Monday, August 22, 2011

To Choose an Agent

There are a lot of agents.  Some are harder to approach than others. 

I've got ten on my radar right now; we'll see how those play out.  Two more are accepting queries once again at the beginning of next month, so the number may go up to twelve. 

How'd I choose them?  Well, part of the process was the same way I chose my editor: track record.  Specifically, I looked at how many of my own favorite authors they represented.  Actually, though, I said that backward.  First I looked at my own bookshelves and listed the authors (in a spreadsheet, of course--you can take the boy out of engineering, but....) whose names were emblazoned on the spines contained therein.  Mostly, anyway.  I didn't write a book about surviving in the woods with just a pen-knife, or just a shelter, or whatever, so the authors that wrote those books were out.  Hey, I enjoy the books, but I didn't write one of them.  Same goes for science fiction is not fantasy.  The two fill the same need in the human spirit, but in very different ways.  What I wrote was fantasy.  What Isaac Asimov wrote--mostly--was science fiction; therefore I'm not going to plunder his agent list.

What I ended up with was an impressive list of all-stars: David Eddings, Raymond Feist, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Terry Goodkind, Mercedes Lackey, Katherine Kurtz, Richard Knaak, Piers Anthony, Christopher Paolini (he's only written one saga, but it's a good one), and R.A. Salvatore. 

That's some big names.

There's a site that lists every author along with his or her agent:  It proved relatively useful for me in the process of linking author to agent.  I was also able to find some through Googling the author's name followed by the word "agent."  In most cases, it's not really that hard to figure out who represents whom. 

I added from a couple of other sources.  First, my editor gave me a name that she knew personally, and she's also handed me permission to drop her name in the process.  That, from what I can tell, will be quite valuable.  Also, I've been following agents and their blogs for a while now, and so I was able to pick several out of my "Facebook - Twitter - blogs" category to query immediately.  I did leave two of the agents I've gotten to know on Facebook out; one isn't taking queries right now, and the other is the guy who called me "asinine" for a response I wrote.  I have no real desire to form a partnership with a guy who thinks it's okay to flip right from idea to insult in a conversation, especially with someone you don't really know all that well. 

So, after much of a day's worth of work, I have ten agents to query.  Somewhere between nine and ten of those I'll end up not working with.  We'll see which it is later. 

Have a great day! 

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