First I didn’t want an agent. I was, as they say, “afeared.”
Then I decided maybe I did want an agent but where does one start looking? There are thousands of them out there and I don’t know ANY. Then too, a good agent sees hundreds of queries a day. How was I going to get one to notice me? Once again, the FWA Magic of the Pen writers conference came to my rescue. In the notes from Lisa Iriarte‘s seminar on agent hunting, I found:
Predators and Editors: a snark and bias free listing with recommends and not recommends on pretty much every agent ever to hang a shingle. No bait advice here, but grab your pole, because this site at least provides the pier to sit on when you start fishing.
Agent Query introduced me to the basic form of the query letter and offered some really good advice as well. As with P & E there are a number of good writing tools here so take the time to browse.
Absolute Write: I haven’t had a chance to check this one out yet, but my notes say: “Use the forums, there’s a thread on almost every agent.” Sounds kind of like the marina bar where everyone gathers to tell fish stories. Only I think most of these are probably true.
And the Queen Fin of them all: Query Shark! Agent Janet Reid is hilariously ruthless, providing a snarkfest of humor perfectly blended with excellent query writing advice. At her insistence (not personally, she makes everyone do it) I’ve been reading through the archives and I’m quickly becoming addicted. Ms. Reid’s honesty can be sharp, but under the analysis lies a true love of authors and their work. That’s what takes
most of the sting out of her criticism; she is honestly trying to help. Better yet, she succeeds. I will probably need to bolster my courage with at least two Cosmos though, before I send her my own query. She bites hard!