If you are currently without representation, signing with a fantastic agent is an excellent resolution to make!
Here are some ideas to consider as you prepare to approach agents:
- Visit agency websites. Ask yourself:
- Does the agency have a website, such as www.stevelaube.com?
- Does the website appear professional? Is it easy to navigate?
- On the sites that list their clients such as we do, do you see yourself as being part of this family? If you do, excellent! But if no one else seems to be writing anything remotely like what you’re writing, you may consider if this particular agent has the right set of contacts for you.
- Read and comment on agency blog posts. The fact that you’re reading this blog, even if you don’t leave a comment, means the world to us. If you read us regularly, please be sure to subscribe to the blog. We all work hard to bring you worthwhile reading every weekday; and when you leave comments, we know we aren’t shouting into an echo chamber. That’s not to say that you must struggle to think of something to say each day. But if a point occurs to you, please join us.
- Conversations make this blog more fun and informative for us and your fellow readers.
- Your name becomes familiar to the agent. So do your viewpoint and personality. All of this is beneficial when you are thinking of working with an agent.
- You become part of a community. I can see a fan base developing for some of our commenters. Many’s the time when my blog commenters have encouraged one another in their writing.
- Ask your writer friends about their agents. Sometimes they may offer to refer you. If not, you can still query wonderful agents on your own.
- Tend to your website.
- If you don’t have a website, please make haste to put one up as soon as you can. We don’t sign authors based on whether or not they have a website, but agents and editors do visit author websites.
- Keep your website updated. If you stopped blogging in 2018, remove the dates and start blogging again.
- Make sure your website is focused on your topic, especially if you are writing nonfiction. If you’re pitching a book on parenting, it doesn’t make sense for your website to focus on your car-maintenance business. If you do have a side business, we recommend keeping that separate from your author website.
- Polish your proposal. Make sure your proposal is the best it can be before submitting to an agent. Be sure to include past books, even those with low sales numbers or those on other topics. We need to know your entire publishing history.
- Have terrific photos of yourself available. Make sure you have high-resolution copies available, and a copyright release from the photographer. Pleasing headshots are useful for:
- Social-media avatars
- Your website
- Your proposal
- Flyers advertising your book signings
- Book covers
- A manuscript. Editors and agents prefer a complete document over an incomplete work, particularly with fiction.
Enjoy the journey!
What are you looking for in an agent?
What tips can you offer for finding the right agent?