Author Topic: How to be book agent worthy?  (Read 4026 times)

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Offline Sheik Yerbouti

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Re: How to be book agent worthy?
« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2008, 11:02:01 PM »
I'd say pick out 5 agents, figure out what conventions they are going to...get a bunch of copies of your manuscript, and see if you can knock 'em all out in 1 or 2 conventions...

Fortis,

Did you know that the Henderson Writer's Group puts on the Las Vegas Writer's Conference every year at Sam's Town?  Okay, you probably did know that but I just discovered this yesterday.  Unfortunately it was last month so I'll have to wait a year for the next one, but I should have have a presentable book by that time anyway.  It's small but it's supposed to be pretty good and hey, it's right down the street from my house so there's really no reason not to go. 


Offline ebeth

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Re: How to be book agent worthy?
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2008, 05:44:38 AM »
Thanks everyone for your help.  I am planning on going to a couple of conferences in NYC in October where I plan to "accidentally" drop cash next to an agent and see what happens.

You would still think in a world where I get rejected daily by various groups of people i.e-loan officers, bosses, credit card companies, etc-I would at least get an easy rejection from an agent.

In hopes of attracting one I posted an open letter to agents on my blog, www.antiaffirmations.blogspot.com

feel free to read it and let me know if i made an attractive offer for agenting services.

And again, many thanks.
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Offline Fortis

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Re: How to be book agent worthy?
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2008, 11:22:39 AM »
I'd say pick out 5 agents, figure out what conventions they are going to...get a bunch of copies of your manuscript, and see if you can knock 'em all out in 1 or 2 conventions...

Fortis,

Did you know that the Henderson Writer's Group puts on the Las Vegas Writer's Conference every year at Sam's Town?  Okay, you probably did know that but I just discovered this yesterday.  Unfortunately it was last month so I'll have to wait a year for the next one, but I should have have a presentable book by that time anyway.  It's small but it's supposed to be pretty good and hey, it's right down the street from my house so there's really no reason not to go. 

What? I had no idea they had that! Well that is really good to know. Thanks for telling me, I'm definitely going to keep that in mind for when I finish my manuscript.


Offline Tripe

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Re: How to be book agent worthy?
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2008, 11:24:33 AM »
Speaking of, do you have a new version I could look at?


Offline Fortis

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Re: How to be book agent worthy?
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2008, 11:33:23 AM »
Sorry Tripe, I received some advice from an author that I'm trying out...which is that most novice authors choose too big of a project for their first novel...its just too much out of their ability, and he said that he went and moved on to other smaller ideas he had. And he didn't actually finish his first novel until after he finished a few other ones.

He felt that my idea was like his and just too big to do it justice at the experience I have. I think he is right too, so I've been working on a different novel of mine right now. Its a short sci-fi thriller I came up with, and it won't be that hard to write. So I'm planning on returning to my first novel and doing it justice after I finish this and one other idea I have.

I'll send something your way when I get a better fleshed out manuscript.


Offline Tripe

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Re: How to be book agent worthy?
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2008, 11:35:22 AM »
Alright, whatever you feel comfortable with :)


Offline Fortis

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Re: How to be book agent worthy?
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2008, 11:45:52 AM »
Yeah I told him that I was really getting frustrated with the constant rewrites, and the characterizations were becoming to complex and emotional for what I feel my skill level is. So he said do what he did...come back to it later. To be honest I've never even considered doing that so I'm a little relieved to move onto something new.


Offline skenderberg

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Re: How to be book agent worthy?
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2008, 11:45:52 AM »
Guys, if an agent's client list is full, he will not respond to you no matter how many querys you send him.  If you stalk him at a convention, he will politely tell you that his client list is full, and then avoid you if you keep insisting.

Here's the method I recommend: Subscribe to http://www.writersmarket.com and see who's currently accepting querys.  Research each one to make sure they represent the kind of material you write and find out what kind of material they want up front.  Some want a summary, some want chapters, and some just want a letter. 

If they want a "reading fee", stay far, far away.  These agents make their money from submissions, not commisions.  Preditors and Editors (http://anotherealm.com/prededitors/) is a good way to find out who's genuinely interested in you and wants to take advantage of you.

Anyway, about 95% of the agents I've queried this way have responded.  30% have asked me for further material.  Two offered me representation.

Yes, I have an agent now, and she has actively helped me with my manuscript (without asking for upfront fees, I might add) and is shopping it around to editors.  Will she be successful?  Who knows.  An agent is not a guarantee of publication.  Publication is not a guarantee of success.  The process has taken years, and will take years more even if she starts negotiating a contract for me tomorrow.  It's a good thing I like writing for its own sake.
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Offline Sheik Yerbouti

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Re: How to be book agent worthy?
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2008, 12:41:24 AM »
Guys, if an agent's client list is full, he will not respond to you no matter how many querys you send him.  If you stalk him at a convention, he will politely tell you that his client list is full, and then avoid you if you keep insisting.

Here's the method I recommend: Subscribe to http://www.writersmarket.com and see who's currently accepting querys.  Research each one to make sure they represent the kind of material you write and find out what kind of material they want up front.  Some want a summary, some want chapters, and some just want a letter. 

If they want a "reading fee", stay far, far away.  These agents make their money from submissions, not commisions.  Preditors and Editors (http://anotherealm.com/prededitors/) is a good way to find out who's genuinely interested in you and wants to take advantage of you.

Anyway, about 95% of the agents I've queried this way have responded.  30% have asked me for further material.  Two offered me representation.

Yes, I have an agent now, and she has actively helped me with my manuscript (without asking for upfront fees, I might add) and is shopping it around to editors.  Will she be successful?  Who knows.  An agent is not a guarantee of publication.  Publication is not a guarantee of success.  The process has taken years, and will take years more even if she starts negotiating a contract for me tomorrow.  It's a good thing I like writing for its own sake.

Thanks for the helpful info.  Everything I've read indicates that if an agent tries to charge you any kind of fee, run away.  I subscribed to Writers Market when I was looking for magazine markets to submit stories to, it seems like a lot of their info was outdated.  At least as far as short story submissions go, I never looked at the agent part.  I ended up using www.duotrope.com to look for magazine markets, up to date and free.  Another site that was recommended to me was www.agentquery.com, they seem to have a lot of good info.  I should add that this site also links to a number of blogs run by actual literary agents so there's got to be some good stuff in there.

Glad to hear you got an agent!  That means there's hope for the rest of us!
« Last Edit: May 24, 2008, 01:03:14 AM by Sheik Yerbouti »


Offline Sheik Yerbouti

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Re: How to be book agent worthy?
« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2008, 12:44:49 AM »
Yeah I told him that I was really getting frustrated with the constant rewrites, and the characterizations were becoming to complex and emotional for what I feel my skill level is. So he said do what he did...come back to it later. To be honest I've never even considered doing that so I'm a little relieved to move onto something new.

You might want to try writing a few short stories.  It forces you to be disciplined since you have to convey your ideas in a small amount of words.  Also, if you submit some to magazines, you could get a publishing credit or two out of it. 


Offline skenderberg

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Re: How to be book agent worthy?
« Reply #25 on: May 24, 2008, 07:16:24 AM »
Yeah I told him that I was really getting frustrated with the constant rewrites, and the characterizations were becoming to complex and emotional for what I feel my skill level is. So he said do what he did...come back to it later. To be honest I've never even considered doing that so I'm a little relieved to move onto something new.

You might want to try writing a few short stories.  It forces you to be disciplined since you have to convey your ideas in a small amount of words.  Also, if you submit some to magazines, you could get a publishing credit or two out of it. 
That's really good advice.  Magazine publishing credit isn't as important as a really good manuscript, but agents who want you to start with a query only will see your publishing credit first.  Plus, it feels great to have something to put in the "previously published by" section of your cover letters.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2008, 07:22:02 AM by skenderberg »
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Offline Tripe

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Re: How to be book agent worthy?
« Reply #26 on: May 24, 2008, 07:18:12 AM »
Yeah I think the short story suggestion is a good one. You could even write them in the same setting as your eventual novel. It'd help you flesh out the background a bit. :)


Offline Sheik Yerbouti

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Re: How to be book agent worthy?
« Reply #27 on: May 26, 2008, 10:47:11 AM »
Yeah I think the short story suggestion is a good one. You could even write them in the same setting as your eventual novel. It'd help you flesh out the background a bit. :)

That's what I've done with several of my short stories, used them to showcase characters I'm working on.  At the same time though you want to make sure that the story is self contained, you shouldn't have to have previous knowledge of the characters or settings to enjoy it. 

Another good thing about getting a short story published is it can really bolster your self esteem.  Writing a novel is a huge commitment (as I'm finding out) and it feels like you're stumbling around in the dark most of the time because it's hard to get feedback and know if you're on the right track.  You can only bug your friends and family to read your work so many times!  If you can write a short story and get it published, you at least know that you've got the goods.