Agents: Land The Writer Of Your Dreams
As Literary Agent, you exist largely to offer services to writers. You are usually paid (depending on the contract) a fixed percentage of the proceeds of sales you negotiate on behalf of your client, the writer. How else would you eat?
Agents need writers to represent! – So I’m Here To Help! – But before we begin…
A WARNING to all unproven agents. While you most certainly can get a writer without previous credits, I recommend you don’t query writers until you’ve gotten more experience. Often, writers want to see a well-rounded, experienced agent before choosing to work with an untested, inexperienced one. So if you query without the proper resume—don’t complain when a writer actually requests to see your full resume—and whoops, you don’t have one!
“But Mr. Beresford … How Do I Successfully Approach A Writer?”
Steps To Help You Successfully Approach A Writer!
1) Find ONE writer to whom you will submit your query. Many writers don’t appreciate when agents submit multiple queries. Writers write and they don’t have the time to study an agent’s submission package only to find out that agent already decided to go with another writer. Submit to one writer at a time!
2) Send a short email query letter with “QUERY” in the subject field. Otherwise it may end up in the trash.
3) Your query letter should include previous representation credits, and any other information to help writers make the right agent choice for their careers.
4) After your query letter, paste in a short written sample of your intentions, in other words, what will you DO for the writer! Your written intention sample needs to be pasted into the email. Writers do not usually open attachments! They work on their computers and do no want to risk viruses! No attachments Please!
5) If a writer is interested in speaking with you, they will contact you and give you specific instructions on how to send the rest of your proposal.
“But How Long Will It Take To Get A Response?”
If writers are interested in you as an agent, they will certainly follow up by email or phone. However, if you haven’t heard from a writer within 6 to 8 weeks, please assume that they are passing on your offer to represent them.
Writers do understand and appreciate the effort that goes into looking for good writers to represent, this is how you make your living after all, and writers wish they had time to respond personally to all requests, unfortunately, this is no longer a business reality given that writers need to spend their time writing, not answering agent queries.
PLEASE DO NOT CALL TO FOLLOW UP!
Here Are Some Additional Suggestions
* Be professional and courteous when approaching any writer.
* Writers tend to form an impression based on your initial contact, and you want it to be a good impression. Do not write your query in a rush. Even though you’re not a writer, take the time to write it well. Make sure your query is polished and error free.
* If your representation attempt is rejected, please do not attempt to resubmit. No means no. Sorry.
* Look carefully at our resume and choose the right writer for your level of experience.
* Agents who don’t believe that writer submission guidelines should apply to them are going to be unpleasantly surprised. Most writers regard adherence to submission guidelines as an agent compliance test and assume agents who cannot or will not follow them are not likely to be able to represent a serious writer. This behavior will weed out a surprising number of agents. Try not to be one of them.
Best of luck to you!