View Full Version : The answers about agents and publishers

04-06-2004, 07:37 PM
I published my 1stBook through an AuthorHouse that was self-published :grin Well, back at that time I didn't think that I had the time, the patience, the knowledge and the fortitude to seek out a traditional publisher or agent. Over the past year I have done much research and feel that I can give some good advice.

1.) Purchase a copy of the 2004 Writer's Market (or if you are reading this months from now - hold out for the 2005 edition). If you can't find the publisher or agent that you are concerned about - then don't go through them. The Writer's Market has an excellent website that the subscription is worth its weight in gold. This site gives you daily updates and gives you the cutting edge to find out who is really looking for what you have written. To send queries and proposals to someone who isn't even interested in your genre is a waste of your time and postage.

2.) Seek out an agent that is a member of the AAR. This narrows the playing field a bit - but it is well worth it. After all, you don't want to be another unsuccessful, disgruntled author like some of us, do you?

3.) Build up a small library of books for yourself. I recommend Writer's Digest Book Club - or going to Borders to purchase some of these books.
-There are some great 'Complete Idiot's Guide's' out there depending on what you want to get published.
-Get a book on formatting your manuscript
-Get a book on how to create queries and book proposals
-The 'Everything Get Published' book is a good buy as well

If you are looking for advice from someone who has learned the hard way...feel free to email me at ZoeJesnik@neo.rr.com

You can also view my website at www.geocities.com/zoejesnik

Good Luck and Be Smart :clap

04-07-2004, 12:00 AM
Excellent advice, Zoe! I just wanted to add to it that if you're planning to go through an agent (which I strongly recommend) there is also an annual "Guide to Literary Agents". I'm not sure if it's put out by Writer's Market or another such organization, but it expands on the list you will find in Writer's Market. In the 2003 version, there were over 600 agents listed, with a break down of what types of books they take. There were 84 who took romance. I narrowed it from there through my own research, but it gave me a great list to start off with. I didn't even send to half of them (I broke them into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice lists) before I was signed on by a WONDERFUL agent!

Also keep in mind that there are some excellent resources on the web. Many publisher, agent, and writer's sites have advice on things like formating, querying, and the synopsis. (whether or not you write romance, eharlequin.com is one of the best.) Plus, if you're not shy, you can hang out in the writer's chats and grill the published authors and agents you meet. I learned most of what I know that way and have made some great friends in the process.


04-07-2004, 07:38 AM
Double check agents you find in writers' guides who aren't AAR members. Most writers' guides include at least some questionable agents. Avoid online agent listings for primary research; they are likely to be outdated or have a lot of questionables.

The guides I like best are Jeff Herman's WRITER'S GUIDE and Rachel Vater's book--she used to do WD's GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS but she seems to have taken her book to a different publisher in 2004. Neither book is perfect: for instance, Herman's book lists the Robins Agency, which has never sold a book in the whole of its existence and charges "marketing" fees of up to $3,000. But both books provide a wealth of information about the agents they list, and are updated every year.

- Victoria

04-08-2004, 10:20 AM
I have the Jeff Herman's book. The Harris Agency is listed in there, but with very minimal info (and no sales record). Apparently, Harris is not in AAR. So don't trust a reputable source like Jeff Herman's either. Do your research.

04-09-2004, 01:21 AM
...between herman's and vater's listings, i'll take vater every time... i find it more reliable and with more accurate to-the-point other info... m

04-09-2004, 04:42 AM
This is under "Robins Literary Agency":

Rejection Rate: 70% (that's a little low, don't you think?)
Number of titles sold last year: We prefer not to share this information with people we don't know. Whether we sold 30 or 130 doesn't mean we can sell yours or can't.

Hmmm... I simply don't trust any agencies that would not share sales info. I just wonder, what do they have to hide?

04-09-2004, 07:14 AM
mamma, I like Vater too, but she's got at least as many questionables as Jeff Herman does. And her book is the one that published a sleazy article by Scott Penza of Creative Hive (eviscerated on this board a few months ago) about how important it is to hire a publicist before your book is published.

It's maddening...on Writer Beware's advice, Herman took Robins out of his book for a while, but he didn't consult us for the last edition, and she has crept back in. I truly don't understand why the authors of these guides--not to mention the organizers of the many writers' conferences that invite agents with bad reputations--wouldn't consult a totally reliable FREE service like ours. Or pay a quick visit to Preditors & Editors.

On the other hand, I think we are perceived as zealots and crackpots, which I suppose holds people away.

- Victoria

aka eraser
04-09-2004, 07:41 AM
Victoria if all zealots were as calm and reasoned as you the world would be a better place.

04-10-2004, 12:17 AM
sounds like both are less than perfect... when it comes right down to it, i just like the vater version better, i guess...

i have the 2003 edition and in comparing it to the latest hermann one that a client purchased, felt a little too much of hermann was injected into the guide for my taste... but, chacun a son gout... either guide is better than no guide at all, right?

07-15-2005, 05:05 PM
A searchable Web is your friend. Writers write; writers share info on both good and bad agents and publishers. And online searches give you a look at whether the glowingly positive information you're finding is written by trolls and shills or deceived innocents, which in itself gives you more information.