Friday, March 28, 2014

Top 10 Things to DO/NOT DO When Querying an Agent

I am actively seeking an agent for my NA Psychological Horror story, THE BLEEDING HEART, and because of this, I've been doing a lot of research.

Research?

Yes.

Researching agents is a MUST when you are seeking representation. Not only should you know who you are submitting to, but you should be sending your best work. As a first time submitter, you're bound to make some mistakes. We are all human after all; however, there are a few mistakes that can hinder the growth of your career. These are the top 10 items I see agents posting about on Twitter.


Top 10 Things to DO/NOT DO When Querying an Agent: 

1.    Only submit your manuscript to agents seeking your genre.
       ~  Every agency has a website, which specifies what agent is seeking genre.
       ~  More and more agents are tweeting their thoughts on their inboxes. Follow them. Find out
           what's on their MSWL.

2.    Label your submission correctly: know your genre.
       ~  MG/YA is NOT a genre. Plus, you need to decide what age group you wrote for.
       ~  Fiction is not a genre. Be specific.
       ~  Your story isn't everything and the kitchen sink. Pick a genre.

3.    Follow submission guidelines.
       ~  These are posted on every agency website.
       ~  Don't attach files to an email unless specifically specified.

4.   Agents like to check out potential clients online, so make sure your Twitter handle is your name
      and that you can be found. Also, if you're a blogger or have an author page make sure to include
      this in your query.

5.   Make your word count match your age category and genre. 900,000 words is too much and
      25,000 words is too little. Know your genre.
      ~  Literary Rejections has a great post on this very thing. Research!

6.   Place your name and email address on everything. Your query letter. You submitted manuscript.
      Everything.

7.    Don't be vague in your query or pitch.
       ~  Lovely language is...lovely, but it doesn't tell an agent what you're story is about.
       ~  Be specific.
       ~  If you aren't sure, have someone who hasn't read your book read your query. If they're
           confused, be sure that an agent will be too.

8.    Make sure your manuscript is ready.
       ~  First drafts are NEVER ready.
       ~  Errors on the first page are huge red flags.
       ~  Find a few good CPs to help you.
       ~  Find beta readers.
       ~  Edit, revise, repeat.

9.    Don't mass send your queries. Each query should be personalized to the agent you are submitting
       to.

10.  DON'T EVER bitch about an agent or agency ANYWHERE online. People, this is just the
       biggest mistake you could ever make. If you are upset about something, find a trusted friend to
       vent with--offline.

If you follow my Top 10 List, any agent you submit to will be judging you on your writing, not your ability to follow directions.

Amy

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