Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Finding a soul mate for your book

You’ve finished your book, so now what? After the grueling process of going through hundreds of publishers with no luck, it’s time to get an agent. Finding a good agent is not a problem, but finding one that believes in your book is another story.

In one of the lectures I attended at the Blue Met this year, I learned that having a sound relationship with your agent is like being in a marriage and making it work. One of the authors present said he developed a great relationship with his agent because she believed in his writing. He added that it is also the writer’s responsibility to do the research when looking for an agent. Find one that matches your needs. A children’s author said that she got lucky because her agent is also her editor (the agent has an editing background as well). To sum up, the consensus of the group was that you should do the following:

1. Find someone who is actually interested in the kind of work that you’re writing. If you manage to get an agent that generally works with material in your genre, then you’re most likely to do well. This is a win-win situation as your agent will be eager to get your book in the limelight.

2. The best agents shouldn’t just let you slack. Your agent should push you to work harder without forgetting this is a team effort. There should be a great give and take between the two of you, allowing you to maximize your potential.

3. An agent who’s not really excited about what you’re writing isn’t likely to do too much for your book.

4. A good agent should be there for you like a good spouse to listen to your questions, especially when you’re a new author. Your agent should be there to guide you through the process. Make sure he or she is reliable and not full of excuses.

5. Stop! Before you commit, make sure your new agent will be there every step of the way. If it’s not working out, divorce him/her (not literally!). Your baby, as we authors usually call our books, will be caught up in the middle. Remember, your agent is someone who’s going to represent your work and who’ll be tied to it for years to come—so, isn’t it better that you find your book’s soul mate?


  1. Thank you, Claudia! I just love your comment about finding your book's soul mate! It really crystallizes for me what quality to look for in an agent...Any agents out there looking to take on an exciting children's picture book? :-))

  2. These are good points, Claudia. Authors have a lot of homework to do in finding an agent that is suited to the genre and style they write. Researching what an agent actually does and how he will proceed is also good to know, since unfortunately there are scam agents out there.

  3. Great timing on this post, Claudia, because I'm looking for an agent right now. I just jogged over from Mari Taylor's blog and stumbled onto your post with several much-needed suggestions. Thanks for sharing these nuggets of insight.