By Jennifer Hudson Taylor
With the changes e-publishing is bringing to the market, many are wondering if they still need an agent. My answer to most writers is, yes, especially if you still want to be published by a traditional publisher. This post isn't about the debate of why you may or may not need an agent. It's about how to find a good, legit agent who will work well with YOU.
3) How accessible do you expect your agent to be? Are they accessible to you by email, phone, blogs? How important are these things to YOU personally? Don't think you can harass them with status updates each week, but you should feel comfortable contacting them once a month or when you have a particular issue or question.
4) What kind of reputation are you seeking in an agent? Do you expect an agent who has big name authors with all the big name publishers and the large advances in Publishers Weekly? Or are you more interested in an agent who is known to be well-trusted, who is loyal to midlist authors, and who works with new writers and gets them established?
5) What kind of personality are you more comfortable working with? This is something to consider in any project or job you do. Everyone has unique personalities and some of us get along better with some than others. Pray for wisdom and be willing to wait on the right agent at the right time. Just because one agent works well with your critique partner and best friend, doesn't mean that agent is going to work best with YOU.
How does an author discover the personality and work ethic of an agent?
You can't make a determination about someone you've never met in person or have only spoken to on the phone or pitched a story to in 10-15 minutes. In fact, you need to have already done your homework on them before the in-person pitch or phone call.
1) Subscribe to Agent Blogs. More agents are blogging these days. Subscribe by email, on RSS reader or an e-reader and trying to read up on their blog posts each day or once a week, depending on what your schedule allows. Start by doing an online search for literary agents, make a list and visit their websites. Be sure to check out their Submission Guidelines. No need in following an agent who doesn't represent what you write. That is the first step in narrowing down your list.
Once you've narrowed down your agent search to a handful of potential agents, it's time to begin working on your submission process. While this is another whole blog post, I'll list a few things to think about.