Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Agent Preference Matters

If you are someone looking for a literary agent, you will see a huge list to choose from. Large agencies, small agencies, boutique agencies, the list goes on and on. But it is important to note that all agencies are not the same. Sure, you may find a ton that all acquire the same genre as you write, but all are different. All have different preferences and it is up to you to find the right match.

We often describe the agent/author relationship as being a marriage. You are both committed to seeing the success of not just that first book, but all of the books you write. But, like a marriage, you have to have a lot more in common other than just wanting to "get married" or in this case, "sign a contract." You have to share some common interests.

Authors need to spend some time getting to know these agents. Start with finding that list of people who "acquire" what you write, but take it a step further. Really examine those lists. Examine what they have signed in the past and look for patterns. Listen to what they write in those blogs (there are a few of us who still do this). Attend conferences and listen to what they say during those panel discussions. You will find that we are not all alike.

I get a lot of people who send in queries that state, "I am submitting to you because you have an interest in women's fiction so this project is a perfect fit." The problem here is that the author IS NOT referencing what I like to read in women's fiction, but simply the genre I represent. What is it about your project that fits what I like in the genre of women's fiction? That is the question you should be asking.

Agents do the same thing when we send projects to editors. We don't just throw darts at a wall. We find who would most likely enjoy reading this project. While this person might not end up with that editor after the contract is signed, getting in the door required really making that right connection.

So, before you hit send, ask yourself. What do you REALLY know about the preferences of the editor or agent you are sending it to. Is this a marriage that will last?

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