My second book, tentatively titled Through Dark Spaces, is finally ready to go. It’s been through three major revisions and a brutal cutting, and is now lean and sleek at 110,000 words. The plot is tight, the pace clips along at sprint car speed, and the characters are all individuals I’d love to know. I’ll print a final copy today, my husband will read it and hopefully give me his blessing…and then the hard part begins.
Although there’s been much press, in print and on the internet, about whether or not the traditional publishers are now suffering the first throes of a long and ugly death at the hands of electronic publishing, which depends not at all on paper and glue, I have decided to make one more try at publishing the “old” way. First step: find an agent. Easier written than done.
One of my critique partners has cautioned me not to “disappear down the hole of the agent search” and, after several days of combing reference books and internet, I fully understand what she meant.
Questions to ask myself:
1) Does this agent have a website?
2) If there’s no website, is there information about her on line through sites like AgentQuery (www.agentquery.com)?
3) Does this agent represent thrillers/mysteries/novels of suspense (all of which could describe my book)? If not, does somebody else at her agency represent that type of book? Maybe. Maybe not. Check the agency’s website, read the agent bios. Select the one that seems to fit the best. If none fit, move on.
4) Is this agent reputable? This one is the MOST important question, so I take my time checking her out. Check to see if she’s a member of AAR, the Association of Authors’ Representatives (www.aaronline.org), to be sure she abides by their code of ethics. Check Preditors & Editors for warnings of all kinds (www.pred-ed.com). Check SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America)’s Writer Beware website for further warnings (www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/). Finally, Google the agent, just to be sure you’re not in the market for a good hookwinking.
5) Does this agent show recent sales and a client list that contains at least one author I’ve heard of? Check the website thoroughly. Check Google again.
6) Does she list submission requirements on her website or at AgentQuery? Yes. Excellent. What’s the first thing she wants? A query letter. Hmmmm.
Next blog post I’ll discuss the query letter. Agent Kristin Nelson reminded me at Pub Rants (http://pubrants.blogspot.com/) that the query is the first piece of your writing the agent ever sees. And it’s one of the tools she uses when she attempts to sell my book to a publisher. Intimidating? You bet. Daunting? That, too. But my book is worth it, so….onward!