View Full Version : Best Advice on 'Agent Networking?'

Brett Marie
03-02-2012, 05:29 PM
I'm editing my WIP right now, and while that will take a long time, I want to start educating myself on agents, zeroing in on those who would be interested in my work.

I've started by looking up which agents represent my favorite contemporary authors, and am looking at the websites discussed in the stickies at the top of this board, so that I have the beginnings of a list of agents to go to when I'm ready.

I've heard of ways to approach an agent other than just querying by mail or email. People talk about going to conferences and conventions and seeking these people out. I don't have the luxury of going to these events, and I'm wondering if there's another way, perhaps online, to start moving in agents' circles, to establish some preliminary contact or even build a rapport before I pounce on an agent with my query.

Does anyone have any suggestions, or should I just spend my time building a word-perfect query and take it from there?

03-02-2012, 05:35 PM
Does anyone have any suggestions, or should I just spend my time building a word-perfect query and take it from there?


Even if you were to go to one of the conferences, you'd still need to follow-up with a good letter and, if it's fiction, a completed polished manuscript.

03-02-2012, 07:31 PM
The query is key, like stormie said. But...you could also follow agent blogs and get involved with discussions on their site. It doesn't guarantee you any real connection when it comes time to submit, but if you come across well on the site it could make a subtle impression that they remember (mainly--this person is helpful, witty, and intelligent. Not a psychopath. I could work with them if their story is strong).

03-02-2012, 07:39 PM
Yep, agreed. Start hanging out on agent blogs...really easy to coordinate this through something like Google Reader (or even blogger itself, but I like GR because I can sort blogs by type--I have a folder for agents, one for agencies, and one for other authors with whom I like to connect).

Not only will you get to know agents and their tastes, you'll get a lot of great tips on writing mistakes to avoid, query-writing, the state of the industry, etc. Also, agents often run writing contests or submission contests which can be a fun way to get your ms. in front of someone (I got a full request from an agent I thought I wasn't going to be able to query from a contest). And you'll be able to personalize your queries by saying, "I read your blog and I really love x and x feature that you have."

In the end, whether the agent knows you is pretty secondary--I would wager that the vast majority of new clients are people the agent doesn't "know," either online or personally. They're just people with great books. But blog reading can help you get to know the agent, and help make sure you end up with one of those great books.

03-03-2012, 04:00 AM
If you meet an agent at a conference and she says "Send me a query and sample pages" you still have to have a great query and sample pages. So that's what you need to work on.

03-03-2012, 05:07 PM
There's a lot of useful stuff on agent blogs, Twitter feeds, etc. But the chances of you getting to know the agent personally are slim. I'm sure there's the occasional person who is the life of the party and gets noticed for that, but that doesn't describe most of us. We're in the sea of unpublished authors and we don't look any different to anyone else. The only thing that's going to make us stand out is having a great book.

(And on the other side, even if you are the sort of person everyone notices... it won't mean anything if you can't follow it up with a good book.)