Showing posts with label getting an agent. Show all posts
Showing posts with label getting an agent. Show all posts

Friday, September 27, 2019

Agented Authors Share Tips on Finding an Agent

Once you’ve landed an agent and have sold your first book—then what? At this month’s SCBWI-NM ShopTalk meeting, our panel of four agented and published authors shared their experience to the delight and enlightenment of our members.

Advice to Help Find Your Way
Kyle T. Cowan: Kyle, actor and author of Sunshine is Forever, majored in screen writing. He says there is no one way to find an agent. Each author’s experience is different. Kyle googled and sought agents looking for what he writes.
Along Kyle’s journey, he was advised to turn one of his screenplays into a novel—a jump, he says, into a new dimension. “Screenwriting is all visual. You write only what you see; write the scene from the action is happening and then you add the dialogue. There are so many layers in a book.”

Q: Is it possible to change genres with your agent?
Kyle: This is a good question to ask when you’re interviewing agents. Some agencies, such as Andrea Brown Literary Agency, will represent across-the-board, or give you permission to find another agent. Be aware: some editors and publishers want their authors to stay in the same niche and genre. Keep that in mind. They’re interested in you and your brand.

Loriel Ryon: Loriel’s debut novel, Into the Tall, Tall Grass, grades 5 & 6, is coming out in April 2020, with Margaret. K. McElderry Books. Loriel also googled middle grade agents and looked in Acknowledgements for names in her search. She is working with an associate agent and has found the communication with her to be excellent. The importance of having an agent to Loriel is that her agent explained her contract for her and will deal with anything that could go wrong.

What helped were two excellent current comps—comparative or competitive titles—which she believes can help get an author in the door. Her editor is totally different. She raises questions and doesn’t try to solve them for her.

Caroline Starr Rose: Among Caroline’s books are Blue Birds, Jasper and the Riddle of Riley’s Mine, May B., and her latest book coming out in 2020, Miraculous. Caroline submitted to slush piles for twelve years before an editor advised her to get an agent. She does not advise this, but to seek an agent right away. An agent will get your foot in the door much quicker. Most important: Do your homework. Know what agents are looking for. Choose an agent you feel good about working with, and someone you can have a long-term relationship with.

Kit Rosewater: Kit’s debut novel, The Derby Daredevils, coming out in early 2020 and is currently working on Book 2. To find an agent, read reviews, social media, and publications such as Publisher’s Weekly.

Kit says having an agent is insurance. Agents are there for anything that goes awry. Her agent fought for Kit to get the illustrator of her dreams. Kit cc’s her agent in all emails with her editor. To get your book ready, Kit suggests asking people who are not writers or critique partners, CP’s, to read it, one round each. She polishes after each round.

More Sage Advice:
  • Check out this helpful website:
  • Build your brand as an author, not your series or book titles.
  • Send thank-you’s to readers who pre-order; create a database to stay in touch with important contacts and readers.
  • When things are quiet at the publisher’s, not to worry. More is going on than you realize.
  • Consult SCBWI’s The Book for resources such as critique partners, agents and editors.
  • Make sure the revisions requested by agents and/or editors fit your vision of your book.
  • With picture books, have three books under your belt to offer more if the one that is being considered is not accepted.
  • Pay for a professional edit to get a book ready.
  • Last but not least: Never pay an agent up front. Agents get paid when you get paid. 
Introductory Photo: By Linda Wilson

Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 150 articles for adults and children, and several short stories for children. She has recently become editor of the New Mexico SCBWI chapter newsletter and is working on several projects for children. Follow Linda on Facebook.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Query Letters: An Essential Writing Skill For Now and the Future

As I was working with my husband on the promotion for his book What Foreigners Need to Know About America From A To Z ( I realized how much I’d forgotten about my American history, but it also made me aware I should be reminding you all of the format to use for your query letters.
I noticed that many authors believe query letters are only necessary when they're trying to interest an agent or publisher, but learning to write and edit an effective one is a skill that you will continue to use all during the marketing campaign or your book--and the one after that.
Query letters are the introductory letters you use for every kind of request you make. When you request a review of your book. When you ask to partner with a retailer for and event, workshop, or book signing. When you pitch a feature story to an editor of your local newspaper. Or guest spot on a radio station. The list is endless.
Yep, it may be time to review the section on writing and editing query letters (page 27 in your paperback edition) in The Frugal Editor ( It starts on page 27 of your paperback edition.
It includes query letter pet peeves direct from the mouths of famous agents and sample letters in the Appendix like avoiding making judgements of your own work. For agents "awesome" is a four-letter word!
If you have The Frugal Book Promoter (, jump back to the Index and look up “query letters” to learn everything you’ll need to know about them.
Here's tip number one to get you started. A query letter asks something of the person it's addressed to. Don't avoid that question. Nike says "just do it." The query letter rule is "just ask." Your contact needs to know what you want from them. They may wear more than one hat, but in any case, you'll want to be clear just because that's what professionals aim for.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

Indie Authors: 3 Tips to Make Model Books Work for You

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