As I wrote yesterday I will be writing an entire series about submitting to an agent using questions submitted to me along with information that I myself have found useful. I have worked with a few agents in the past but then I took several years off from writing and so I am learning this new way of contacting agents, submitting work and of course the increasing world of independent authors.
While I see nothing wrong with taking the self published route, I myself went through and Indie Publisher, but because there is still a stigma attached many people continue to aim for a traditional contract. Many people have discovered that in order to be taken seriously as an author whether traditionally published or not, it is key to edit and revise your book before allowing it into the world. Sadly there are still a number of writers that refuse to take these steps and will simply hit publish on anything they write, this is where the stigma comes from.
For those who choose to try your hand at the traditional route as I am planning to do, there are a few things to consider. One of the biggest is do you want to submit to publishers directly or should you use the talents of a literary agent? Knowing that I am not a great negotiator as well as the fact that it can be difficult to represent your own work objectively I have chosen to seek the advice, guidance and representation of an agent.
Today I want to cover the first and perhaps one of the most overwhelming steps, where to find an agent. The first place I turn to, and always have, is the best selling book The Writer's Market. There are a number of these books that can be purchased. I have chosen the original version as well as the Guide to Literary Agents as a compliment. I wanted to get deeper insight into what agents are looking for and perhaps more importantly, things they hope never to see again.
Both books offer tremendous lists of agents and cover what genres they represent, how to contact them and what should be included in the submission. Agents are contacted for a specific piece of writing so it would only be appropriate to send them the requested pages or chapters from one particular book. If you are accepted and they sell your book to a publisher then you could contact them again in the future for additional pieces but only one at a time.
For those more adept at technology or that prefer ereaders to regular books there is of course the largest tool available for finding agents, the internet. This is such a vast search location however that it can easily become overwhelming. You can start with a simple search on your preferred search engine, mine is Google. just type in things like "Literary agents", "Submitting a book", or Agents and Publishers". Any one of these will give you a host of possibilities.
After that it becomes the more refined work of looking through the sites to find one that offers the most agents for your genre(s). The two I have worked with the most are AgentQuery and QueryTracker. Both of these sites have afforded me a large number of agents to choose from across the category spectrum. Once you have your site or sites you wish to explore you can go about filtering by genre, location or any number of additional limitations in order to bring down the long list or agents.
Tomorrow I will be focusing on the query letter and all of things that can be asked for when submitting once you have found your list of possible agents.