Friday, February 6, 2009

Literary Agents--a difficult and rambunctious species

Agents are a fascinating breed. They have stringent dietary requirements which call for them to consume extensive amounts of caffeine and a healthy abundance of ghastly query letters daily.

They may look like the rest of us, but they should not be approached in the wild. When cornered they turn skittish and look for an escape. Becoming particularly apprehensive when any acronyms are used, such as WIP or MC. Oddly, they seem to be calmed by the use of SASE.

In order to tame one of these wild beasts, one must first approach from a distance. Writing down all of the reasons why this creature should accept your offering. Many of these approaches are dismissed with barely a glance, as agents are finicky. You may do research to decide what type of offering might most satisfy their cravings, but you will find that each one is very different. The only ingredient they will agree that you must have is something they refer to as voice. I looked all over my pantry--I can't find it.

If you are able to interest one of these creatures in what you offer, they will ask to see more. Here is the most puzzling part about their kind. If they truly like what you have written for them, they will agree to work with you--then they will take your offering and dissect it like a frog in a science lab.

How do you get one of these critters to feel that primal attraction for your offering?

You tell me, because I've been trying to figure that out all week and I don't think I'm any closer to having the answer.


LOL that was a fun stress reliever. Now I need to actually get my query letter ready, I'm hoping to start sending them out next week. Wahoo!


  1. LOL! What a fun way of looking at literary agents. You should do a series of posts from this perspective, describing editors, publishers and writers. Very entertaining!

    Good luck with your query letter, too!

  2. It's so exciting that you're at the stage to be able to query. I love your writing here. It's true and funny!

  3. Best wishes on getting the query letter out!

  4. Great post! I sent out my first query letters this week...

  5. HAHAHAH! That was awesome! And totally cracked me up!!!! Hehehe! Great writing! And I think you should share it later on MMW! It was so funny!

  6. Hilarious! And so true!

    Anyway, that's so exciting that you are getting ready to send out query letters! All I can say is, welcome to the trenches and good luck!

  7. Yes, ditto Renee's comment....welcome to the trenches. I loved your post. I was laughing so hard.

  8. Oh i love your perspective of the 'wild beasts'. it made me laugh so much, my keyboard is covered in coke

    Anyhoo i'm sorry if this is a bit out of the blue, but i've started a writer's forum
    where aspiring authors etc. can come and chat and discuss topics and ideas and basically help each other.

    I love blogging but it can be both hard to get a readership and connect with them so i thought a community forum would be a great way to network.

    The forum is only starting out but i'm hoping it will grow,

    I'd really appreciate it if you could take the time and have a look around, and maybe invite your friends

    thanks emily.

  9. Research a lot and find the ones who are attracted to your particular kind of bait. :)

  10. Wow LOL... so many responses, I better get crackin'!

    L.C. - I love the idea of a series of posts like that... now if only I could get close enough to editors and publishers to be able to get the info I need. Hmm... I'll keep you updated LOL

    Nikki and Candice - Hehe, happy to lighten your days :)

    Thank you Melissa!

    Good luck to you too Feywriter!

    Jenni - LOL, well, I can post it on MMW on Tuesday... I'll just do it as part of my day... then do something else too. :)

    Renee and Kasie - Thanks for the welcome, I, for one, am happy to finally be here--in the trenches, as you say

    Emily - Thanks for popping by! I will definitely go and check out your community this weekend. It is nice to meet you! :)

    Ang - LOL, that's been my conclusion. I've been working on it all week. I have a decent sized list too. :) We'll see how it goes, I guess.

  11. Great approach to your post. I'm on my third agent, whom I love working with and my debut novel will be out May 2010, Promised Blessings. From experience, my only advice is persistence.

  12. Jennifer - Thank you for the advice and for popping by to say hello. :) Congrats on your novel! I'm very excited for you and your awesome agent.

  13. Funny post! Had me chuckling the whole way through.

  14. Suzette, Thanks! I aim to entertain! ;)

  15. "If they truly like what you have written for them, they will agree to work with you--"

    Acutally - the agent animal may love your work, think it's brilliantly written or lovely or both, but, if they sniff around it, paw at it, and then think it won't make them money, they may not take you on! Such is the paradox that is the agent! *grin*

  16. LOL thanks for the extra input on that one. I formally add that to the agent dictionary :P