Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Topic: Writing, Agents and Publishing

10-second review: How to approach an agent.

Title: “Inside Advice from Top Agents.” SA Johnson. The Writer (February 2009), 18-21. The Writer is a magazine by writers for writers.


Question: What’s the best way for an author to approach an agent? Query letter via e-mail or U.S. Mail. Short and sweet. Include author’s publishing history. If you want to know how to write a good query letter, check Google. You will find 15, 700,000 Web sites telling you how.

Question: What makes you respond to a query? Well-written query. Brief synopsis (three lines).

Question: What do you look for in a manuscript? Original and compelling stories. Sense of place. Good writing. Reason to keep reading.

Question: What do agents do? Help with revision. Help to prepare the manuscript for submission. Advocate for client throughout the publication process.

Advice? Do your homework. Know the types of material agents work with (find on the Internet). Be wary. If agents say they are agents, they are. The industry is not regulated. Watch out for scams.

Agents consulted for the article: Julie Barer, Susan Golomb. Christopher Schelling. Eric Simonoff. Lane Zachary.

Comment: In general, keep your communications with agents short and to the point. Don’t waste words. Don’t be overbearing. RayS.

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