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Friday, June 4, 2010

Approaching The Right Agent

"...there are a few things you can do to that may get you into a better pile-or at least a better position within the slush." ~The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman.

As my friends are all arriving at William Bernhardt's annual writing workshop my thoughts have turned to approaching the right agent. Your querying success depends so much upon this that I cannot stress the importance of it enough. With the state the economy and everyone's finances lately this becomes even more important when choosing which conference you should attend.

Before registering for a conference because it's in a convenient location or is an old favorite, make sure there are agents attending that you want to~or more importantly, should~see. If the conference can't guarantee which agent you get to see that is a serious downside and a reason you may want to reconsider that conference. Let's face it, driving or flying a great distance, at great expense, just to end up seeing an agent who doesn't even represent your genre, is probably a waste of your time.

Research conferences carefully and then research the agents in attendance even more carefully. Make sure there is an agent there who is a good match for you, and not just because they represent your genre. Check the attending agents out on line. Do they have a blog? If so read through it and find out as much about them as you can. Many will talk on their blogs about how they like their submissions. Some even post successful query letters. You can get a great feel for what an agent is like by reading their blog. Don't forget to check Twitter as well. Just remember, many people use Facebook or MySpace type networks for family connections, not work connections, so I don't recommend looking them up there unless their agency has a page.

After a pay cut, a freeze, and furloughs (unpaid days off) were implemented at work, I had to be very careful about my selection of conferences. Which meant I didn't get to go hang out with my friends in Tulsa this weekend. And, I have an agent so that really complicated things~in a good way. You know me though, I couldn't just sit on the sidelines and let him do all the work. So, in less than three weeks now I'll be meeting with publishing house editors in New York! You can bet I did my research on them!

13 comments:

  1. I've heard of conferences and workshops, but I don't really know what they do or how they work. I should really do some of my own research! This article is helpful, though--thanks, Heather!

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  2. Just found your blog, and love it! Good luck in New York! And thanks for the conference tips. I went to my first one this year, and it's worth it. But like you said-- you've got to know who's there and if it's a good fit.

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  3. You're welcome Kari! When you're ready to find an agent a conference is a great place to start looking.

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  4. Hi Shallee, welcome to Heather's Odyssey! Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm so glad you found me!

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  5. Very timely advice, Heather!

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  6. Thanks Karen, I hope it's helpful to you!

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  7. Great post! I'm attending the SCBWI conference in LA again this year. The sessions aren't as great as last year, but I'm going to (hopefully) meet up with people I know from the blogs I follow. :)

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  8. Hi Stina, I keep hearing great things about the SCBWI conference. Sometimes the best part about a conference is the people you get to meet up with there!

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  9. Being a harried blood courier with scant free time, I am not able to make the conference circuit. I wish you luck in New York. You have intelligence, drive, and a wry sense of humor : you will find a path to your dreams. Roland

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  10. Thanks Roland! Your confidence inspires me.

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  11. I think you're probably an agent's dream client, because you know what is up to you and do all you can to ensure success!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  12. Awww, thanks Angela! Much love to you for that sweet comment.

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  13. Sending you lots of good thoughts as you get ready for the pitch conference in New York. I can't wait to hear how it goes and read your blog posts about it :-)

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