First off, I’d like to apologize for taking off the weekend without warning. I got a little sick, and trying to think while my brain is hot doesn’t work well. You can ask my poor husband who had to deal with me this weekend.
Back to finding an agent. I’ve come to the realization that finding an agent is like finding a date online. You (the author) spends hours online trying to find out about the agent. They (the agent) is usually kind enough to post something about themselves. Usually that something is all of two paragraphs. Your job is to decide who you really want to contact from this.
Amazingly, other authors seem to feel there isn’t enough information about agents out there. It is shocking the number of forums where wanna-bes (like me) go to talk about the agents they have queried. You can spend weeks going through the industry publications, but these personal experiences seem to be more valuable. Every now and then you will find things out about an agent they probably would prefer kept secret. Some agents get upset about what is said on these forums. (The funny thing is those agents go to the top of my list, since they have proven they are human.)
QueryTracker and Absolute Writer Cooler have been my favorite places to hang out lately. From these two forums you can find out a lot about an agent. On QueryTracker you can search for agents taking new authors in your genre. You can then check out what others have had to say about the agent(s). Since I use Google Chrome as a navigator, I can easily highlight the agent’s name and see what Absolute Writer Cooler has to say.
Other than learning what an agent’s tastes are, these sites can help you learn even more. How long does it really take an agent to get back to those writers he/she likes? If most requests for a partial/full happen in X time, you can assume you were rejected if X time passes. What does the standard rejection letter look like? One agent claims everyone needs to edit their manuscript. While said agent is probably correct, it is helpful to know the agent is not dissing your writing. Some agents seem more likely than others to request a partial. Other agents seem to go for the full manuscript before rejecting rather harshly. One agent was well known for saying she read the book in an entire sitting, loved it, would buy anything the author wrote, but wasn’t prepared to be the author’s agent. (Okay? Weird?)
Now, you put everything you’ve done together and figure out which agents to query first. I’ve decided to go with the shotgun idea. I was querying one agent at a time, but now I feel it is time to query multiple agents at once. This way, I am not querying 6 agents a year for the next 100 years.
Well, more tomorrow when I feel a bit better. Hope you guys had a great weekend. Don’t forget that the poll is still opened. Q&A seems to be winning. If you don’t want homework (submitting questions to me), then I’d suggest voting for something else. The website also has changes, including a favicon! (That little graphic in the top left corner of the web page tab in Chrome and IE.) Send your friends and family to the website. www.amandanicoletrisdale.com. It has a whole page for the blog!