Blogger: Rachelle Gardner
I asked readers on my Facebook page for questions they’d like me to answer on the blog. It seems many are dying to know the secret to getting an agent.
Stephanie asked: What is the single most important thing when approaching an agent?
Aleah asked: What’s the best way for a first time novelist to get their foot in the door with an agent? Where should one start?
These questions always make me feel like the writers are hoping I’ll reveal the secret handshake or code-word that will break down the barriers to getting an agent. I wish it were that easy! It’s a process, with no shortcuts and no magic. Here are some things you can do:
1. Write a book that people want to read. If your book isn’t marketable, nothing else will matter. You’ve got to have a book people will find interesting, and write it well enough so that reading it is a great experience.
2. Write an effective query letter. It’s crucial that you pitch your book in a way that captures an agent’s attention and makes them want to read it. Crafting a query letter can be a tremendous amount of work, but can make all the difference.
3. Attend writers’ conferences. Make sure there are agents on the conference faculty, and take every opportunity to meet with agents, network with them, and get to know them (without constantly pitching your book). Agents often take on writers after multiple interactions with them—your query is one interaction, a conference could be another.
4. Meet agents online. You’re already doing this by reading and commenting on agent blogs; interacting with agents on Facebook and Twitter. This is not the place to pitch your project; rather, it’s a more informal way of creating relationships. You never know what might come of them down the road.
5. Network with other authors. Eventually a referral from a writer friend might help you get an agent.
6. Be persistent. Don’t query a few agents, get a few rejections, and lose hope. Keep trying. It can take awhile to get an agent.
7. It’s not just about you and your book. Getting an agent is somewhat of a numbers game. It’s an equation of supply and demand. The supply of writers is always greater than the demand. So agents have to choose, and they have to say “no” to some worthwhile, marketable books. (That’s why God invented self-publishing.)
Sorry I couldn’t provide directions to the secret passageway! Start with a great book, then do everything you can to get it in front of agents. It’s that simple—and that hard.
What is the most challenging thing about finding an agent? If you’re represented, how long did it take you to get your agent?
Here are some ways to find agents:
Everything you need to know to find an agent! From @RachelleGardner. Click to Tweet.
Agent @RachelleGardner illuminates the secret passageway to finding an agent. (Or not.) Click to Tweet.
Behold! The print and online resources you need to find an agent. Click to Tweet.