Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Method to Search for Agents

I've been looking for an agent this year, and I've developed a little method that works well for me.  Finding an agent is hard work, but it can also be very rewarding in many ways.

1. I follow any agents I can find on twitter and save them in a list called Agents and Publishers. I also have other resources I could use if I ever run out of agents to look up, such as Jay Eckert's MG & YA Agent List, Casey McCormick's blog, AgentQuery, and SCBWI's Agent Directory (if you're a member).

2. When I'm ready to start another round of queries, I look up their agencies, one by one, and note which agents represent MG novels. I create a new twitter list for potential agents and another one for the authors they represent. I do that until I find five potential agencies for my book. I save all the information on a new blog post. I have two so far: Agents for MG Writers Part 1 and Part 2.

3. Once I have the basic information for agents from five potential agencies, I dig deeper. I search for interviews, read their blogs, find out what authors they represent, look them up on QueryTracker, and follow their tweets. I look agents I'm not familiar with on Preditors and Editors, just to verify they are legit.

4. I decide on which agent to query from each agency (if more than one represent MG), based on what I think would be the best match for my book and for my personality as a writer.

5. I research how to make my query better, and I revise it. At the same time, I continue researching the five agents I decided to query, reading their blogs and interacting with them if the opportunity arises. I won't do anything crazy, like comment on every single blog post they publish or retweet everything they say just to hope being noticed, but if I find something interesting to retweet or if one of their blog posts is useful to me, I'll use the opportunity. I customize my query based on their individual preferences or what they're currently looking for.

6. I send all five queries and record them on  QueryTracker. I publish my blog post to share the information I've accumulated during my search.

7. Then I go back to working on my new book and forget all about querying for a month or two. I record their responses on QueryTracker.

At this point, I'm not so concerned about the replies I'm getting. If I find an agent this year, great! If not, that means I need to work on my writing skills a little more. I'll keep working on my craft and become a better writer, then start all over again. I'm gaining experience, and when I'm ready to either revise my first book and re-submit or publish my second book, I'll have all this knowledge and experience already accumulated, and it will be easier the second time around. It's a learning experience.

My favorite part in this process? Discovering awesome authors that are just one step ahead of me. They are represented by an agent I'm considering for my book. It gives me hope.

10 comments:

KarenG said...

I love this! It's this kind of hard work, organization, perseverance and positivity that will bring you success.

Melanie Conklin said...

Writer's Woot! I agree. Taking a step forward every day will lead somewhere. It's physics! Thanks for compiling so many great resources in one post.

Annie McMahon said...

Thanks for your encouraging comments, Karen and Melanie!

tfwalsh said...

You've done such great work organising yourself Annie:)

Marcia said...

I agree with this type of systematic approach to finding an agent, and mine is not unlike yours. Good luck to both of us this year. :)

Gina C said...

Great post! I really like how methodical your approach is. I'm hoping to start this summer - aye!

akoss said...

Annie, thank you so much for sharing. I've taken a long break from query land but once I move back in next year I hope to remember this post :)

Annie McMahon said...

Thanks, everyone for your comments!

DMS said...

What a wonderful method! I love how organized it is and how much you get to explore at the same time. I was using a somewhat similar method- though not doing what you do with Twitter. What a great idea!
~Jess

Emailman said...

I wish I was as organised as you haha!!

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