How to Get an Agent
Writers are busy people, so let’s down to business. If you have any dreams of becoming a published author, you may want to look into getting an agent. You may be asking, “why do I need an agent?” Hopefully this article will help you with answering that question.
Having an agent makes your life so much easier. It is their job. Your success is their success. They get paid when you get paid.
No matter how much research you do on the publishing industry, an agent is going to know more than you do. Having an agent gives you access to their network of contacts, which in and of itself is invaluable. They can connect you with editors, graphic designers, and (obviously) publishers.
An agent is an author’s best friend. So, the question you should be asking is “how do I get one?”
First off, there are meetups and conferences. Meetups occur regularly and are much more widespread than conferences. They are also less expensive. You are more likely to meet an agent in a larger, more well-established group than you are in a smaller one, but it can never hurt to try various groups. Even if someone isn’t an agent, they may know some agents or know how you can get in contact with one. They can also help you prepare any pitches or queries before you send them off to an agent. Conferences occur less often and are more expensive, but they have a greater chance for reward. There you will meet a much wider range of people from all areas of the industry. Most writer’s conferences have a place where you can sign up to spend one on one time with an agent. If not that, they will likely have a panel or two with agents and authors talking about finding an agent and getting published.
WRITER’S CONFERENCES YOU SHOULD GO TO THIS YEAR:
DFW Writer’s con: June 22-23, 2019 in Dallas: Augie’s Bookshelf will be at this conference!
Writer’s Digest Conference: August 22-25, 2019 in NYC
Thrillerfest: July 9-13, 2019 in NYC (for writers of the thriller genre)
Northern Colorado Writer’s Conference: May 3-5, 2019 in Fort Collins, Colorado
Conferences also have their own meetups that happen all throughout the week. This is going to be your best opportunity to network with authors, agents, publishers, editors and more. Even if these new connections do not immediately result in anything, they might prove invaluable in the long run. Sometimes it is less what you know than it is who you know. Make sure you bring some business cards and a portfolio!
Social media can also be a powerful networking tool. LinkedIn is basically Facebook for the business world. Many publishers and agencies have employees that are very active on LinkedIn. They share information regularly about opportunities to meet with them and get your work recognized. Twitter is an incredibly social platform. The writing community there is large and people are constantly posting questions and advice. They want to help others in their community. The more you talk with people the more people learn your name. While it is not as professional as LinkedIn, it has the advantage of allowing you to converse with people you are not directly connected with. You can hop in on countless conversations and start building rapport with agents all over the country. It is also a fantastic place to take notes on how NOT to approach an agent. If you are looking for a one stop shop to find the agent who is perfect for your novel check out Manuscript Wish List. This is where agents post what they are looking for when it comes to manuscript submissions. Even if they do not update the information regularly, it is still an excellent place to go. Once you find a few agents that are looking for what you have, reach out to them and double check that it is indeed what they are looking for. The key thing is, don’t be afraid to reach out. Use the tools at your disposal to start building relationships with other authors. Ask questions. Learn as much as you can. Help those who need help. Because you never know when one of those connections will pay off.
We highly recommend purchasing the following book because it includes information on thousands of agents currently accepting manuscripts:
Augie’s Bookshelf does currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts, but all agent submissions go to the top of the pile.