Thank you for all your kind words and support yesterday! I love the real community we’ve created in the blogosphere and count you all as friends.
How do you go about searching for an agent? I have to admit, I’ve never had one consistent system. Some people keep detailed charts, ranking potential agents as top choices, back ups, etc. I didn’t start with a single-minded approach until this spring, and I would hardly call it organized or scientific (unless you view a smattering of notes left on every paper in front of the computer screen that way!). Here are some things I’ve tried:
Reading the Children’s Writers’ and Illustrators’ Market agent section: Here is a consistent inconsistency: I only replace my old copy every other year. Hmmm… has this been part of why everything’s taken me so long? 🙂 I did get one full and one partial request this route. Still, information there — especially in an older copy — is old.
Reading and searching Cynthia Leitich Smith’s Cynsations blog: Cynthia has fantastic interviews and has up-to-date information on new agents, what certain agencies are looking for, and which authors work with which agents.
Taking advantage of SCBWI’s members’ only resources: The agent information here is helpful, like a mini CWIM. Still, it can be obsolete quickly, so always cross reference.
Digging through every issue of Writer’s Digest: Often, agents are listed in this monthly magazine. It’s a great way to learn who’s out there and what they’re looking for. Writer’s Digest has a yearly listing of the 101 Best Websites/Blogs for Writers. It’s worth sifting through.
Following agent blogs: This is one I only started this spring. Again, it’s a great opportunity to see what things interest which agents. There is an incredible number of resources at many of these sites and often links to other agents’ blogs.
Following Casey McCormick’s Literary Rambles blog: Casey has an on-going feature called Agent Spotlight. She’s done huge amounts of research on various agents and provides great links to agent websites, interviews, etc. This site helped me get a number of requests and kept me motivated to continue submitting. Thanks, Casey!
Following the Guide to Literary Agents blog: I have to confess, I’d stop here every few months, but never signed up for the email feed until mid-October, right about the time I read the article on Michelle Humphrey, my lovely agent! It is a must for any of you searching. New information about agents comes through everyday, plus lots of helpful posts about queries and the like. I credit this site for leading me to Michelle. Thanks, Guide to Literary Agents blog!
Things I didn’t do/did too late that would have been helpful: I never signed up for Absolute Write, the writing community filled with information on everything and everyone related to publishing. I did spend plenty of afternoons there, reading up on various agents. I only signed up with QueryTracker.net in October. Both of these groups would have made my search easier and more stream-lined.
Most of you, I know, do all these things and more. What sorts of things have been helpful in your agent search?
Next week, what to do after an agent requests material (or maybe not what to do, but what I did!).