Monday, December 21, 2009

Agents: Making your list and checking it twice

Okay, I'm worn out from wrapping presents and am taking a break to discuss one of my favorite topics. Agents. Lacey discussed the components of a good query letter last week and I'm going to talk more about "the list." You know the one I'm talking about and it doesn't involve Santa. It's your list of dream agents -- the ones that will receive your pitch perfect query letter and beg for sample pages before trampling each other in order to offer representation. Hey, I did use the word dream.

How do you craft your list of dream agents? If your answer is "I'll hire a service and they can research the agents and send my query out for me. Hey, maybe they'll even write it for me," then go away. Seriously, now. Okay, for those of you who are left, the correct answer is RESEARCH.

Since I'm a huge research geek anyway and my favorite form of procrastination involves researching those mythical agent creatures, I thought I'd share some of the fun sites I have bookmarked.

1) Querytracker - Many of you know that Querytracker has an awesome blog but their agent search function on the main site rocks. You can search for agents by genre, word count, submission response time, and even by agents with similar tastes. It also lists each agent's clients so you can see the books they rep. Oh, the hours of fun I've had there. There are many more features besides what I've listed here so definitely check them out.

2) Agentquery - This site also lets you research agents by genre and it often gives tidbits about a specific agent's likes and dislikes. Some have links to interviews as well as recent book sales.

3) Literary Rambles - Casey's Agent Spotlights are amazing, in-depth articles that showcase a different agent each week. Catch them on Thursdays but she also has them archived. NOTE: This is geared towards writers of juvenile fiction but some of the agents also rep adult work. As I write YA, I LOVE her blog. Take the time to read her interview links as they provide a ton of additional info about the agent.

Those are my top 3 but there are a ton out there. I've heard Verla Kay's board is a good resource and you should also check out the Preditors and Editors site to make sure the agent is on the up and up. Publishers Marketplace gives you info on recent deals made by agents so you can see how active an agent is and if they are selling books similar to yours.

So I have my dream list and continue to revise it along with my manuscript. I haven't done anything with it -- yet, but it is almost a new year. I'm not one for resolutions but maybe I'll venture out into the scary world of queries in 2010.

What are your favorite sites for researching agents? Does anyone else find it as fun as I do? Have you started your query process? Oh yeah, and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!


  1. Thanks so much for linking to me! I find myself at the Guide to Literary Agents blog quite a bit while doing my research and Cynsations has a lot of great interviews.

  2. Great list, Kristi. Casey mentioned author Cynthia Leitich Smith's blog, Cynsations -- also a great resource.

    Try to find the agents personal blog. A lot of literary agents are blogging these days. Find one you might be interested in and do a simple google search. You'll find interviews they may have done(where they tell you exactly what they do or do not want to see in their inbox), their personal blog sites etc. Knowing your prospective agent as a person is important. You have to make sure that not only would they like your work, but that you would be able to work with them.

    I found one agent I was looking in to, but after spending a chat session with said agent, changed my mind. We simply wouldn't get along on a personal level.

  3. Casey, thank you for your wonderful blog. Thanks also for the additional tips - I read both of those too!

  4. Lacey - you're so right which is why I find the interviews so helpful. They give information about personality traits as well as likes/dislikes and being a good fit with an agent means much more than just writing in the genre they represent. Thanks for stressing that point!


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