What I’m Working On/Querying Tips (Where to find Agents) Double-Post

Hey guys. Since my “What I’m Working On” post was going to be very short, I decided to go ahead and combine my querying/agent tips post with it. That way you’ll have more to read and I can post another book review tomorrow!

What I’m Working On:

This week I’ve been working on new Whispers of the Heart chapters and writing my “love” story, You Know You Love Me. So far YKYLM is going pretty well, but I have had a little difficulty starting it. I have most of the story planned out, but I still don’t know how things are going to end. Maybe it will be as much of a surprise for me as it will for my readers.



(Where to Find Agents)

Tips are from, as usual, the 2011 Guide to Literary Agents. Finding agents to send your queries to sounds like a daunting task. If you’re like me, you probably have no idea where to even start. It’s recommended that you have your manuscript as edited and polished as possible, as well as your query letters, before attempting to contact an agent. Now, where do you find one? Luckily there are many resources out there for finding the right agents for your work.

1. Agency websites.

Most publishers have a website that will list guidelines and books they’ve published. Many times these websites will also include information about the agents they staff. Make sure to do your research on the agent(s) and take notes. If any of the agents seem like a good fit, write down what they prefer when it comes to unsolicited queries and check our their blog or website if they have one.

2. Blogs.

Many agents today have blogs that contain vital information about the kind of work they accept, what they want to see, and how they accept queries. Some also post helpful publishing information or hold contests to find fresh voices.

3. Guidebooks & Databases.

There are many guidebooks out there that list agencies accepting work in your desired genre, including the Guide to Literary Agents. There are also websites such as WritersMarket.com that can give you access to these agents.


4. Social Networking Sites.

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter offer more ways for us to seek out and learn more about agents.

5. Conferences.

Some authors met their agents at writers conferences. Having met an agent in person is said to make the querying process easier.

6. Online Interviews.

Try Googling an agent’s name and the word “interview.” Some writing organizations, magazines, or websites post interviews with agents to attract readers. If your agent has done an online interview, it will help you to learn more about what they like and what they don’t when it comes to queries and books.

Using the Above to Find an Agent:

You may be wondering how some of the above guidelines could possibly help you find an agent. Remember what my last querying/agent tip post was about? Research. Research is one of the most important tasks in getting published. To get an agent to notice you, you’ll have to do enough research on them to know 1) Where to send your queries and how; and 2) What their preferences on queries and written works are.

It’s recommended to keep a personal database on the agents you are considering with their name, agency, query preferences, and the agent’s address/e-mail.

The “Zing” Factor:

C. Hope Clark, the author of the “Research Agents” section of the 2011 Guide to Literary Agents, says, “The human connection between you and an agent is what I call the ‘zing’ factor. These agents receive hundreds of queries per week, most skimmed or unread. You never know when an agent has been up all night with a sick child or arrived at work fighting the flu. You have no control over the timing that places your query in an agent’s hands. What you can control is a creative opening that doesn’t echo like the thirty before it and the twenty after, and rises to the top even if the reader hasn’t had his coffee.”

Agents don’t want to be treated like someone who is anonymous. “The attention you give to zing factors will demonstrate that you respect the agent as a person. Suddenly you have that magical connection that holds his attention at least long enough to read your dead-on synopsis.” You can incorporate the “zing” factor through doing your research and mentioning topics such as recognition for recent book contracts that are similar to your own work(s), favorite genres/authors/books you have in common, shared personal interests, and more.

It’s noted that one of the most important “zing” factors is passion. “You are the biggest advocate for your book, with your agent a close second. Everyone in your path should feel that energy. When Agents sense it, they jump on your bandwagon knowing that readers will do the same.”

Tomorrow I will be posting my book review of Evermore by Alyson Noel. Stay tuned!






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