Sunday, April 27, 2008

Getting an Agent

Hello Everyone, I have decided for sure that I am going to get an agent for my next book. It is the only way that I am going to be able to get noticed as an author. I have had many comments about PA and I agree with you all! I am very upset and not happy with them. My first royality check was for $3.19, and said that I only sold 2 books. When I know for a fact that I sold more then that! Other authors have been coming out of the wood work telling me about their nightmare with PA. It makes me wish that I had known all of this before I signed my contract. But its a leason learned and all I can do is work my hardest on not letting other new authors getting in the same trap! So if you are a new writer reading this think before signing with them! So I'll keep everyone posted on my journey to find an agent! If you have any good tips please let me know! You can leave a comment or email me at Thank you all for your time!


Marian said...

Hi Zana,

Good for you. It takes guts to come out and say something like that. And I admire your warning other serious writers about PA – I do the same thing, but since I never sent anything to PA, it's not the same as someone who's actually been there.

Since you asked for tips on getting an agent, here are a few :

1. First, make sure your work is complete. If an agent asks for the full manuscript, you want to send it out as quickly as possible.

2. Go over the manuscript carefully and edit. Set it aside so you can look at it with fresh eyes (this is a good time to write the query letter) and edit some more. Asking for comments from people with experience critiquing manuscripts is also a good idea. You want the final product to be sparkling.

3. Write a query letter and synopsis. There are lots of sites about how to do this and what kind of query letter industry professionals expect. Make sure your query letter states the genre and word count (which should be within limits for the genre).

4. Research agents. There are several good sites for this – here’s one :

5. Check the agents’ submission guidelines, and send the query letters off in small batches – say, about ten to twelve at a time. That way, if something about the query letter is wrong, you’ll be able to catch it and rework the letter before submitting to the next batch of agents.

6. Start your next book while you wait. Be very patient. Also be prepared for rejections that don’t tell you if there’s a problem with the book. Rejection is just part of life in the business – it’s not personal.

Here are a few things you may have heard about getting an agent which are wrong.

1. “Agents don’t take on new writers.” Not true. New writers get agents too – even if they writers are not celebrities. They get good agents through writing good books. By the way, to agents, PA is not a professional writing credit.

2. “The best way to get an agent is through a face-to-face meeting”. Not true. Going to conferences to meet agents is good, but for those of us who can’t, sending query letters still works.

3. “Agents will monitor the time you spend online or blogging”. Not true. Agents are way too busy for that.

I had never published anything, but I sent query letters out last year and an agent offered me representation. My manuscript is now out on submission to editors. So while it’s not easy to get a good agent, and the process takes time, it can be done. I wish you luck and success and I’ll keep reading to see how the journey works for you. :)

Nancy Beck said...

I'll back up everything marian says. :-)

Although I'm not pubbed as yet (still working through my novel), I've learned a lot about the nutty world of publishing.

marian gave you a blog that will steer you in the right direction. Here are a couple more:

The first one has forums on just about everything you can think of related to getting published, including a background check on agents and publishers and a critting forum (Share Your Work; password: vista) where you can get parts of your novel or query letter critted (if you're so inclined).

The second one, Preditors and Editors (P&E), has lists of agents, publishers, etc. who are and aren't recommended. That is, Dave K. (who runs the site) will give you a good idea as to who is on the up-and-up and who is a scammer.

(BTW, P&E does have some agent, etc., listings that have no comments attached to them, which means Dave hasn't received any info on them as yet.)

Oops, just thought of another site that might be good in your research:

The one bit of advice I'll give is to do your research BEFORE sending out any query letters. That way, you can save time and money by crossing off the scammers or the clueless and focusing your energy on those agents and publishers that are legitimate.

And (shameless plug ;-)), I have a blog where I've discussed agents and publishers and such, so please feel free to peruse, if you wish. :-)

Good luck!

Nancy Beck said...

One other thing: Good for you for coming out against PA. It take a lot of guts to do that, and admire you for doing it. :-)

In my other post, I talked about the Absolute Write forums. There's a thread about PA in Bewares and Backgrounds Checks that you might want to check out. You'll even see former PA people who've managed to get out from PA's clutches and are now legitimately published.

There IS life after PA! :-)

Kim said...

I'm also going to back up what Marian said - it's very sound advice.

I don't have an agent, but I sold two books to publishers since last summer - it's all about writing the very best book that you can.

Do your research, talk to other people - AW is a great resource for the many different facets of publishing, and a great place for support as well as encouragement.

Good luck!