Jan 14, 2013

The Agent Dating Game

This post is going live about 7.5 hours after I planned.  Sometimes life just goes that way.

And on an unrelated note, when I went home for lunch today, it was 5 degrees in my neck of the woods.  In case you were wondering, that's really bleepin' cold.  Are you freezing wherever you are?

I recently started the agent search.  It's a good thing to do when the kids are all still asking for help with homework (no, I do not know how to solve for volume) and in and out.  It feels a little like the dating game.  Sometimes I feel like I'm looking at someone's online dating profile, hoping they really aren't fans of long walks on the beach and trying to figure out if what they have already represented is like what I write.

It's a funny thing, really.  We dabble in their online profiles, trying to find the balance between an agent who has proven they have success and one who isn't overwhelmed by a work load.  And what I write isn't as much romance as what lots of them represent and it has elements of what could be called magic realism, but not lots so it's still contemporary but not all the way.  I'm sure everyone has gone through this.

So, here's the audience participation part of the game - I'm using a lifeline.  When you were ( or if you still are) building your agent query list, what were the things that would make them cross from a maybe I'll query to a yes I want to query?  And I've been hanging out on querytracker, but are there other sites you like that gave you more of an insight/ awareness of what was going on with agents?  Any other suggestions?  




19 comments :

ilima said...

I highly recommend Literary Rambles. They have such great information about agents and if they'd be a good match for you. Also, that's how I found my agent, so... :) Good luck!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry, I never queried agents, only publishers.
And we were eighty degrees yesterday. Trade you!

Morgan said...

Querytracker is GREAT. I also love Absolute Write Water Cooler... I'm also a fan of Publishers Marketplace (though it costs money, it was important for me to know who agents were selling to), and Predators and Editors! Agent Query is also good for researching, though it doesn't seem very updated...

And love the analogy... never thought of it as a dating game before, LOL! Yay. I'm excited for you, Tasha!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Read the dedications and acknowledgements in your favorite books or in books like what you wrote. Many authors thank their agents or agencies there.

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

I was unsuccessful in landing an agent. But I find agentquery to be a great database.

JeffO said...

I'll agree with Literary Rambles, AW, and Query tracker. I'll also google names and see if I can find interviews and such that give me a better sense of what the agent would be like to work with as a person, and, of course, their blogs (if they have one).

Peggy Eddleman said...

Yes! It totally feels like an online dating game! I used Literary Rambles A TON. I think they mostly highlight kidlit agents, though.

Right now, it's bright and sunshiney outside and.... 5 degrees. Yes. Really bleepin' cold. At least it doesn't feel as cold as 5 degrees without the sun...

J. A. Bennett said...

I use query tracker too, then I stalk them on Twitter. But there's no right answer. Sometimes you just have to point and shoot. Good luck!

S.P. Bowers said...

No suggestions for you, I'm still figuring it out. I checked out as many of their blogs as I could just to get a feel for their personality. That helped some.

It was right around 80 degrees here today.

Nicole said...

I did a mix of research, Absolute Write, checking agent blogs, etc. My list continues to grow and morph. Good luck finding your own best mix!

Shell Flower said...

Agentquery Connect and Query Tracker are cool, but I would definitely recommend checking out the agent's blog before actually querying them. Not only can you find out what they want, you can tell if they are still even an agent anymore.

Loca4crafts said...

I have not started the querying process yet, so no advice. I just wanted to say that I love your new blog background!

Lisa Regan said...

Cast a wide net. I queried the ones who looked most fitting first and as they started to reject me, I would query the ones who were almost-fits. But pretty much if an agent said they repped "commercial fiction" I would query them. To me that could mean just about anything. And they turned out to be the ones who would most often ask for a partial or full. I used Preditors and Editors a lot--that is pretty comprehensive and it will tell you who is scammy and who is not. I also used publishers marketplace religiously but you have to pay monthly ($20). However, you can search by deals agents have made (in genre) for the last 12 or more months. Since that is the site where I found my agent, I would say it was worth it. LOL. But you can definitely get by for free, especially with Preditors and Editors. Also 1000Literaryagents.com is a good source for agents but I would cross-reference an agent with a google search before querying to make sure they haven't moved.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I didn't do a lot of really deep agent stalking like some people did. But I followed blogs and got a feel for whether or not we at least thought the same about some things.

Tara Tyler said...

the word that steered me away, literary and genres no where near mine

words i click with, quirky, sci fi & thriller (hard to find!) and adventure, a description that i could relate to and/or made me laugh!

its tough getting a rejection after pouring heart and soul into a query, but i feel it more when i hit send because i know my chances of being rejected are high. then weeks later when i got the reject, i'm like, oh yeah, oh well...the exceptions of requests make up for all the anguish!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I have a very short list of dream agents. It's like three long, and as of yet, none of them want me. Sigh. I would never sign with just any agent. It feels like a marriage...I'd rather be alone than stuck in a relationship that is driving me crazy.

Jessie Humphries said...

I got the list of the top 100 agents for my category (YA) off of Publishers Marketplace. Then I researched the top agents for more specifics (thriller) and went down the list.

Cassie Mae said...

I'm sorry I'm just now getting to this. To be fair, I'm technically on a break, but I thought I'd put in my two cents :)

I used Querytracker, but also, i'd google the snot out of the agent. If they had a blog, their twitter feed, their FB if it wasn't blocked of course. I could tell from that if it was someone I would be able to work with or not. Also, during contests, I'd pay attention to agents who requested work similar to my own. If it was a contest I entered but didn't get past a certain round or whatever, I still didn't rule those agents out who participated, but I made sure they were ones I felt comfortable querying. It's always good to have a feel for the person behind the title, because that person is the one you'll (hopefully) be working with.

Heather Simone said...

Oh, such a great post. I am just starting my query process as well and wow, narrowing down the list of agents to query first is definitely interesting. I have yet to finalize this first query round list. I'm so glad you have such great comments above. I'll be checking out all of their suggestions as well. :-)