Join Jessica Brody for an in-depth discussion in this video Agent research tool #4, part of Sell Your Novel to a Major Publisher.
- [Instructor] By now, your list of possible agencies and agents to query should be growing, and a few of those agencies should be standing out as your top choices. If you don't have any top choices yet, don't worry. This next step will help you get there. An absolutely crucial place to find information about agencies and agents is on the agency's official websites. Most agencies have one now. I recommend visiting the website of every single agency you currently have on your list before moving forward with the submission process.
And here's why. For starters, the website will give you a better feel for the culture of each agency. You can often read bios of the agents that work there, see pictures of the staff and browse through their client list and list of recent sales. This will help you figure out if they would be a good fit for you. Remember, your agent is your liaison into the publishing world and your ultimate career cheerleader. You don't have to be best friends with your agent, but you should at least get along and respect each other. Weeding out a bad match at the beginning of the process will save you a lot of agony down the road.
Another reason you should always visit an agency's website before submitting is to read their submission guidelines. We touched upon this briefly earlier, and now we'll go into some more detail. Every agency has their own guidelines on how they'd like to be approached by new authors. For example, does this agency accept email queries or hard copy queries or both? Which ones do they prefer? Do they want you to send a summary of your book with your query letter? Do they want you to find a specific agent on their team who fits your book and query them directly, or do they want you to submit your query to a general query inbox? All of these questions can be answered by visiting the agency's website and reading their submission guidelines.
The good news is most of the submission guidelines you'll find on agency websites are fairly similar and almost all agencies will require that you contact them using a query letter. But it's important to check each website to make sure you're querying them the way they want. Here's a few hints to help you out. If an agency requires you to pick a specific agent to query as opposed to sending your query to a general query mailbox, look for newcomers to the agency. Newer agents will be easier to access and will be looking to make a name for themselves.
They'll also be looking to build their list with new clients. That could be you. Also, if you have to pick one agent within the agency to query, make sure you look at what types of books each agent represents or likes. Normally, you can only query one agent within an agency. If they turn you down, you're usually not supposed to query another one from the same agency. Sometimes, however, if you query a specific agent who thinks your book has potential but it's just not the right match for them, they might refer you to another agent within the company.
Although, I wouldn't necessarily rely on this, so do yourself and your book a favor and do your research up front to make sure you select the agent that will be most likely to respond to your pitch on the first try.
- Comparing traditional publishing and self-publishing
- Writing and revising your novel
- Finding an agent
- Perfecting your pitch
- Writing a query letter
- Researching agents
- Submitting to agents
- Reading your book contract
- Negotiating advances and royalties
- Understanding the publishing process
Skill Level Intermediate
1. Overview of the Publishing Process
Why I created this course2m 32s
2. Writing and Revising Your Novel
3. Introduction to Literary Agents
4. Creating and Perfecting Your Pitch
5. Writing Your Query Letter
6. Researching Agents
7. Submitting to Agents
8. Selling Your Novel
9. Navigating Your First Book Contract
10. The Publishing Process
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