and a synopsis (for fiction). Spend time polishing the query letter. Remember: I had only four minutes to pitch my book. Follow submission guidelines on the agent's website carefully and spell his/her/their name right.
It's worth trying for superstars like Sara Crowe, but you should also query agents who are actively building a list of clients. Of the young, new YA agents, I was most impressed by Leon Husock at L. Perkins. No agent uses twitter better than Leon with his helpful query tips, witty observations, interesting retweets, and a client twitter list to facilitate book promotions. He aims to reply to all queries in 24 hours. Also look for experienced agents who have recently changed agencies like Eric Myers at Dystel & Goderich. Eric's stellar list includes one of my favorite YA authors, Seth Rudetsky, and NYT bestseller MG author Chris Grabenstein. Like his authors, Eric has a great sense of humor. Search for the best match to your writing and your personality; agents aren't one size fits all.
Twitter is the social media platform for the publishing industry. Consider joining for agent pitch events. Beth Phelan of the Bent Agency organized the first #DVPit to help diverse authors find representation. Twitter is also the best place to check out potential agents and to network with other writers. You can find my tweets here. I'm always happy to connect with other writers and readers. Good luck!
Agent Info links:
Manuscript Wish List
Writers Digest New Agent Alerts & Profiles
Association of Authors Representatives (AAR)
Publisher Weekly free e-newsletters
Poets & Writers magazine
Predators & Editors
Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators
Literary Rambles Children's Agents Profiles
Purple Crayon: Finding & Choosing Literary Agents
Publishers Marketplace (monthly subscription fee but some agent profiles are public)
Janet Reid, Lit Agent: Between Offer & Acceptance, a checklist
My YA Agents List on twitter
Update: Jane Friedman's Guide to Query Letters
|New Harbor, Bristol, Maine: one of the inspirations for my fictional Port George. It's an hour up the coast from my home.|