Hi, SEers! Mae here. Last month I shared tips on how to write a query letter for agent representation. You can find that post HERE. Today, I’d like to share several resources you may find helpful.
Before you start submitting, you need to find an agent. There are several places you can check.
Query Tracker is a free resource that allows you to search for agents by genre or name. From there you’ll be able to discover how they accept submissions (mail, email, form), and also their website and Twitter account. Always check the website for the most current information on submitting. Query Tracker will also allow you to track your queries and responses. It also includes a list of who represents who. Look up your favorite author by last name and you’ll find out who represents them. I spent a lot of time searching the acknowledgements in books before I discovered this handy feature.
Publisher’s Marketplace offers the largest database of publishing professionals and industry insiders. It offers everything Query Tracker does and more, but requires a $25.00 per month membership fee to access all its features (Query Tracker also offers a premium membership). You can, however, view agent pages without paying a membership. I normally find the agent on Query Tracker, then look for a link to their Publisher’s Marketplace page. It should be noted whenever I query an agent, I also follow them on Twitter.
Speaking of Twitter, check the hashtag #MSWL for a manuscript wish list from various agents.
There are a number of other resources available—Writer’s Market, the Guide to Literary Agents, the Association of Author’s Representatives, and a variety of print publications. As I mentioned above, I also check the acknowledgement sections in books by authors I love. Most will thank their agent.
Finally, when you start submitting, be sure to track your submissions. A number of sites (like Query Tracker) allow you to do this online, but I also use an Excel spreadsheet. If you choose to use a spreadsheet, include the following columns:
Date of query.
Materials sent. Was it just a query letter, or did the agent ask you to include samples of your writing? I’ve submitted everything from a few pages to the first three chapters to the first fifty pages, depending on what the agent guidelines say.
Follow-up time. If one isn’t listed, a good rule of thumb is six to eight weeks.
Date response received.
Type of response. Did you get a standard rejection, personalized rejection, a rejection with an invitation to submit something different, etc.
In closing, if an agent agrees to represent you and you accept, you should follow through and withdraw any open queries from other agents. If you are interested in another agent, you can inform them you’ve received an offer of representation and politely ask if they are still interested in considering your manuscript. But you should make your decision within a two-week time frame.
I hope you’ve found this information helpful. Even if you’re not presently engaged in querying, or thinking of querying, it may be beneficial down the road. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Ready, set, go!