Tuesday, 30 November 2010

How to Get a Lit Agent? - So says Lit Agent!

In this month’s edition of Writers’ News I noticed a very interesting article on “Getting an Agent”, in which Kirsty McLachlan voices the virtues of author web profiling, i.e. blog, facebook, Twitter. All three if you feel so inclined, though she did recommend Twitter for following agents and the like as a means of getting to know more about them and their personal preferences: all things literary. She also recommended blogs for posting samples of your work: WIPs etc., and promote your characters, after all, it is they that are the important factor.


Kirsty furthered with, quote:

“Blogs are great ways to keep writing – but remember not to over-use them. Think about why you are writing a blog and whether it links into the book you are actually writing: if your book is funny, is your blog? Don’t tell your readers about your lunch or whine – whining in blogs is the biggest turn-off! Be positive and be entertaining. Think about other sites and link to them – be successful through association”. (she means gain visual presence of interested followers – this adds to your appeal as a potential published author)

But, what struck as extra note worthy was this comment, quote:

“Look for hungry agents – those with small lists and who have just moved agencies or have recently been promoted to become a junior agent”.

And, last but not least another, quote: “Remember to be passionate about your book – this might sound very obvious but too many unpublished writers feel they have to apologise in some way. An unpublished writer is just a writer that hasn’t been published yet. So talk about your book – bore people if needs be, you just never know who will hear your conversation. Get on your soap-box – start talking, shouting – about your book. Someone somewhere might hear your conversation and will help you get your manuscript to the desk of an agent”.

So there you have it: from the horse’ mouth so to speak!

The Do:

1) Promote, promote, and keep right on promoting you and your writing!

2) Have a blog specific to your book/s. See mine here.

3) My suggestion: have a fun-time blog running parallel.

The Don’t:

1) Don’t whinge and don’t cringe in the corner like a cowering dog on a pile of rejection slips!

2) Keep your profile professional in appearance and avoid clutter on writer blog: make every post count in displaying your artistic ability as a writer.

What say you - are you thinking professional image or just waffling for the sake of, and if you are indulging in the latter is it now time to set up a blog for promotional purposes?

Or is this the way to get what you want?

"You're gonna be my lit agent - right?


Vicki Rocho said...

Interesting points!

Pk Hrezo said...

ha ha! Love the pic. Great points. I'm just beginning to learn it's ok to post snippets of work on our blogs. Before I'd heard so many reasons why it's bad. Nowit seems agents like it??? Makes sense to me.

The Golden Eagle said...

This is a helpful post!

Dominic de Mattos said...

Interesting ... thanks for sharing. Things to think about here.
I am sure that if I were an agent presented with a new prospect I would search out everything that I could on them - which, of course, includes all the social media.

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you for such a good post.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Joanna St. James said...

thanks for sharing I agree whole heartedly I just need to work up the courage to post my work on line.

KarenG said...

What great tips, thanks for posting this.

gideon 86 said...

Thanks Francine,

Very important information in your blog. I want to set up a blog for my book too!. Originally I thought a website was needed for a book. I have been working on that for a while. I guess the more that's out there the better.


Roland D. Yeomans said...

Michael : Blogs are more adjustable than website. It's right out there with something new and interesting every day. Just a thought.

Francine : Thanks for a great post. I have a wonder about brand new agents. Ask yourself why you want an agent. You want an agent with contacts and an in with key editors. New agents are hungry, true. But do they have the contacts, experience, and savvy to sell your book? I have heard of authors who signed with the first agent who asked them, only to have their books languish for over a year without a nibble. They had to go agent searching all over again when they gave up hope or the agent went belly-up.

Francine said...


And, big thanks to all who've responded to this post.

Roland: good point re is a lit agent savvy and well-in, in the trade, so too speak. I think it's like everything else to do with publishing - keep your eye on the ball and note agents who've broken away from a big agency and set up on their own or in group of likewise break-a-way agents. Re my earlier post Simon Trewin (great track record behind him) who broke away and set up his own agency! Some take a break and become editors at publishing houses, so too editors quit and become lit agents.

For writers: it's a bit like finding oneself in shooting gallery full of mirrors = which is the target to pop off at! ;)


Donna Hole said...

Cool tips F. Thanks for sharing the wisdom.