My Top Five Tips To Find The Perfect Agent
This time last year I decided that I was ready to look for an agent; Conditional Love (originally self-published) was beginning to sell well and I had drafted my second novel White Lies and Wishes. I sent out my submission to just one agent, Hannah Ferguson and we have worked together happily ever since. And so here are my top tips to help you secure the right representation:
1. Categorise your own writing
You may not think that you are like any other author, or you may be too modest to want to say aloud that you are similar to another successful author, but this is something you need to do. Your potential readership is out there right now enjoying someone else’s novels. The agent you want to work with will understand your genre and will already be talking to editors in that genre on a daily basis.
2. Social Media
We are so lucky to be living in a world where many people we aspire to have social media profiles. Simply by following an author who I admire, I can see who their agent and who publishes their books. Once step one is complete follow those authors on Facebook and Twitter and develop an understand of who is who in your corner of the publishing world. But a note of caution: agents rarely invite submissions via social media accounts so use Twitter and Facebook to get to know agents and the sort of books that have found success with them.
3. Meet The Agent/Publisher Events
Many organisations run How to Get Published events and usually offer delegates a chance to pitch their work in a one-to-one session to a publisher or agent in a speed-dating style environment. I cant recommend this type of approach enough. The feedback you will get is invaluable and I have really benefited from events like this run by the Writers Workshop.
4. Network and Use Your Contacts
Take every opportunity to meet authors in your genre and engage with them, whether that be via social media or at book signings. And if by some miracle, an author offers to put in a good word for you with their own agent, grab it! The wonderful Miranda Dickinson told me to mention her name in my submission letter to Hannah, but I didn’t have the nerve! But luckily for me, Miranda is such a lovely lady that she told Hannah about me anyway so all was not lost.
5. Practise Your Pitch
You never know when you will have chance to communicate with an agent: a chance tweet, or at an event in the queue for lunch, so be ready! Be able to sum up your book in a sentence or two, understand where it would sit in a bookshop and whose books would be alongside it. Agents are bombarded with submissions every day of the year, so make your stand out with a clear business-like pitch and show that you are an author they would be proud to represent.
Conditional Love is now published by Transworld Books as ebook and will be out in paperback at the end of 2015