Monday, January 21, 2008


I'm often asked how you find an agent. There is no one right answer to that, but we'll look at some of them. The first time I went looking for an agent was years ago when I was co-writing western novels for the general market. At that time I knew nothing about agents, so I just went to Writer's Market and made a list of about 11 or 12 agents who said they handled westerns. I sent them all a letter asking for representation. As I recall, I got 4 rejections, one phone call, 3 or 4 letters expressing possible interest, and no response from the rest. We ended up with an agent who sold our first book, but was unable to sell any others--so he dropped us. We found another who was trying to sell the others, but eventually my co-author decided to go off on his own and we dropped the second one. At no time did we have any real conversation on contact with these agents. They were obviously just looking for authors who could make them money.

Today I know a lot more about agents and have come to realize that finding an agent is a lot like finding a spouse. If I sent out letters like I did before, that would only be an initial step. If an agent showed an interest, I would have several conversations with that person to see if I felt comfortable and compatible with them. A better alternative would be to attend a conference where there were agents in attendance and speak with the agent face-to-face to see if they showed a genuine interest, not just in this project but in your future career. Later we'll talk about what you should expect from an agent.

1 comment:

Pam Halter said...

It really is important to dialog with a potential agent. I did that in the fall when an agent expressed interest and offered me a contract ... after completely freaking out and dancing around my livingroom, I asked questions of the agent. I also interviewed three of his clients. After much prayer and thought, we (the agent and I) came to the decision that he was not right for me right now.

That was a hard decision, but a good one.