READERS AND WRITERS CORNER

October 23, 2009 at 7:01 pm Leave a comment

FINDING AN AGENT

This is the first in a series of articles exploring the convoluted process the vast majority of those of you hoping to publish a novel or book of nonfiction will go through. There are the lucky ones, we all read about them, but if you are reading this, there is a good chance you are not one of them. The immediate question I’m sure most of you are asking at this point is, “Do you have an agent?”
The answer is NO. But I’m still trying and will continue until my novel sees life, or I don’t. It’s easy as that. However, I have studied the markets and websites that will help you find someone who has faith in your work. That knowledge is what I will share with you in this article.
This whole writing business is not for one with a fragile ego; not for one who cannot accept rejection and criticism. At the same time, you must be strong enough to believe your work is worthy of publication. With that, comes a healthy dose of honesty and self-examination. You must have a firm belief that your writing is good and it is just a matter of time before an agent or publisher will discover this fact.
I must digress. I recently published an article about Duotrope, a most helpful website for writers. It is an excellent place to find venues to publish your work be it short stories, poems, and yes, novels. I have now discovered, that with the current economic condition, it is more valuable than ever. There are a host of places that are closing or not accepting new submissions. I have sent stories to publishers in the last few months that have been rejected, but at the same time, wanted to see more of my work. Recently, I decided to submit to them again only to find that they were closed or not accepting work until further notice. Duotrope is the best source that I know of to find up to the minute information on who is publishing and who is not. Support them, if you can.
Now back to finding an agent. First, I recommend you read a copy of Guide to Literary Agents published by Writer’s Digest Books. Here you will receive information on writing query letters, a synopsis, and for the nonfiction writer, a proposal. There are other books that cover the same topics, but this is the one I have used.
You can study the latest copies of such books for the above information. But for the latest information on contacting agents and what agent is looking for a particular genre, I suggest using the internet. Also, once your novel is complete, and never seek an agent or publisher until it is, you will find that the requirements they want for query letters or a synopsis will vary widely from what you have read.
Most also want to see some of the novel, ranging from the only the first page to the complete work.
Now, how do you go about finding an agent?
First, remember this, you should NEVER have to pay a reputable agent to read your work. Second, if an agent says your work needs editing and knows an editor that will edit your novel for a fee, run away immediately. Some agents use this gimmick to make money. However, you may encounter office fees that you must pay for copying and postage. These fees are acceptable and should be expected. Let’s face it, the possibility of publishing a novel is an ego trip and there are people out there who are more than willing to feed on your ego.
However, there is a way to protect yourself. The Association of Authors’ Representatives (AAR) adhere to a high standard of principles to become members. These are the agents you want to deal with. Their website will appear at the end of this article. This is not saying that these are the only reputable agent’s; further articles will explore how you can check an agent’s track record.
This piece should help start on the road to finding an agent and selling your novel. To say that it is a bumpy road is putting it mildly, persevere, believe in yourself, but be careful.
GOOD LUCK

http://www.aaronline.org/mc/page.do

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THE PRICE OF SUCCESS READERS AND WRITERS CORNER

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