Saturday, February 8, 2014

Finding Literary Agents

It has officially been a month since I submitted my first completed novel to my very first literary agent.
I feel anxious, of course, because I've not yet had a response. I have never been very excited about this part of the process. Writing is hard enough, but sending my beautiful words out into the unknown space of the internet to be judged on quality and sell-ability is the hardest thing.

I have been researching literary agents over this past month here and there, hoping that I won't have to submit to any of the new people I've found. But, it's time now to get more serious about finding someone I'd like to submit to next.

Trying to find an agent on the internet is like online dating. You find certain websites that have literary agents and you scroll through looking at their pictures and reading their profiles. But you never really get a glimpse of who they are in real life. You don't get to see how they carry themselves, how they speak, how they dress, what mannerisms they have. You don't get any idea of how they might represent you or your book to the rest of the publishing world, and that's a very difficult thing for me.

I know that online dating works for some people, but I am not a fan of it. The agent I first submitted to was someone who I had met personally at a writing workshop. Someone who I was able to listen to give a presentation, and who I had the chance to speak with. I could ask questions. I could watch how he walked, how he used his hands as he spoke, and I could see the excitement in his eyes when he mentioned books he'd represented and authors he'd worked with. I could see the confidence he had for himself and for his clients.

If I were to come across this agent online, I would not have been so charmed. On the literary agency website all that is listed under his name other than the specific guidelines for submitting queries are three very short sections: "Currently looking for," "Currently not looking for," "Adult books," and "Books that I love."

I will trudge on in my search, but I must leave one piece of advice. If you have the opportunity to attend a conference or a workshop where you will have the chance to meet editors and literary agents in person--do it! You will not only have a better chance of them looking at your work, but you will also have a better idea of whether or not they will fit you as a writer.

Write on!