I’ve been as invisible as a ghost over the last month because I entered the maze of querying agents for my manuscript, Hello Hell. Let me tell you, it can be a scary place if you don’t know what you’re doing or follow the process as outlined by every, single, agent. So, here’s a few tips, I’ve learned aloong the way. Feel free to share your own.
- Pick your resources: Writer’s Digest, MSWL, Querytracker, or Writer’s Market.
- Identify those agents open for submissions and who are requesting manuscripts in your genre.
- Publications don’t always tell the whole story related to a specific agent, so do your reasearch.
- Make a list. Note siginifcant specifics about each agent.
- Read the agents profile, website, Twitter account and any other site they provide to get a good feel for whether he/she might be a good fit. For example, a profile may list they are interested in womne’s fiction but when you did deeper, there is a very specific type of women’s fiction they are interested in. Unless your manuscipt fits within that narrow scope, mark them off your list.
- Read through the agency, research all the agents listed, the books they have published, and their submission guidelines.
- Perfect your query again and again. Don’t write one and think it will serve all. Some agents are very particular regarding what they want to see in a querying and the layout. So, be prepared to have numerous versions as you gothrough the process.
- Keep track of each query sent to each agent. This is important because you can’t querying more than one agent within an agency. So, pay attention to your list. I use Query Tracker which provides valuable insight into an agent: response times, genre reports, percentage of responses, and the number of negative and positive responses.
- Setup reminders to followup (nudge an agent) or to mark a query as closed. Some agents specify that after x number of weeks, “assume we have reviewed your work and are going to pass on it.”
- Understand querying is a process. It’s takes time, patience, and a thick skin. Whether an agent likes your work or not is often subjective. So keep things in perspective and don’t take a rejection personally.
Hope these tips help and if you have a tip, please share with us in the comment section. Good luck.
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