Five Sure-Fire Ways to Get an Agent’s Attention
Blogger: Cynthia Ruchti
“You have my attention.”
What author wouldn’t want to hear that response? In the sea of queries, submissions, proposals, conversations, how can your submission stand out?
How can your work get noticed? For the right, sure-fire reasons?
1. FOLLOW SUBMISSION GUIDELINES TO GAIN ATTENTION
“What? Wait a minute. This proposal is exactly what I asked this author to send to me. Formatted according to the guidelines. With all the elements suggested.
“Author, you have my attention.”
2. PRESENT YOURSELF PROFESSIONALLY TO HOLD ATTENTION
It’s an attention-getter to have a new author with a great, professional-looking headshot. Like my client Angelia White.
The professionalism agents look for translates into other arenas as well.
Social media: Is an author coarse, rude, harsh, or unkind on social media? That’s the wrong kind of attention.
(Angelia–all Books & Such clients–are known for their public professionalism. It’s a calling card of Books & Such agents, too.)
Conferences: If a prospective client pouts over a critique, spreads rumors, or otherwise acts unprofessionally in public, a sparkling proposal loses its shine.
Correspondence: Impatience shows up in emails and messages. Keep calm. Draw an agent’s attention.
3. SHOW THAT YOU’VE DONE YOUR HOMEWORK TO WARRANT ATTENTION
An attention-getting author stays alert to recent releases in his or her genre of preference.
He or she knows the kinds of titles that fit that genre.
Attention-getting authors understand what readers expect. It shows in their submission’s sample chapters. It shows in the query or proposal.
Bark up the right tree. (See what I did with the photo? I got your attention with a unique plot twist. The infamous cat-bark.)
Agents take notice when an author knows how to tailor the project to the unique strengths/interests of target publishers.
4. DEFEND WITHOUT DEFENSIVENESS TO EARN AN AGENT’S ATTENTION
Immature authors need not apply.
Authors who can successfully defend their premise, title, or storytelling method without growing defensive grab agents’ attention.
5. MAKE AN EDITOR’S JOB EASY TO GAIN ATTENTION
An agent perks up when an easy-edit proposal crosses her desk.
If the writer shows careful attention to detail in self-editing, an agent sinks into the joy of reading.
We listed five sure-fire ways to get and hold an agent’s attention. Put yourself in an agent’s fur. Or shoes.
What would make you sit up and take notice?
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