Yes, it’s that time in the writing journey to set aside my MS and research Agents. I’ve done this a thousand times, though I’ve only submitted once, years ago while a freshmen in high school. And boy was I clueless. I thought Agent research meant going to the library to copy addresses out of the out dated Writers Market. I thought a Query was a letter about how great the book was. And I thought a publish ready novel meant 200k words filled with purple pose, long info dumps and a plot that went nowhere. I shudder at the memory.
Oh, but I’ve wised up now, years later. I know now that Agent Research means almost cyber-stalking them. Reading their blogs, websites, interviews and tweets. It means learning what they’ve sold, what they are looking for, finding out their pet-peeves and wet dream books. You need to comb the web for pet’s names, where they went to school, what they did before they became the Agent. You need to know them inside and out. Are they witty, funny, professional to a fault or laid back and easy-going?
A lot of Agents have made this cyber-stalking easy to do, with detailed bio’s, blogs and public tweets. However, a lot of Agents haven’t. I’ve come across many websites for Literary Agents that are outdated, uninformative, dull, bare boned blahness. I’ve also come across many where the only thing you can find is their bare boned PM page where they list their name, address and a vague outline of what they represent.
There are writers out there where those Agents are their dream Agents. For me, however, I need an Agent I can connect with. One that I know can get the job done, but laugh with me when things get rough. I want to get a warm tingle in my tummy when I think about them. (No, not THAT kind of tingle) The tingle that tells me that this Agent is The Agent. The Agent I will bend over backwards and inside out for, the one I’ll submit with an exclusive submission but that Agent is so right for my work. The I’ll cry over if/when they reject me. The one I’ll scream and jump and cry like a two-year old when they offer me representation.
The moral of this blog post?
You need to find That Agent. Query’s are a two-way street. You have to love your Agent as the Agent loves your work. A lot of people compare the Agent Query to a job application. I’m not so sure about that. Yes, you need to be professional and all that. But I believe it’s more like dating. You need to have that spark, that commitment, that tingle. You should have more in common then just your work. Do you both love the same book by someone else? Do you both get weak in the knees at the thought of Blueberry Muffins? One site that I love beyond all other is Query Tracker. Go check it out.