Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How To Query An Agent

By Johannes Climacus

The drunk people at Needle have tweeted some tips on querying an agent. Here are two:

Which reminds one of query posts from:

Rachelle Gardner

Holly Root

Ava Jae

Nathan Bransford

Feel free to add your own tips below or on Twitter.

As always, the best advice is essentially this: Don't be an asshole.

Don't be an asshole by querying for unfinished work. No one buys part of a novel. Unless you've written GATSBY. Which you haven't.

Don't be an asshole by ignoring an agent's stated guidelines for submissions. She wants to see your first five pages for a reason, dick.

Don't be an asshole by sending in work that isn't your best. Why waste someone's time just because you "wanted to take a chance?" Show some respect, dick.

Give it some thought. Most agents are decent human beings and should be treated as such. Don't be an asshole.

Speaking of writing tips, be sure to check out the new E.L. James writers guide, filled with tips and notes on what inspires her.

“As E L James traveled and met with her readers, there was a great curiosity about how she got started writing,” explained Vintage/Anchor’s Anne Messitte, the acquiring publisher of the Fifty Shades series, in a statement. “Her personal story as a writer is inspirational to many women, and journaling has been an important part of her creative process from the start.”


Dana King said...

I'm amazed at how many people are looking for the "secret" to getting an agent. It's as obvious as a tarantula on a slice of angel food. (Apologies to Raymond Chandler.):

--Write a book they'll think they can sell. That means it's the best writing you can do, and has a chance of getting a publisher's attention. The writer may not be the best judge of either.

--Meet them halfway. Follow their guidelines. It will help to place your self in their position: getting dozens of submissions a day. Everyone has ways they work best. The agent's guidelines reflect theirs. Do what they ask, just as you'd like anyone asking for your attention to do for you.

--Give them respect (they are professionals), but don't kiss ass (so are you). If their guidelines are too arbitrary and stringent for your teats, don't submit. If they will only reply if they are interested,don;t submit. (That's my pet peeve. Emailing a rejection takes under thirty seconds. They can spare the time.)

--A query is like a job interview. True, if a contract is signed the agent theoretically works for you, but it has to be a mutual thing. if you don't put your best foot forward, you can't get a fair assessment, and it will be your fault.

Last, but most important: Stop whining. it doesn't help, and no one wants to hear it.

Dana King said...

Oops. "Tastes" not "teats."

Nick said...

I waited for a month before I sent anything out. Didn't help for shit.