So, you’re ready to start querying agents. Do you want to know what’s going to get you further than your selected agent reading the first line only, then deleting your beautifully crafted email?
1. Look up the submission guidelines.
All agents with websites have a submission guidelines page. Look for it.
2. Follow the submission guidelines to the letter.
If it states they don’t take children’s books, they don’t take children’s books. Don’t try them just to see if yours is extra special enough to make them change their mind. Why target someone who, from the outset isn’t interested?
3. When sending multiple submissions out, do not do it in the same email.
Sending a global email to multiple agents, with all agents listed in the to: box, will really put them in a bad mood. Just don’t do it. We all like to feel special and even if you are submitting to a few at once, be honest about it, be polite, but for each agent, do an individual email. You know why you have chosen them. Let them know.
4. Be clear about what it is you are submitting.
If it’s a police procedural, state it’s a police procedural. Bookshelves in shops have titles, an agent wants to know where it’s going to fit. And if that’s what you are submitting, don’t be all wishy washy about it. Don’t send multiple samples of different genres hoping to hit lucky. You want their attention, you have to be as sharp as your writing.
5. Don’t tell them it’s the next big thing or that your mother loved it.
No-one can predict the next big thing. Did anyone predict Harry Potter or Fifty Shades? You will only come across as arrogant. And you may love your mother to bits, but I’m sorry to say this, she really doesn’t count, that is unless she actually is J K Rowling.
Ok, so that’s just five quick things to remember. To pick up lots of other tasty tidbits, just go to Twitter and look up the #askagent hashtag, usually running on a Sunday evening about 8 p.m. -ish, where a couple of fabulous literary agents answer all your submission and publishing questions, all in their own time. You can also keep an eye out for the hashtag #pitmad. I’ve seen this run once and it was amazing. An opportunity to tweet out your novel in 140 characters with agents from around the world participating and if they liked your idea, they would favourite the tweet. This was a request for you to submit your query to them. It was running live and was exciting and amazing to watch.
There are opportunities out there, we just need to go out there and grab them with both hands. (After working really hard on the writing of course.)
Do you know of any other Twitter hashtags the blog readers should look out for, or any other great tips on querying agents?