Thursday, March 24, 2011

Which Agent or Editor is Right for You?

What do you get when you mix an elephant and a rhinocerous?  Helifino.

Often, after that first, second, or umpteenth rejection, that's what we say when it comes to what an agent or editor really wants.  I mean, we're sending good, quality work.  Why can't they see the genius?

Scott Eagan made this point so clear this past weekend when he told the Kentucky Romance writers about a time he sat on a panel with other agents and answered questions for a group of writers.  After the Q&A session was over, an author approached the agents and said that she finally understood why one of the agents kept rejecting her and would more than likely, never accept her writing.  The agent liked a different kind of voice than she wrote.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  They always strategically place that little tidbit at the end of the rejection letters that the publishing business is subjective and maybe my writing would fit with another agent and all that, but we all know that's just patronizing, pat-on-the-back speech, right?  WRONG!

If the top of your top ten wishlist of agents or editors likes a snarky, snappy kind of heroine, but you write the female version of Dudley Do-Right, then, more than likely, you're never going to get that yes.

So, how do you find out which agents or editors are right for you?  Believe it or not, it's easy and even fun.  All you need to do, is find out who their clients are and read the latest books published through that agent or with the help of that editor. 

But, how do you find out who their clients are?  All you need is the internet, which you obviously have if you are reading this.  Websites like or actually list agents, their clients, and even give easy access to what projects that agent is looking for.

Once you know who their clients are, you can then find the latest release where the publisher and sometimes even the editor (in the acknowledgments) are listed.

Now the fun part is reading the books, but rather than reading them for entertainment, you read them with purpose.  Your purpose is to figure out what the agent or editor liked about this manuscript, liked it enough to give it a chance to be published.  If you really want to understand what they want, read the first time authors.  They are the ones the agent or editor really took a chance on.

My next post we'll look at ways to analyze the books you read, and exactly what you should look for.

Happy writing!

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