On Finding an Agent

December 23, 2008 Personal, Writing Comments (0) 126

At this point Volve is basically finished.  I’m still combing through it for minor wording changes and some final cleanup, but it’s officially a novel, which means it’s time to get serious about selling it.  Over the years I’ve put out some preliminary feelers to see if there was any interest, and even had a nibble from one publisher that eventually fell through, but I’ve never made a really hard push at getting the work sold.  2009 is the year.

Up until now my directory of choice has been Writers Market, but I’ve found the agent list lacking.  Yesterday I discovered two great new resources, Publisher’s Marketplace and AgentQuery.  My personal list of agents interested in fantasy novels and willing to work with first-time novelists has grown from about ten up to dozens, maybe hundreds.  I also came across Pub Rants, a fantastically helpful blog maintained by Kristin Nelson at Nelson Literary Agency.  Her entries on great queries and great synopses are the most wonderful help for writers I’ve found on the web.

Other information there is more terrifying than helpful.  For instance, in 2008 the Nelson Agency received approximately 35,000 queries.  From those they requested 88 full manuscripts, and took on two new clients.  Two.  Out of 35,000 inquiries.  Ouch.

Kristin is going to get a query from me, but with those kinds of numbers I’m not holding my breath.  I’m compiling a list of 50 potential agents, highlighting those I think I would most like to work with, and start working my way down.  My initial thinking was to get some queries out this week to those agents who accept email, but (once again thanks to advice from Pub Rants) I am taking a suggestion and waiting until after the holidays to get my queries out.   I may even give it a week or two after the new year to let agents clean out their inboxes and get back in the groove.

In the meantime I am working on writing my second novel.  Let’s hope the first one finds a market before the second one is finished.

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