Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Searching for a literary agent

I've been reading on a few other blogs of late about writers who are proud of themselves for sending out hundreds of letters to literary agents. These writers are trying to find an agent to represent their writing work, usually novels, in hopes an agent will help them land a deal with a publisher.

To me, this sounds like insanity. I appreciate these writers' work ethic, but sending out hundreds of letters and e-mails to literary agents is a waste of time and money, in my opinion.

Looking for an agent, or an editor or publisher, should not be done as if one is using a shotgun ... a scattered effect to try to cover all possibilities. In my opinion, a search for an agent should be done as if using a scalpel, with very precise movements.

For example, I'm currently writing fantasy. It would be stupid for me to approach a hundred different literary agents. There aren't that many agents out there who accept fantasy work. My guesstimation would be there are about 40 or so agents who will look at fantasy, and only maybe half of those have a focus on speculative fiction.

I believe it's best to study agents, as you would any market, and find the right fit for yourself and your writing. Sending out hundreds of letters to just any old agent could easily land you a lousy agent.

So far I've only tried to approach three agents. Two weren't interested, and one never replied. That's fine. That's the breaks. No hard feelings. Besides, I'm writing a trilogy, and while the first book is finished, I am still at work on the third (and some on the second). Once I am completely, totally finished with the trilogy, at the point I will get more serious about seeking an agent, but even then I'll probably only send out a dozen letters. If no one is interested, I'll try another dozen. Then, if no one is interested, I'll try another dozen. After that, I'll probably give up on the trilogy or consider self publishing.

But even if my trilogy doesn't, I'll keep writing the next novel. And the next and the next. I will sell sooner or later. I'm getting better as a writer and editor all the time. I will sell.


Anonymous said...

i noticed that TOR and DAW take submissions directly from authors. i think you mentioned submitting to TOR before? good luck with the rewrite! i've been dragging my butt on going back on my writing routine. bad cindy.

Ty said...

Get back to work!

Yes, I submitted to Tor. They were not interested, but they did include a nice, hopeful note with my rejection letter.