From Writing to Publishing

Interrogating Agents (Politely!)

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Welcome, fellow writers. This is our last lesson for this four-week session Finding Literary Agents. Let’s get to it.

Today, I can’t stress etiquette enough. I know you’re from the Gen X and you’re used to getting your own way with a firm and demanding “gimme!”…or is that Millennials…? Regardless, there’s a whole world of opportunity which will open up if you can keep a cool head and simply learn to be polite. Foreign concept, I know, but you can do it.

Ya’ll are gonna unfollow me after this, hahaha… “Fanny’s such a rude@r$& b□tt!”

Okay, so hopefully you did your homework and have a booklet of multiple agents to contact. And by multiple I mean MUL-TI-PLE. You’re going to want to send out queries in incriments of 5 or 10. It really is a numbers/waiting game. All right, writers, start your engines…

Here is where etiquette is crucial. Agents, like publishers, recieve dozens, maybe hundreds, of queries a day. They’re inundated with possibilities. Keep that in mind when weeks go by and you don’t hear from them. Your query is most likely to catch their eye if you can be polite, professional, and friendly. There are some key things to look for when querying:

Preferred method of contact
Synopsis/no synopsis
Manuscript/no manuscript (also how much)

I encourage you to personalize each query letter to the specific agent you are sending it to. Nothing elaborate, but see if you can speak to the person and not to the entity. They are humans. If you can reach their imagination and spark interest, you have a much better chance of getting picked. Obviously, don’t treat them like you would your best friend, but really see if you can relate to their interests.

Edit your queries just like you would your book. Have a trusted friend or teacher beta read for you. You really, really, really don’t want typos in your letter, and you want it to catch people’s interest. If your friends think it’s boring, the agent will most likely think it’s boring too.

Now, once you send out your first batch, make sure to check those agents off in your list. While you’re waiting, you can sit back and keep writing. Give it a few weeks before you begin this process again. And keep your chin up! Stay focused, stay positive, and stay determined.

Thanks for reading!

This has been,

Fanny T. Crispin

Series Title:
*Literary Agents – Where Are They Hiding???
Subtitle:
*Week Four; Interrogating Agents (Politely!)

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From Writing to Publishing

Investigating Leads

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Got a decent collection of agents and/or companies? Good, let’s get to work.

Obviously your most efficient tool will be the internet, that holy database of…data. You’re going to want to double check your leads on professional places like LinkedIn. Generally, if a published author is putting an agent’s name in his or her acknowledgments, it’s a good indication that the agent is legit, but it’s always a good idea to check them out on multiple platforms. Don’t ever message these people on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites. Social media is their personal time. No one wants to be pestered with work on their personal time.

As you begin your career as a writer, you want to remain professional. If dressing up in a business suit or closed-toe heels makes you feel more professional while you browse the internet, do it.

Now pay careful attention to the method in which the agent chooses to be contacted. Whether it be email or snail-mail, you’re going to want to comply to their wishes to the letter. Dot your i’s and cross your t’s and all that. Grab your little notebook/phone/etc and create separate lists for each agent that you investigate. Don’t contact anyone yet, just accumulate information. We’ll talk about etiquette and decorum next week as well as the right and wrong way to contact an agent.

Until next time!

Fanny T. Crispin

 

Series Title:
*Literary Agents – Where Are They Hiding???
Subtitle:
*Week Three; Investigating Leads

From Writing to Publishing

Stalking Acknowledgenents

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Week 2 of seeking out literary agents.

So hopefully you haven’t been camping at a bookstore all week, gotten yelled at by management, hauled away by the police, and finally locked up in jail as a crazy person. That wouldn’t be good. Use your head.

All right, are you at your favorite bookstore and/or have plans to visit said store? Great, let’s get started.

Objective 1: Find a few books in your genre.
Objective 2: Skip to acknowledgements – Do not, I repeat, do not be tempted to read the book!
Objective 3: Search for keywords like – oh, I don’t know – “thanks to my wonderful agent so-and-so.
Objective 4: Record this information (agent’s name and/or company) in a safe place, such as a phone, a computer, or a notebook.

Most authors who use an agent will express their appreciation for the agent’s hard work in getting the book published. Without that agent, the author would probably still be querying publishing companies or curled up in the fetal position somewhere crying… Hopefully, the author not only put down the agent’s name, but also their company for you to Google later. God bless Google.

That’s all for today, folks!

Until next time.

Fanny T. Crispin

Series Title:
*Literary Agents – Where Are They Hiding???
Subtitle:
*Week Two; Stalking Acknowledgements

From Writing to Publishing

Moonlight in Bookstores

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All right, Day 1 of seeking out literary agents. Here we go!

We already know writers are a bunch of plagiarist, so the mission I’m sending you on should come as no surprise. Let’s get started.

Objective 1: Get thee to a bookstore!
Objective 2: Find your genre.
Objective 3: Pick up a book in your field – specifically age-range and look/feel of said book.
Objective 4: Camp out for a week.

What? I said we were going to keep this short and sweet. I’m delivering 1/2 of my bargain, so chill out. I will aim to publish a new segment weekly for this mini series, giving step-by-baby-step instructions. In the meantime, feel free to talk amongst yourselves, jot down notes or thoughts, doodle on some paper, twiddle your thumbs, whatever it is you prefer to do.

Until next time!

Fanny T. Crispin

Series Title:
*Literary Agents – Where Are They Hiding???
Subtitle:
*Week One; Moonlight in Bookstores

From Writing to Publishing

Literary Agents – Where Are They Hiding???

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You’re a writer. You have a novel – a manuscript, a finished document. You want to get it published. But what the heck do you do? If you’re like me, you know writing. You’ve done tons of research. You’ve edited. You’ve sweat, bled, and cried to bring this love-child into the world. But what do you do with it now that it’s here?

Let’s explore this foreign land. I’ve touched on this process before and you can find more helpful hints in Writing Help. But, honestly, finding and querying an agent can be a daunting task, so this series will break it down into a few small steps. We’re going to keep it as underwhelming as possible.

Let’s get started, shall we?

In this series, we are going to:
1. Moonlight in Bookstores
2. Stalk Acknowledgements
3. Investigate Leads
and finally,
4. Interrogate Agents (Politely!)

Let’s keep it fun, real, and lighthearted. After all,…this can be a scary process. But you can do this, because I believe in you, and you should, too.

This has been,

Fanny T. Crispin