I wrote this post months ago, but realized that since the post was under miscellaneous, writers may not find it so easily. So here goes, a few helpful tips while shopping for an agent:
1) The Query letter is most important. Be sure to give a short, yet intriguing blurb (a gist if you will) about your story. Be prepared to write a concise paragraph about yourself and your education, background, and experience with writing. (Eg: have you submitted to journals? Do you write blogs? Have you won any awards or prizes? If so, put it all in as tightly as you can manage.)
2) Polish your work as well as you can, BEFORE YOU SUBMIT. Because of the number of submissions agents get in their inboxes on a daily basis, not many have the luxury of taking the time to develop your work with you. Not until it is that promising…a diamond in the rough. Even then, they would rather have you go through your work and resubmit again when you are done. In order to avoid this, in might be a good thing to get a professional editor to work with you on the final draft, before you submit to agencies.
3) Do NOT send the same query letter and submission to a dozen agents in the same email. That is the lazy way out, and if you cannot give each email/letter your individual attention, WHY SHOULD AN AGENT DO THE SAME FOR YOU?
4) Patience is key. Remember, most agents are severely over-worked and severely underpaid. Agents get paid on commission. Also, most agencies have two to four agents working for them, and against 200-500 letters that come in each week…you do the math. There is only so much they can ingest without going completely bat shit crazy. Be assured that they will get to your work, and if they do reject you, it is after serious consideration. After all, if they truly feel passionate about your work, what would they gain by turning you down?
5) Lastly, be willing to work on revisions if an agent asks you to do so. I’m not saying you need to lose the core of your work, and thereby lose your integrity. Oh no. But be flexible and willing to bend when you can, and be firm when you have to. But remember, revision is always a good thing. When the book is ready to go out, it will.
I will write more as and when I can remember them. I wish wholeheartedly for each and every one of you to be published, if that is your dream. You should always dream!
Here’s a tip on what you should NOT do. Don’t send unprofessional, angry emails to the agents who’ve rejected you. I have received quite of a few of these lovely missiles, and so have the people I work with. In this game, rejection should be something you need to toughen up against. Take from it a helpful impression, but do not let it leave a soul crushing dent. Second, you might have to deal with the same agents again at some point, say, if you write a second book someday. Just my thought.
Have a great day folks!