Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuesday Ten - Tips for Looking for an Agent

Yesterday Liz over at Liz Writes posted about her spreadsheet where she keeps track of certain agent traits. That got me thinking about what I would put on such a spreadsheet. Here are my ten essentials:

  • Agent's Name. This one is pretty much a no brainer. Can't query someone if you don't know who they are!
  • Agency Agent works for. A "no" from an agent generally means it's a "no" for that entire agency. With that said, this will be an easy way to eliminate agents of the same agency.
  • Twitter Account. Lots of agents are on twitter these days, and following them can be helpful. Sometimes you can catch a comment or two about what kind of submissions they're getting. It's also a great way to get to know an agent and if you'd fit well with them.
  • Blog. Blogs are another great way to get to know an agent. Most of the time, there are links to some of their clients, which gives an even better sense of who the agent is and who they represent. Blogs are also a great place to catch some tips and hints straight from the agent.
  • Open/Closed for Queries.During certain times of year, agents are closed for queries. I need to be aware of this, so I don't end up sending a bunch of queries to closed mailboxes.
  • Genres. This is another big one. Right now I'm working on a paranormal type story and a contemporary young adult. If I find an agent that works exclusively in contemporary YA, it might not be a good fit because of my other story.
  • Method of Query Delivery. Most agents are making the switch to email only submissions, but I'm sure there are some out there that still want them by mail. On the converse, there are some that might have a submission form on their website.
  • Additional Pages. This goes along with the method of delivery. Does the agent want the first five pages? Or 10? Or maybe they don't want any pages, but a synopsis. What format do they want it in?
  • Contact Information. Email or mailing address to send the query to.
  • Books Recently Sold. This is valuable information when querying. If the agent recently sold something that's similar to my novel, it might not be a good idea to query that agent.
What would be on your query spreadsheet? Did I leave anything out?


  1. This is a good list of items. You have more things than I would have thought of for a spreadsheet like this.

    The only other thing I can think of is maybe some of the clients, but that sort of goes along with books sold.

  2. I just noticed you are almost at 100 followers! Wow!

  3. Yay! Glad you found my post helpful. I like the changes you made.

  4. This is a fabulous list Melissa! I am saving this post for the future :)

    I might also include space for date reached out to, their response, and any other correspondence from there on out to keep everything straight!