October 7th, 2008

books

choosing an agent

Over on Romancing the Blog (a group blog I used to write for), Dee Tornio takes the mike today and asks about AgentQuest. She imagines it as an adventure/comedy movie. Personally, to me it sounds more like a video game and as if it should be said with exclamation points and a fading echo. In any case, she's apparently about to take the plunge in her search.

Earlier in the article, she says she asked her writer-friends:
"What was the criteria that they considered important in an agent? How on earth did they decide which agents to contact?

Then I went to the usual, Preditors and Editors and several other reputable lists. There was a LOT of literary agencies to consider. Then there were websites to read. And agency blogs. And FAQs.

It got blurry very quickly."

I wonder.... is it indeed so dizzying? It used to be that there were only a couple of places to find out about agents (Jeff Herman's guide, etc.) but now it seems there's information all over the internet. Based on the queries I get, I keep trying to hunt down conflicting online information about my own interests and correct them, but there always seems to be more. I imagine it grows when one is looking at multiple agents/agencies.

At the end, she asked the following:
"What was the deciding factor for you when selecting your agent? Did you jump at the first offer? How might you choose between one or the other? What would make you say no to an agent?"

She's already getting some interesting comments which I hope people will read. But I admit to some curiousity about these questions myself. Every agent is well-aware that given the way the system is set up, authors will most likely be querying multiple, er, targets (I really didn't want to use that word but it seemed appropriate). On some occasions, authors therefore get multiple offers of representation, and have to make a decision. I'm giving a workshop at an upcoming conference that's about how to choose an agent that's right for you (some people learn the hard way that not just any ol' thing will do - and that's from both the agent and the author side). But I don't often get the opportunity to hear writers talk about it from this angle, so I am reading the comments she's getting and also invite you to answer those same questions.