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How to do this right?

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#1 bethanypeep


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Posted 11 October 2016 - 11:49 PM

I know all the rules and the research and editing and querying and everything. The waiting and the rejections and silent responses. You name it, I know it,
However, I'm going to start querying and I want to do this right. Tips for how to make something catch someone's eyes? How to tell they're the right agent to query even though they may or may not have the matching request list on their page?
I want this. I need an agent. I need to know how.
Anyone with experience who has a story they can share would be great!!

#2 RSMellette


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Posted 12 October 2016 - 11:00 AM

I would suggest two things:


1) remember the objective of the query letter is not to get an agent - your book does that. The letter is made to make them want to read your book, period, end of story. Anything that deflects from that must be cut.


2) consider professional conferences. This is a business. In business they go to professional conferences and trade shows all the time. Agents and publishers are more approachable at these things.

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#3 Blueberry Tide

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 05:55 PM

1. Rad ALL the submission guidelines as stated on the agent's website. If they ask that everything be in the body of the email and you attach you synopsis, then they're not going to reject you.


2. Make sure the agent you're submitting to represents your genre. Don't send a fantasy query to an agent who only represents nonfiction, and especially if they say in their bio they do not represent fantasy. That tells them you didn't read the site and didn't do the research. 


3. Make 100% sure your manuscript is as polished as it can be. Before you send it anywhere, find a beta reader or hire a freelance editor to look over it. 


4. Make sure your query is 100% ready. Again, post it on here and get some feedback. If you send out 50 letters and then realize that your letter has holes in it, well that's 50 agents you've lost. 


5. Finding the right agent has been compared to finding true love. It's not just finding someone to sell your book, it's finding someone that will invest in your career as a writer. Someone to help you on your way. It's a partnership. Teamwork. There must trust and communication. Your query letter is your online dating profile and you're hooking an agent. 


6. Persistence and Patience. 

#4 GwMartins


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Posted 16 October 2016 - 05:54 PM

I find that a thorough research of every agent is a great place to start. You have to remember that if it all works out, you'll be working with this person for years, maybe decades. It needs to be someone not only passionate about your work, but also about the genre of work you're pursing. 

#5 RosieSkye


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Posted 19 October 2016 - 11:49 AM

Also, pay attention to your success rate.  If you repeatedly query and get no requests, reconsider your query letter.  If your query and first pages repeatedly get you requests for partials but those never go to fulls, reconsider the first half of your manuscript.  If you repeatedly get requests for fulls but they always come back as rejections, reconsider the second half of your manuscript.  I say repeatedly because of course all of those steps will come back with some rejections.  But if you have a solid success rate with one step, but it never seems to move beyond that, at some point you should ask yourself why.  And don't be too stubborn about your vision - there's a gray area between staying true to your original story, and taking constructive criticism to heart when it's offered.

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