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Recommended Sources of Information About Agents? (1 Viewer)

ehbowen

Senior Member
I'm ready to get serious about finding representation for my novel. Yes, I've found many of the directories on line...some free, many not. I don't object to paying a reasonable fee for information...but I'd like to only do it once. And rather than take the shotgun approach, I'd like to find an agent with experience and interest which could translate well for my supernatural/fantasy/adventure story. Any recommendations on where to find the most current and comprehensive background info?
 

Fiender

Senior Member
I'm ready to get serious about finding representation for my novel. Yes, I've found many of the directories on line...some free, many not. I don't object to paying a reasonable fee for information...but I'd like to only do it once. And rather than take the shotgun approach, I'd like to find an agent with experience and interest which could translate well for my supernatural/fantasy/adventure story. Any recommendations on where to find the most current and comprehensive background info?

I primarily use QueryTracker. Without a paid membership you can still search for agents based on genre and whether they're currently open to queries, and QT has links to that agent's agency website, their manuscript wishlist page, their publisher's marketplace page, and their twitter (assuming that agent has any of those). It's important to note that, while QT updates its listings frequently, sometimes an agent will announce they are closed to queries on their website or twitter, but not their other pages, and it may take a few days before the QT admins catch it, so be sure to check all the pages QT has linked for each agent. Also, while an agent might be listed as representing 'fantasy', for example, their interests might be more narrow than that suggests, like 'only YA fantasy' or 'only paranormal-present day fantasy', etc.

As far as spending money goes, I've never spent a penny to gain access to the 'premium' info that a membership at QueryTracker or Publisher's Marketplace will get you, and I've still found dozens of agents that could potentially be interested in my projects. I... also haven't had much success in the query trenches, so take that however you will. It is important to keep in mind that, chances are, you will have to query a LOT of agents before you find one that's interested enough in your work to offer representation. Average numbers I've seen are anywhere from a couple dozen to a hundred plus, and it's a process that takes a while as you'll likely query in waves. Paying once will only get you information on your target agents at the time when you paid. If you try to apply that same info next year, or with a different project, things will likely have changed. An agent who seemed so-so might have made several more sales in your genre, an agent that seemed perfect might have conspicuously shifted gears to non-fiction.

I am curious what you mean by "the shotgun approach". It sounds like you're aiming to query a very small number of agents. It may be tempting to only go after the most successful and most perfect-sounding agents, but full requests are 1% or less for most agents, and offers of rep are even rarer, ESPECIALLY for the experienced agents with lots of sales. You could also get to the phone-call interview stage with an agent and, as they talk about your book, realize they didn't understand what you were going for at all, or that they have a totally different editorial/career roadmap in mind than what you want. And the reverse is true of an agent that seemed only-sorta compatible with your project. You could get that phone call and that agent and you might instantly click and be on the same page (heh) with what you want out of this book, and the agent/client partnership as a whole.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
When I was looking for agents back in the 1980's there was a book you could buy with agent names, addresses, and such. I kinda doubt it's still available though.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
You can also find agents on the authors' websites. If you know a number of authors that you feel are similar to your work, you could check their websites first. Then, once you have a list of agents' names and agencies, you can either search on their websites directly or you can search agent data bases to see if they are taking on new authors and what they are looking for. This article has a good list of both free and paid databases:

https://buildbookbuzz.com/6-free-literary-agent-databases/

Publishers Marketplace is good and has a comprehensive representation:

https://www.publishersmarketplace.com/

Good luck!
 

Chip W

Senior Member
In the past I've used the #MSWL hashtag on twitter, plus the associated web site at https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/

I checked out that link and the site works but the search form apparently doesn't (I got the same very long list of results no matter which check boxes where checked), so I clicked on the contact link to send them a message about that and the contact page captcha doesn't work (so no message can be sent), so then I clicked on the link to the website developers (at the bottom of the page) and the url results in nothing but a blank white page (usually caused by an error in their scripting in the webpage code).
Very disappointing.
 
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