The Hunt for an Agent, Part 1

The Story Store is done. As I used to tell my writing students, That’s the easy part: now comes the hard part, selling it. And, unless you want to self-publish via Amazon, XLibris, or any one of the hundreds of vanity presses out there, you have to get an agent.

Publishers will not look at an unsolicited manuscript because there are liability issues involved, and because (I suspect) most submissions that come in “over the transom,” in the lingo, aren’t worth reading. If you know an author who’s actually sold a book or two, you might request a look-see from his/her publisher, but if the publisher doesn’t like it, you’re back to square one.

So: how to get an agent? Here’s my approach. Your mileage may vary.

The first step is to write a query letter. There are lots of websites out there with examples of successful query letters (meaning, the agent took on the author based on it), and one site I’ve found where you can get feedback on your query.

You can do the Googling (“query letter”) yourself, but here’s a short list:

Most advice suggests do your agent research first, but I say write the query first. You will find (as I did) that it’s damn hard. You have to condense your book into a paragraph or two, and promote yourself as well. But you know you need to do this, especially if you’ve ever been asked, “what’s your book about?” and you go into some long-winded answer.

Here’s a link to my query letter. I’ve rewritten it a dozen times. I’ve gotten 14 “not for us” generic responses, one thoughtful one (but still a “no”), and one request to see the MS.

More to come…