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Check out an agent’s online presence before you query

June 27, 2010

Literary Agent Robert Brown

Last year, as we prepared for the conference, I Googled agent Robert Brown (who’s scheduled to appear this year, as well, by the way), and found his blog. On his blog, were some pretty specific guidelines about what to do if you wanted to successfully query him. In his guidelines, he pulls no punches. His no-nonsense approach is beneficial to him and to you. If you don’t have what he wants, you’re wasting his time and yours. If you don’t know how to give him what he needs the way he wants it, at best, he’ll ask you to try again. Either way, you’re spending time that won’t benefit you.

In the old days, you could check The Writer’s Guide to Literary Agents and be done with it. Its listings are concise, concentrated, and guide you to who wants what you write and what you need to make them interested–mostly. Except that the book you buy today was compiled months ago.

Agents change locations. Their needs change. Their desires change. So while The Writer’s Guide is an indispensable tool to get you started, it’s no longer the last step.

Most literary agencies have websites–often listed in The Writer’s Guide. Most of the website have up-to-date information on the agents who work there, their wants and needs, and most important, their submission guidelines.

In the days when you can change just about anything about a Word document to meet any expectation, agencies are more particular about what they want. If nothing else, your ability to follow directions helps them understand what kind of business partner you might be. If you can’t be bothered to put an 1.25 inch margin to the left and right of your  manuscript, what are you going to be like when real negotiations start?

Don't be like this.

By Googling your prospective agents and checking out what they want and need, you’ll be making it as easy as possible for them to decide they want to do business with you.

One Comment
  1. June 27, 2010 5:00 pm

    Great Link – good info to pass on to un-FWA (so far) writers in my local group.

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