I really, really want an agent but my book isn’t finished yet . . . what should I do?

Before we go any further, let’s clear the air, a good agent is really worth their wait in gold, as is a good copy editor, or a good proofreader, or a good cover artist, or a good marketing person. So if you’re setting your sights on an agent, and why not, here are some tips.

If you’re 6 to 12 months out from finishing your opus, don’t stress about an agent now.  You’re working at your book steadily while having a life — a life is really important for an author. However, now would be the ideal time to take a couple ambling steps towards finding your dream agent.

Think about compiling a list of agents representing successful authors that you feel write in your same genre. Do this because your agent query letters are heading to this target group first. Don’t flip out over making your list, developing it should be a casual thing, because you’re really job is finishing your book. But keep your eyes peeled.

Finding out who represents an author is usually fairly easy. Agents tend to brag about who their clients are on their websites, and authors tend to post this information on their websites in case someone wants to talk to them about a book/movie/etc deal. Do you research though, find out which agents/agencies are established, which are up an comers, which are . . . not for you.

Ok, one more publishing without an agent story . . .  The author’s little known, self-published, book is found on a park bench by a guy who happens to be publisher, he reads a bit of it and walks away, leaving the book for its owner.  Later that week, the he runs into a close friend of the author, who happens to tell him about the book. Finally, that weekend, on his birthday, a family member gives the publisher a copy of the book and says she thinks he might like it.  The publisher decides this must be destiny, and the author’s book is picked up and goes on to become a major best-seller.

Really. Publishing is that weird.

Publishing is a weird, weird business. Don’t assume it’s like IBM. Leave some room in your mind for the thought that luck, pluck, and talent do more than occasionally come through.

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Published in: on August 4, 2011 at 8:08 AM  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. That’s the worst thing for agents, to receive a query about a book that isn’t even finished yet. It must be edited to be the best the author can possibly make it before sending it off. If he or she is not yet done with the first draft or the final draft, well, agents won’t give it the time of day.
    But it is good to research agents while still writing, to have a good idea of how you might want to market your book. How to present it, which agent is right for you. It really helps to know the basics when you get finished with the final draft and must start trying to find an agent.
    Good post.
    Also, the bench idea is not far-fetched at all. Could totally happen.


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