Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Choosing the Best Agent

(This post is written by literary agent Tamela Hancock Murray and is shared here with permission of The Steve Laube Agency.) 

Selecting the best agent is pivotal to the career of any author seeking a traditional publisher. A few traditional publishers accept unsolicited (read: unagented) proposals, but as submissions increase thanks to efficient technology and the growing number of aspiring authors, those publishers are becoming fewer. Most traditional publishers prefer agented submissions. In fact, at many conferences, editors advise new authors to find an agent before submitting to them.

Here are a few tips for how to do that:

1. Keep reading our blog. Being here helps you get to know us and gives you a chance to interact with us. Thank you for being part of our blog community.

2. Interact with us on social media. This is another excellent way to see what we’re like.

3. Visit the agency’s website. Would you like to be listed as a client there? Why or why not?

4. Consider what type of books the agent represents. Most agents seek work across the spectrum, but you may want to consider if an agent specializes in your category of project. What is the agent’s brand? Also, some agencies (like The Steve Laube Agency) represent only Christian and clean general market books, while others represent both inspirational and erotic works.

5. Attend top conferences. Conference directors strive to maintain their events’ reputation and tend to vet publishing professionals they invite to be on faculty.

6. Ask friends. Asking your friends about their agents is another excellent way to find out information. But be aware that everyone has both advocates and enemies. Don’t let one negative review, particularly if the author seems quite angry and emotional, ward you off a good agent forever. And listen to the adverse reviews to hear what they really mean. There’s a huge difference between, “That agent ripped me off” and “That agent and I didn’t agree on strategy.” See if you can find a number of people who genuinely like the agent. When the agent is otherwise well-respected and honest, his strategy may be wrong for your friend but perfect for you!

7. Consult The Christian Writers Market Guide. This book is the definitive resource for accurate and up to date listings of reputable agents. It’s also full of other great information.

Finding an agent can be a scary process but we’re on your team. Talk to us and let’s get your career moving! 

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