Finding An Agent (Basically Like Online Dating)

It’s happening. My manuscript is going out into the world. Scary!!

Moving Forward With My Plan

After I finished my first draft, I provided you all with my plan to achieve publication. This included editing, sending to friends, sending to a developmental editor and then revising again.

For the most part I have done this. I have also entered a few contests and attended a retreat, which turned into an incredible networking opportunity. Now it’s time brace myself and send pages to agents.

Finding an Agent (Basically Like Online Dating)

For those of you outside of the writing world, obtaining an agent is basically a required step toward publication. Theoretically you can pitch publishers directly, but their time is limited and a represented author has to be vetted. As you can guess, agents take a percentage of profits; however, they use their connections on your behalf and spend their days selling your novel (and negotiating if someone bites) while you carry on with your day job. So that’s the trade off.

What I realized as I engage in this process, is that finding an agent is very similar to online dating. While it’s important that you/your manuscript be a catch and the person whose profile you’re viewing (i.e., the agent’s website) meets your basic standards, sooo much more is necessary for there to be a match.

Like with a potential mate, there needs to be a connection.

The agent can’t just see-why-someone-would-like-you—they themselves have to be excited about your manuscript and must believe in you as an author. Most importantly, they must feel confident that they can sell both.  That takes time, but I think it’s worth the wait?!

Bracing Myself for Rejection

This delicate dance toward finding a match is why everything I’ve read and everyone I’ve spoken to about this topic has told me to expect to query (i.e., pitch) 50-100 agents before finding representation.

In other words, I must be prepared for rejection.  And now that I’m pitching, I’ve internalized this lesson because it makes sense.

So in addition to the agents/editors who requested pages at the retreat, I’m focusing on people who represent my genre (and/or others like it—for example, agents looking for women’s fiction and multi-cultural or love stories—I think that’s the money spot) and whose interviews I’ve enjoyed, who represent books I like, and are in the D.C. or NY area.

I haven’t pitched 100 agents yet. I made a list, and I’m pitching in waves of 10 or so. While I wait, I need to read through the last 200 pages of my novel one more time (no one requested more than 100 pages, so I focused on getting those completed before anything else). And that’s where I’m at.

I will keep you posted. Fingers crossed!!



5 thoughts on “Finding An Agent (Basically Like Online Dating)

  1. Pingback: Thoughts on Publishing and Privilege | illegalwriting

  2. Pingback: This Week: Query-Writing Bootcamp | illegalwriting

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