Calling All Agents!

As I mentioned in my first post, I recently wrote a fantasy novel. I’ve let my sister, mom, aunt, and cousin read it, and they’ve all said it’s pretty good. But of course family has the tendency to sugarcoat things. I needed someone who could be brutally honest. (I’m still looking actually, so if anyone wants to sample a few chapters, let me know!) Anyway, I got in touch with my former creative writing professor, and she recommended that I start looking for agents. That’s my next task in the quest to get published.

My professor recommended that I look at Poets & Writers, a website with resources for (wait for it…) poets and writers. I went to their literary agent database and started hunting. One issue I ran into was that a lot of agents say they are interested in commercial fiction, and when you go to their website, they actually are more interested in literary fiction (There’s a big difference!). I found that, oddly enough, searching for agents who published graphic and illustrated works helped me find the agents who were really serious about fantasy.

After that, I went to Writer’s Digest. This website is great because they have a spotlight for new literary agents. They have this note on that section of the site: “New literary agents are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.” Perfect!

After going to those websites, I picked about seven agents who I thought might be interested in my book. I figured I wouldn’t overwhelm myself with too many agents at this point. I’m just testing the waters, and hoping for some good feedback or even some interest in the complete manuscript. I made sure to do some research about the agencies the agents worked for, and I was sure to copy and paste all submission guidelines into my list. I didn’t want my book to get thrown out because of a submission mistake.

The next step is writing the dreaded query letter (a post about that is coming soon!). I’ve only written query letters for journalism pieces that I didn’t really care about, so this is going to be a brand new experience for me.

My method for finding agents wasn’t all that structured. I’m sure there’s a better way to handle it. Any recommendations?

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