Hawking Up Hairballs

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

More On Agent Queries

I sent out several more agent queries last night. Here's how it works. A site called Preditors & Editors has a listing of agents. There are quite literally hundreds of them. A very small number of them are specifically recommended by the site. Another small number are blackmarked. A few of these blackmarked agents are out and out crooks. A couple of them are even under prosecution for fraud. Most just engage in unethical, but not illegal, practices. The biggest one consists of charging a reading fee for reading your manuscript. No legitimate agent will do that.

That still leaves hundreds of agents to consider, the overwhelming majority of which the site is neutral about, so I write down the names of forty or fifty and start searching for them on Google. If they don't have a web site, I don't bother with them. That eliminates a lot, though most of those who don't have web sites are no longer in the business or are agent wannabees who are operating out of their homes. At the end of it all, I'll end up with anywhere from a couple to a half dozen to whom I will email a query. The actual emailing is the easy part. It only takes a couple of minutes.

Pretty much all of the agents want the same sort of information in your query. However, they all seem to want it in a slightly different format. Maybe I'm hurting my chances of acceptance, but I refuse to compose a different letter for each agent I query. They all get the same one.

One agent's site pretty much gave the game away. It had a FAQ and one of the questions there asked what made for a successful query letter. The answer was that the querying process should be viewed as a job interview, and that, as such, it helps if you come with a reference. This site suggested that if someone the agent knows recommended you, then you should include that in the first sentence of your query. Ah, yes, like everything else, it helps a lot if you know someone. That's not good news for a misanthropic, old recluse like me.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home