The Association of Authors’ Representatives website provides valuable information for the author seeking agent representations http://aaronline.org/FAQ Here, you’ll learn how to connect with an appropriate agent, what an agent can do for you and what questions to ask an agent before getting involved.
Some agents, like some publishers, specialize. Match your project to their expertise.
Beware of the newbie or wannabe masquerading as a literary agent. There is no licensing of agents, thus no industry standards. The screening at the Association of Author’s Representatives provides the most reliable method of choosing an agent today.
Many publishing authorities recommend soliciting an agent before you begin showing your manuscript around. They say that an agent will reject manuscripts that have already been submitted to the prime publishers.
On the other hand, sometimes it pays to distribute your proposal to a few appropriate publishers before contacting an agent. If you get positive feedback from a couple of publishers, you may have a greater chance of engaging the services of an agent. Tell the agent, for example, “ABC Publishing has asked to see my sample chapters. Would you represent this project for me?”
You approach an agent in much the same way you do a publisher—with a query letter and/or a book proposal representing your current project. Read the agent’s submission guidelines for authors and comply. Generally, you will send a query letter to appropriate agents once your book proposal is completed. If yours is a novel, you might wait until the book is finished. Send the same query letter you would send to a publisher, only address it to the agent and refer to your desire for representation rather than publishing.
As with any query letter, keep it brief, professional and to the point. The job of a query letter is to pique the agent’s interest. If you adequately do this, she or he will ask to see your proposal and/or manuscript.
Working with an agent is similar to working with a publisher. You should strive for mutual respect and an air of professionalism.
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