The #AtoZChallenge 2017 Theme at Operation Awesome is the Publishing Journey.
Today's guest post is by Fanni Sütő.
Agents- How to Create the Perfect List of Who to Query
Finding an agent, a deliberate decision
I think the first question every aspiring writer should ask themselves is: Which type of publishing is the most compatible with me?
They should look at different ways of putting their work out there: self-publishing; small publishing houses who are willing to take unsolicited manuscripts and of course the big publishers, where one stands no chance without an agent.
I’m not suggesting this moment of self-reflection to dissuade you from the agent hunt. However, I firmly believe that our every step towards publication should be conscious and well thought out. You shouldn’t start to look for an agent because somebody else told you so, but because you’re fully aware what the advantages and disadvantages are and you want the deal.
It has always been my dream to place my manuscript with a bigger publishing house, so once I’ve finished up my manuscript I’m going to throw myself into the forest of literary agencies.
I come from Hungary, a small country with a very small market for books. The publishing industry is so tiny that there is just no space for the intermittency of agents; writers try to represent themselves and sell their books to publishing houses. It puts a lot of pressure on the author because they have to deal with things they’re not specialised in and it takes time from their actual writing. Knowing this, I really appreciate the possibility of having a professional who would take care of me, while I worked on my books.
So how would I go on about finding the perfect agent candidates?
I’m a huge Twitter fan, so I would check out what people are looking for with the #MSWL hashtag (manuscript wish list.) It’s a good place to go if we want to know what editors, agents, publishing houses are looking for. If you find agents who dream about something like your manuscript, jot down their names, maybe check out their posts to see if you have a similar taste and views on life.
There are different compilations of agents looking for new writers to represent.
Take your time, go through them. Make lists, then set up an order of preferences.
Of course nobody can expect you to send your query to only one agent at a time, but you also shouldn’t flood the market mindlessly. Order your list into tiers. Send out a few queries to the agents you find most compatible or appealing. Wait for their response. Hopefully your first choice will love you back, but if not, move down the list.
Always be polite and respectful. It’s completely normal to work with an email template, but make sure to always personalise them and pay attention to the special wishes of the different agents.
If you don’t agree with something, or even if the agent wasn’t the nicest to you, never be aggressive or impolite. Agents talk among themselves and you wouldn’t want to find yourself blacklisted.
Most importantly; however, even while you are querying, don’t stop working on new stories. Instead of waiting in agony, use the energy to create.