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Monday, June 19, 2006

Happy Dance!

It took me a several months, but I've found a fantastic agent.

This was a VERY trying experience. I didn't want to make a hasty decision, but being an impatient person by nature (I want everything to happen NOW! LOL), it was HARD to wait and let every agent have time to review my submission. Now that I look back, I know it was worth it, as painful as it was (agonyyyyyyy). I am confident I have chosen an agent who has my best interest at heart, who will take the time to build my career, and has no qualms about delivering frank but well-meaning advice. She's fabulous. Has great energy. I'm confident our partnership will take us somewhere great!

I get lots of emails asking for advice on selecting an agent. I tell everyone it's very difficult finding the right agent. It's like finding the right spouse. There needs to be chemistry. There needs to be trust. I recommend folks take their time and make a good choice, not just jump at the first offer that lands in their laps. Know there are benefits and drawbacks to ANY agent you choose, regardless of their name, experience or status in the industry. Sign with a newbie agent, and you'll face certain challenges. Sign with an established power-player and you'll face an entirely different set of challenges.

Do you need an agent?

That depends upon your goals and where you are in your career. If you have a few epub books under your belt and are looking toward NY for your next submission, then I'd say you're ready. If you're getting "Dear Author" rejections from epubs, then it's too soon. Hate to be harsh, but that's the way it is. Getting an agent is tough, even for NY published authors. Getting an agent as an unpubbed author, who is getting rejections from epubs...close to impossible (notice, I said "close"). If you haven't submitted to an epub and have no measure of your work's saleability, then join Romance Divas or some other group, enter a contest, get some honest feedback.

Next, how do you find agents to submit to?

I recommend authors start with RWA's list of "recognized" agents (assuming they aren’t able to get personal recommendations/referrals from friends). Note: I wouldn't blindly trust that every agent on that list is good. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Find current clients (and past clients if you can locate them), contact them, and ask for their opinion. Do a Google of the agent's name. Look at Publisher's Lunch (Click Here) and see if they have sales.

Have they had any sales in the past six months? No? Warning flag. See their names on blogs, mentioning "past troubles" or vague references to problems? HUGE, blinking warning sign. Move on.

Next, after you're done your research, generate a short list of agents and arrange them according to first, second, third choice, etc. based on what you've learned. Submit multiple queries. There's no law against it. You'll be agent-hunting for years if you don't. As soon as you get back a rejection or two, send out a few more queries until you've exhausted your list.

If you get more than one request for a partial, mail them out simultaneously, letting the agents know they're multiple submissions. It's proper etiquette and your honesty will be appreciated. Also, be truthful about the status of the project. Don't say it's complete if you've only written half of it, assuming you'll have plenty of time to finish it! That little white lie may sprout huge shark teeth and chomp you to bits. It's happened to too many authors to count. It's Murphy's Law. Tell an agent the book is complete, and watch him/her call a week later and a request the full. You'll be rushing to fill up those remaining 200 pieces of blank paper, and the book will suck, and you'll get a rejection, and you'll blow your chance with the agent of your dreams.

When it comes time to make your final choice, it gets a little more difficult to give advice. Like I said above, every choice will have its good points and bad. Your job is to know what they are and to carefully weigh them. In the end, you’re the one who will have to work with this agent, to put your career and money in their hands. Don’t take this decision lightly. Yes, agents usually have a clause in their contracts, allowing you to sever the relationship at will, but that doesn’t make the process painless. Signing with the wrong agent can cost you months of frustration, OR WORSE. DO NOT SIGN with an agent if you are not 100% sure. I guarantee you’ll regret it.

Questions? Comments? Post them in the Comments and I'll respond.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:31 AM |

6 Comments:

Commented by Blogger Jen:


I'm being very sllllloooooowwwww about this. I found an agent I want. I've queried her and I hope to hear from her by the end of the month. She doesn't hold back, that's for sure. All the stuff you've suggested is great stuff, Tawny.


2:38 PM 
Commented by Blogger Loribelle Hunt:


This is great advice, Tawny. I haven't been very interested in looking for an agent, but I suspect that time is coming pretty soon for me!


4:03 PM 
Commented by Blogger Shelli Stevens:


Tawny, congrats! That's awesome. You're not going to tell us who ;)

I'm calling off the agent search for now. I just don't think it's the right time.

Some day my agent will come, some day I'll find someone! (Had a Cinderella, or was it Sleeping Beauty? moment)


7:45 PM 
Commented by Blogger Sam:


YAY!!!!
That's terrific news -
So...Tell us who it is!!
LOL!! Inquiring minds want to know!


3:25 AM 
Commented by Blogger Tawny Taylor:


I'm with Natasha Kern :) She's fabu! Love her.


7:54 PM 
Commented by Blogger Lauren Dane:


Congratulations, Tawny!!


9:41 PM 

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