More About Agents

The other day, Alma blogged about getting and keeping an agent. I’d like to add one thing–a caveat, really: when you’re seeking representation, you must do your homework. This is more than knowing which agent represents what genre (which you can find out through many agent websites as well as online resources such as Agent Query). You need to know which agents are reputable and which are lackluster performers–and that means checking an agent’s recent sales, through places such as Publishers Marketplace, as well as finding out which agents represent which authors (NB: many authors will thank their agents by name on their acknowledgment pages).

And, most important, you need to learn which agents are known scammers–and you should avoid these guys like the plague. Writer Beware is one of the best watchdog groups out there, dedicated to helping authors know which agents are and are not legit. Once you make your list of agents to query, go to Writer Beware and make sure none of those names appear on its list of the 20 worst agents.

Still looking for more information on agents? If you’re not familiar with the Beware and Background Check forum at the Absolute Write Water Cooler, change that right now and dive into the public information they have on tons of agents, ranging from the power players to the newcomers to the known scammers.

Finally, there’s an upcoming seminar, on November 6 and 7 in New York City, all about agents. The seminar is hosted by Backspace (one of the best online writers forums I’ve ever encountered), and 25 agents have signed up for it. From the Backspace website:

Backspace Agent-Author Seminars – Nov. 6 & 7, Radisson Martinique, NYC“All Agents, All Day”

With 25 agents and 3 editors on the program, the Backspace Agent-Author Seminars are a terrific opportunity to network, ask questions, talk about your work, and listen and learn from the people who make their living selling books.

Two days of panels & workshops featuring:

November 6: Emmanuelle Alspaugh, Rachel Vater, Paul Cirone, Scott Hoffman, Michael Bourret, Jennifer DeChiara, Jennie Dunham, Jessica Faust, Michelle Brower, and Liza Dawson with Daniela Rapp (editor, St. Martins)

November 7: Laney Katz Becker, Janet Reid, Stephany Evans, Caren Johnson, Alex Glass, Lucienne Diver, Jennifer Unter, Miriam Goderich, Kate Epstein, Joe Veltre, Elisabeth Weed, Deborah Grosvenor, Paige Wheeler, Jeff Kleinman, and Miriam Kriss with Mark Tavani (editor, Random House) and Brenda Copeland (editor, Hyperion)

Register for one day or both! Attendance limited to 150.

Agent icon

Does the whole getting-an-agent process sound daunting? Don’t be discouraged. No, it’s not easy. Yes, it’s the business end of publishing, which is another world completely from the art of writing. But if you want to get published by one of the big houses, you’re going to need an agent. And if you want a good agent, you have to do your homework.

Hey, you’ve already dedicated your time, your effort, and your energy into writing the best work you possibly can. Why would you do any less when it comes to finding an agent to represent that work?

You can do it.

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  1. 1. Melissa

    Great information. Thanks for the post and you are right about being careful when seeking representation. I would like to add a plug for all those independent authors who have had great success selling books thru organizations such as Nothing Binding.com.

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