Saturday, April 1, 2017

#AtoZchallenge Agents- How to Create the Perfect List of Who to Query

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.

#AtoZchallenge 2017 Operation Awesome Agents- How to Create the Perfect List of Who to Query


Sylvia said...

what a great twitter tip! Thank you!

¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•` ¤ Good luck on the rest of your A to Z challenge

Sylvia @ The Creative Life

Aditi said...

Great tips! This will help many aspiring writers!
Bookmarking! :)

Chris Votey said...

"...every step towards publication should be conscious and well thought out."

I whole-heartily agree with that.

Asha said...

Excellent advice. Thank you!

A is for… abortion/Parenting in the Wilderness

Calensariel said...

Geez... It all seems so complicated when it's spelled out that way... o_O

A to Z Challenge Letter A

Unknown said...

Agents are important for getting into big houses, but you can also make yourself more attractive to them by getting stuff published with smaller houses first. Every writing credit you can list in your query letter is a gold star for you! It's okay to start at the bottom and work your way up.

Anonymous said...

This post was so helpful!

Marquessa @simplymarquessa from
Simply Marquessa

John Davis Frain said...

Use the energy to create. The perfect antidote to waiting. So true, so true. Well done and thank you!

JazzFeathers said...

I find the twitter feed of agents to be depressing. They all look for the same stuff and if you don't write that kind of thing (or not in the way they expect it to be) you are just shut out.

It's a tough world out there...

Heather M. Gardner said...

Helpful post. It's all very stressful.

Co-Host, 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge

Fanni S said...

Thank you for all your kind comments! I'm happy I could help :)

Tamara Woods said...

Excellent advice, I shared this post on Twitter.

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