How do I find a Literary Agent

Where can I find a frahling?

Cathryn Summerhayes, a Frahlingin at Curtis Brown, talks to us about what she is looking for in a pitch from a new author. You can read the first part of this series here. Assessing a frahling If it' t is your turn to explore an agent, you may find it hard to find out if a particular agent is legal, efficient or right for you. The majority of writers are so anxious to end up with an agent that they seldom stop and take the necessary amount of leisure to thoroughly assess whether an agent is suitable for the beginning.

However, this assessment is critical because it prevents you from interrogating the fake agent and potentially prevents you from sign with an agent that is incorrect for you. I have met too many writers as a wife of the last 13 years who have rashly autographed with operatives and regretted it.

When there is something worst than not getting an agent to land, it is an unreasonable or inefficient agent who can bind your carrier for an indefinite period of time. Whilst it feels like the agent has full command of the entire litigation, it's actually you who will decide whom to involve in your filing.

If, after careful consideration of all these elements, you do not have the feeling that an agent is right for you, do not including him. There' re a hundred good operatives out there, and it's always best to be discriminatory. Many great agencies will be able to help you free of charge, and these are the ones you should contact.

A lot of operatives cover one or the other, but not both. You should make sure that it is mainly based on the concept of fantasy (if you are a novelist) or non-fiction (if you are not). Literal or business? A lot of operatives have a tendency to promote only literary or business works. Make sure as a point of departure that he represents mainly literary or business works, according to what you have composed.

A lot of fictional representatives have a tendency to either stand for contemporaneous or historic notions. Make sure it is predominantly modern or historic, according to what you have composed. A lot of nonfiction book representatives have a tendency to display either hands-on (i.e. education, economics) or story (i.e. histories, biographies) nonfiction.

There' s a gap in the publishers' business between writers releasing hardback or softcover issues; likewise, some will have a tendency to stand for more genuine softcover businesses, while others will stand for more softcover transactions. Whilst it is possible to make a great hit with a pocketbook originals, it would be better for you if you had the opportunity to make a hard cover deed.

So how many businesses has he done in his carreer? There' s a big distinction between an agent who has made 5 transactions in his carrier and one who has made 200. I have been an agent for 13 years and have done over 200 bookstores, yet even now, after all this while, no two bookstores are the same.

To be a literary agent is a job where experiencing is everything. Signing with an agent who has only done three transactions, you run the risks of ending up with a business or agreement that is not as good as it could have been. This means at the same elapsed times you are far more likely to find an agent to replace you if you are targeting those who have done less business.

It' not necessarily incorrect with an agent who's only done a few business - everyone has to begin somewhere. However, if you have two agency proposals and one agent has done far more business than the other, then you should select the latter, since all things are the same. So how much business has he done lately?

An agent may have done 200 businesses in his own carrier, but only one business in the past year; alternatively, another agent may have done only 24 businesses in his own carrier, but 15 of them last year. Publishers are volatile; agencies and writers come and go all the way.

It is more likely that the agent that is now running is more up-to-date with sector information. With which publishing houses did he do business? It is very revealing not only to see how many transactions an agent has made, but also with which publishing houses he has made them. He did 20 business, and is it 18 with small balers?

He did 12 businesses, but all with big publishing houses? Did he only do business with academia? Were 11 of his 12 dealings with the same editor? In an ideal case, you want an agent who has done the overwhelming bulk of his business with a large number of large publishing houses, as large publishing houses have a tendency to make the highest advance payments, produce the most prints of your books, receive the most interest and receive the best possible circulation.

There will always be an exception - many small printing machines are proof of this - but the general principle is that you want to begin with large publishing houses first. For example, if a prospective agent has only done business with small publishing houses, this is a scarlet flagg. When one agent has made 40 transactions and none for six-digit advance payments, it is a scarlet banner; alternatively, when another agent has made 12 transactions and 8 for six-digit advance payments, you should turn to him.

A number of agencies think big while others don't; some have more negotiation skill than others; some are simply better at what they do. I' m not giving you the wrong hope: to land an agent at all is a great achievement, and to land a contract - for any progress - with a serious editor is an even greater achievement.

There' is nothing necessarily bad with an agent giving you an upfront of $10,000, and in fact the overwhelming bulk of businesses is for less than six digits, probably even for less than $50,000. But you don't want to confine yourself to the goal, and it's best to start your quest with an agent who's doing more and more business.

Can you recognise any of the other writers he stands for? Because an agent advocates "literary fiction", this does not necessarily mean that he has a good tastes for literature or that he advocates recognized writers. When you have two representatives on an equal footing, and you know that one of them is the author you've been hearing about, and the other has writers you've never even known, it's better to go with the first.

It' s taking a while to create a customer register, but if an agent has been in the shop for 10 years and you still don't see a writer he is representing, then it's a little bit of a big name. Do you think the writers and ledgers he is representing would make you a good fit with his customer base?

When one agent is representing ten customers and they are all great literary talents, another is representing ten customers and they are all novel writers for the first case, and you yourself are a novel writer for the first case, then the odds are good that the latter would rather be representing you both and giving you more patience and attentiveness.

In this sense, you could start by creating a writers that you will either honour and/or write similar works to yourself and start contacting your agent. But that can also be harmful: If an agent has been selling a similar product, he may not want to do similar work for the sake of competition with his own customers.

But in the schema of things, it is better to begin with an agent who is representing a work similar to yours. When an agent has been in this line of work for 5 years, he is less likely to take on new customers than if he had just begun - even less if he has been an agent for 10 years.

A general principle is that beginning authors have a much better shot at land an agent if they are targeting an agent who is just beginning, someone who has been an agent for three years or less, someone who has proved himself by making at least a few transactions with big companies, but is active in looking for more customers.

Only because an agent starts, it doesn't make him less skilled or able; in fact, it often makes him work more hard on your behavior - which can make the big thing when it comes to making you your first business. You may not be able to find all of the above information when searching for a particular agent.

You could find out about some of the customers he serves but not how susceptible he is to new customers; you could find out how many businesses he has done but not how big the progress has been; you could find out about a few of his highly acclaimed stocks but not about his whole palette of businesses.

It is not all publisher business that is announced to the media, so a website can tell you that an agent has made 50 transactions, even though he has actually made 150. So make sure you don't exclude a particular agent too soon: if you're serious about a prospective agent, you should really do in-depth research and compare as many pages and resources as possible.

You know that even with the best research, you probably can't find out everything. Also, do you know that even if you find out everything, and even if all your research points to the absolute perfection of the compound for you, that compound might very well amaze you and might not be interested; vice versa research might indicate that a compound is an unlikely match for you, and it may turn out to be perfect. ├┐You may be able to find out what you are looking for.

Well, since you know what to look for when rating an agent, the next thing you need to know is where to look to find all the necessary information. While I' m discussing in detail in my How to Land (and Keep) a Literary Agent guide, there are tens of free sources that can give you this information immediately, and I will be sharing many of them with you in the next issue of this paper.

He is living in New York City, where he leads a Frahlingur.

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