Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Contacting Those Agencies

pencilsImage by hownowdesign via FlickrNow that you have, no doubt, put together an amazing query letter, it's important to take the next step. That query letter isn't going to do its job sitting on your desk. In order to find an agent or agency to represent you and your book, you have to start off by doing a little research.

I started by searching the internet for literary agency databases, and after going to the homepages of each agency that represented my genre, I soon discovered their submission guidelines pages. Nearly every agency I have queried has had a different list of requirements, so it's important to review their guidelines before querying.

Here are some databases I've found to be helpful:

Now this process is a bit lengthy, and if you are planning to query several agencies at once, which is perfectly acceptable, I suggest that you keep a spreadsheet that contains a list of each agency queried, their contact information, website address, a link to their submissions guidelines page, as well as a column for the date on which you sent your query. This will come in handy as it can be anywhere from five days to six months before you hear back from various agencies.

One caution I must add when querying agencies involves dedicated research. You must acquaint yourself with the agencies before submitting your query! No reputable agency will charge a reading fee and this is just one red flag to look out for. Familiarize yourself with other books they represent, and don't be afraid to do a quick google search to make sure they are legitimate.

Good luck putting together those contact spreadsheets, and remember that all of this hard work is worth it! With every query submitted, you are one step closer to accomplishing your goal and seeing your first novel published.
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