Getting An Agent: Some General Advice

First a disclaimer. Any advice that I give (such as it is) is purely from my experiences and I don’t claim to be an expert. There, none of you can sue me (although nowadays I don’t suppose disclaimers work. Hey, you can’t blame me for trying). The first thing you should know is that no matter what, finding an agent will take a long time, you’ve just got to be patient. If you’re lucky, an agent might get back to you within a month and that’s if they’re fast. So that means that you’ll be in limbo for a long time. It’s definitely a good idea to do some research on the agents you’re sending your work to. If they have a website, read their introduction to see what kind of books they like to represent. It probably won’t work out if you send a fantasy manuscript to someone who deals exclusively with non-fiction. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t send your query letter out, it just means you probably shouldn’t hold your breath waiting for a positive response. Besides, a bad agent is worse than having no agent at all. You can send out a lot of queries at the same time but you might want to set up a chart or a table listing all the people you have contacted. Trust me, keeping organized is very important. Doubtless, many of the responses you get back will be rejections. Don’t get too discouraged because often agents don’t take young writers at all. Some of them will offer advice and criticism. You might not want to hear it but you do have to learn how to take constructive criticism. It’s also a smart idea to compile all of the comments you get. After all, an agent wouldn’t take the time to critique you if they didn’t see anything good. In subsequent posts I will try to expand upon this advice and explain things more clearly..

-Alda

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Categories: Essays / Personal Narratives

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