Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Finding the Right Agent

Looking for the RIGHT agent is crucial, if you are planning on taking this approach with your writing. While all agents might seem like they are all the same, this is far from the truth. Every one of us certainly do a lot of the same things, but the approaches we take are vastly different. Today, I wanted to take the time to talk about how you go about finding that perfect agent for you.

Before I start, I want to give yo a couple of analogies.

Let's start first with where you shop. Whether it is for clothing, groceries or whatever, the odds are you have stuck with the same place over and over again. You may justify your decision with any assortment of reasons, but, for the most part, you have stuck with these places because you know these places. These are familiar locations. I go to one grocery store because I know where everything is. I can be in and out fast because I can find those darn Kalamata Olives really fast. Is it the cheapest? Are these the best? I don't know. What I do know is I am comfortable with that store.

What about vacation locations? Do you go to the same place over and over again. You can again justify it with cost, temperature and so forth, but my bet is you go to the same place over and over again. The reason is the same.

The final analogy deals with college searches. We seriously went through this with my oldest son. He knew he wanted to do Bio-Chem (he is now straight up Bio), he knew he wanted to swim and he knew he wanted small. Where did we look? The colleges we knew of. When we got him a college swim agent, things changed and now he is in upstate New York at a college we did not even know of. (I'll explain this link later). The point is, if you have ever done the college search, you looked to what you knew and what you were comfortable with.

This is what people do with agents.

Writers search for agents they know of. Who did they read about in an article? Who did the see at a conference. Eventually, over time, that agent becomes the "perfect" agent simply because you know what that person does.

I see this all of the time with people who submit projects to me simply because I am the person they follow on social media.

But here is where the problem comes in. Am I the right fit?

When I said we were all different, I was very serious. We each handle how we work with you and your works in progress differently. Some of us edit and some of us give general feedback. We all work with editors differently. We all approach movie rights and international rights differently. We all have different favorite publishers.

Too many authors, when they search for agents, simply look to lists published by some random person. They look to see (hopefully) if the person acquires their genre and that is it. They have no idea really who this person is on the other side of the submission.

Finding that right agent takes time. It takes talking to people. It takes following them on social media and just listening. It take asking questions. It takes reading who they represent and their thoughts about that person.

Look, just because you know the name of an agent does not mean it is the right fit. There are a TON of great agents out there, and, the odds are, you are not looking for that person. Don't just stick with what you know. Look around.

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