Finding an Agent


After a few trusted author sources recommended I find an agent, I began the search last month.

I printed a list of recommended literary agencies DSC_0001off Michael Hyatt’s website, and proceeded to examine each agency website. Thoroughly. Even though I’m not exactly sure what I’m looking for. I pray as I search, so I guess I’m waiting for a sense of “rightness” that settles with me.  Something that makes me feel I’d like to work with these people, and hopefully, perhaps they’d feel the same about me.

I already “found” one such agency and sent a proposal according to their guidelines. Side note here: according to numerous sources, it appears that people actually disregard agent/publisher guidelines. Seriously? That seems to me to be the quickest way to rejection. Why go to so much work and then blow off the submission guidelines? I don’t get it. Ok, off my box.

So I submitted my query/proposal, but realistically the chance that said agency will want me seems pretty slim. Probability-wise. It could happen (oh God let it be so!), but I’m not holding my breath. Therefore, I’m on the hunt for back-ups. Following that advice from other professionals seemed like a good plan.

Unfortunately, I had never heard of most of the authors represented on every single site. 

At first that made me feel like some illiterate, ignorant dolt. Are you kidding me? I write (as an amateur yes, but still…), and I read extensively, so how is it I don’t have any idea who most of America’s current authors are? But then I found it strangely encouraging realizing how many published authors are out there. So many, in fact, that I, in no way, can keep up. Good for me in the sense that it’s okay if not everyone knows who I am or follows me on Twitter.

Some agencies represent vast numbers of authors, many whom I did recognize and have read. Famous people that I think everyone must have heard of. Authors whose books have consistently made bestseller lists. Other agencies have lists of authors who aren’t published yet, don’t have websites or seem (at least to me) to still be in the amateur writer category, if you get what I mean.

At the end of the day, my confusion (and confession) was this:

Do I want an agency like the first one I mentioned? Or a better question is would they want me? If they’ve managed to get all these great authors published, I want them on my side, right? But they’re a little intimidating with their bestseller author lists. Would I even stand a chance?

Or, do I want an agency like the second one described? If many of their authors are yet unpublished (exactly where I am) or mediocre writers (I hope I’m not), can I rely on them to represent me? Or am I simply delighted that there’s a chance for us amateur writers to find an agent?

There you have it.

Dilemma of the day. Anyone have any thoughts?


7 thoughts on “Finding an Agent

  1. Laura, we must be swimming up the same stream. I’ve read numerous agent sites. “We love any book.” and on it goes. I’m thinking wow, this might be the right agent to submit to, and then after wasting an hour on the site, I read in capital letters, DON’T SEND….(my genre). This is a lot tougher than I thought. But I’ll keep swimming against the current. Are you in? 🙂

    P.S. Great job on your other post today.

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    1. Thanks Tracy! Glad to know it’s not only me. I think for you it’s even harder – a lot of agent/publishers aren’t open for children’s or even YA material. Hang in there. We can be each others’ lifeboats in a raging current 🙂 I’m in. Can’t wait to read the words “I’ve found an agent!” and “My book was accepted!” from you 🙂 Any day now…

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      1. Actually, there are a lot of agents open to children’s and YA, but not many for children’s books with rhyming unless they already represent you. And although my book is the only one I know of that is for parents and children, it may be a tougher sell. But as you know, I’m letting God steer the the boat that we’ll climb into together. It may be a long wait or it may be a short wait. In any case, I’m onto the next project while I wait. Have a wonderful week.
        P.S. I’m so glad we met in blogosphere! 🙂

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  2. It seems like the best agent to find is one that will really represent you, and not just the one who will accept your work. I know that makes it tougher to try and distinguish between the two, but it is very much worth it in the end.
    –JW

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  3. My daughter’s HS counselor recommended she apply to several “reach” schools, several probables, and several sure things. I think the same advice works for the agent search. Go for the ones you really want, but don’t limit yourself to them; throw in some lesser ones too.

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