I’m starting to query agents.
Of course, we all know that I shouldn’t have to search for agents. They should be flocking to me. In a just world, they’d be filling up my email, bringing me coffee drinks and flowers, trying to win my signature on a contract. Or, wait… maybe that’s publishers. Yeah, that’s what publishers should be doing.
(We end this pleasant fantasy and return to our original post already in progress.)
I started by looking in the Acknowledgments and Afterwords sections of books by writers I admire. Many of them thank their agents. Where I didn’t have a book where they’d done that (like, Book Three of a trilogy) I did an internet search. About 90% of the time I found the agent.
Then I went to the agency’s website and made of a list of agents who represented the writers I liked. I also made a list of other agents at that agency who repped speculative fiction, making a note of who was open to submissions. I also bookmarked the pages, of course, and took notes of what kind of query they wanted. Even within the same agency, agents don’t want to see the same things.
Then I hit the library for a review of the Literary Market Place to add in a few more agencies. This was not as helpful as I’d thought it would be. I started off with fifteen total and after I’d looked on the websites I’d narrowed that to ten I will query.
Since then I’ve found a couple other databases that might yield some more names. Poets and Writers has a database on their site here. It seems to be alphabetical by name only, with very little detail, but it’s a good starting point.
Some agents I’m interested in are closed to new clients right now but might be opening up for submissions later in the summer. I’ve added them to the list.
Then I made a table in Word. (Why a table? Because Excel is hard for me and it feels like an obstacle to everything I want to do.)
The three agents who represent three of my favorite writers work at one agency. I sent my first query out today, to one of them, because it seemed like bad form to query them all at once. I certainly do plan to query the other two.
I queried two other agents at different agencies, and I told them I was reaching out to other agents.
The whole process is like a puzzle game in the style of movie or television shows like American Treasure or The Librarians. There are mazes and puzzles and one misstep will get you evicted, the gates slammed shut against you. I could take that as a challenge. I guess I should take that as a challenge.
Wish me luck!