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Finding the Right Agent


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#1 alsilas

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 09:36 PM

I have started the process of looking for agents, and I am unsure what I should be looking for as far as what agents I should even attempt to query. Other than finding someone who represents the genre/type of book being queried, what else have you looked for in determining who you want to send your query letter too?



#2 Nessa

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 10:35 PM

I usually check out their #MSWL (Manuscript Wish List) on Twitter and their profile on manuscriptwishlist.com. That's where they put the specifics of what they're looking for, whether that be quirky contemporaries with geeky teen protagonists, dark fantasies starring an anti-hero, or anything else.
 
I also look at their Twitter and blog. If they have a colorful personality and share interests with me, I'll be more likely to add them to my list.
 
A word of caution, before you query any agent, check out Writer Beware and the comments on Query Tracker for red flags, like poor communication or poor sales. No agent is better than a bad agent.

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#3 smithgirl

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 12:23 PM

Yes, Query Tracker is a great resource (https://querytracker.net). Read the comments to see if there are any red flags about the agent. 

 

It does help to see what other books an agent has represented before, if they tend to represent books similar to yours. If you read a book that you think is a good comp to your book, look to see who represents it and query that agent. However, always keep in mind: You can never really know what any agent wants. Try to find agents who look "on paper" like they would be a good match. But don't not query an agent just because they don't seem like they would be a good match. If they represent your genre and they are a reputable agent, then query them whether they are a really obvious match or not.



#4 lnloft

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 03:10 PM

But don't not query an agent just because they don't seem like they would be a good match. If they represent your genre and they are a reputable agent, then query them whether they are a really obvious match or not.

This is important to remember. I've sent out a number of queries, some that check a whole bunch of boxes, some that just happen to be a reputable agent who reps my genre. And I've had two requests come of it. One (whom I'm still waiting to hear back on) is a damn near perfect match on paper. And the other had literally nothing except that she repped sci-fi and fantasy. And that turned into a partial request. And meanwhile some others who have looked pretty good on paper have responded with form rejections or nothing at all. Which basically all goes to say that as long as you are sending to reputable agents (again, check out Query Tracker and also Agent Query's own database), it doesn't hurt you to send them a query. Worst case scenario is you get cricket noise.


Nothing to reciprocate on right now; I'm off in the query trenches.


#5 smithgirl

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 06:10 PM

Yes, my experience has been similar to Inloft. In fact I have queried many agents who looked on paper to be perfect matches -- I got nothing or forms. I've had more requests from agents I considered long shots: Basically they listed my genre among their genres represented, but aside from that no really obvious connection.



#6 Nessa

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 06:51 PM

I got a request on a Twitter pitch from an agent who I never would have expected to be interested. Their website suggested they were more interested in non-fiction and adult literary. They ended up rejecting, but gave feedback that resulted in a major revision. That same revision got me a spot in a contest, so I partially owe where I am to that agent.
 
Query widely. I have to agree with the posters above. Very few of my requests came from agents who I thought would request.

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#7 Nonicks

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Posted 08 April 2018 - 05:07 AM

Query every agent you can. I used to check websites, blogs, MSWL, etc, but it was nothing but rejections. Then I decided to query someone that didn't seem to be much interested in the genre, and it was a full request. You never know. 






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