After landing the most Awesome Agent Ever, I've been blogging about not just landing an agent, but landing the agent of your dreams at the last SCBWI WWA meeting. (Oh, about the outfit - no pics, sorry!) Here's Part 3, Finding the Right Hottie for You:
As you start to research the Hottie Agents out there, begin thinking about what kind of person you'd like to work with, a.k.a. your Hottie Checklist.
The #1 thing on your list is legitimacy (agent makes sales, doesn't charge a reading fee, member of the Association of Author's Representatives, good standing in Preditors & Editors, etc.) Other things you might consider: agenting style, personality fit, location, number of clients. Because, as you probably already know, signing with an agent means becoming part of a harem (and hopefully a blow-your-Jedi-boots-off one):
How do you find a Hottie? Here are a few places where the Hotties hang out:
- Book acknowledgements;
- Publisher’s Marketplace, Agent Query, LitMatch;
- Agent blogs - they're all over the place now;
- ...and the #1 location for finding the right agent for you...Conferences!
I met Awesome Agent at the SCBWI midwinter NYC conference's Writer's Intensive event a couple of years ago. He had me at "wow" and has been wowing me ever since. Meeting agents in person allows you to get a sense of their style and interaction. After all, you hope to create a business relationship for the life of your career. And you want to have mutual wow-age.
A couple of tips on queries
- Pay Very Close Attention to submission guidelines. Every agent has their own, and the only way you can bypass this is by personal invitation.
- Keep in mind the time to query: avoid major conferences and holiday seasons.
It's bound to happen. First, try not to take it personally - it just isn't the right fit (yet). Next, query someone else. Last time I checked, Agent Query had over 200 agents representing kidlit.
Another response that might feel like rejection is, “I would love you, if you got a makeover.” Basically, the agent wants a revision before they will sign with you. You really have to weigh this one, because there are no promises. Will their suggestions make a stronger manuscript? Do you want to work with them enough to make the changes? Will you be happy with the changes, even if they ultimately pass?
And remember...one person's Dog is another person's Dreamboat. I'm thinking of one friend in particular. I was rejected by her agent, and she was rejected by mine - just not the right fit. So keep trying!
What do you do when the Hottie wants YOU?
First, you say this: "Can I call you back when I'm not jumping on the couch?"
In the end, you and your agent will be a turbo, bookselling, Hottie Duo. So tell me how your hottie search goes!