How to Write a Novel in Six Months, Week 16 Drafting Update: Looking for an Agent
Each week that passes brings me closer to a completed first draft of my novel. That is absolutely amazing to me! It’s been rough going at times, but the idea that I will soon be able to touch an actual novel that I wrote is mind blowing! And slowly, it is becoming just that – a novel as opposed to a big mess of words. It may not be a GOOD novel, but it will be a NOVEL. And soon!
I went to a writers’ conference last summer that was produced by a small press. It seemed clear that part of the purpose for the conference was to identify writers that the company may want to publish. It was a very friendly atmosphere and we were all invited to submit our work anytime. We didn’t need an agent. However, the leader also told us that if we wanted to hit the New York Times Bestseller List, we probably needed a big publishing house. And if we wanted to get in there, most likely that would be through an agent.
My philosophy is start at the top. Therefore I’ve had my eyes on agents ever since I decided what to write about. But now’s the time to get serious. Why? Time really flies. In January I’ll start sending out queries to agents, but by spring or summer I hope to meet some in person at one or more writers’ conference pitch sessions. Now’s the time to figure out who to target.
How Do You Find an Agent?
I gave a method for researching agents in Week 5. It’s really a matter of knowing your genre and who works in it. But when it comes down to it, there are practical matters to consider as well. I’d love to submit to a superstar agent whose clients drink champagne like I guzzle Diet Coke. I dream of selling the movie rights to my book and watching Debra Messing toss out my one liners. But back here in Reality Land, I need to work smart.
I’m looking for agents whose clients have had some success, but who don’t represent so many authors that I’ll just get lost in the shuffle. Also, an expression of a strong commitment to a writer’s career is a bonus. How can you tell who’s for you? Check out their website, and if you’re lucky you can find an appropriate agent who blogs.
These are the two I’m reading so far:
Granted, these may not be the right agents for you, but I guaranteed you’ll learn a LOT about the business of publishing from their posts. And maybe, just maybe, that magic connection that gets you an agent, that gets you a major publisher, that gets you a bestseller, that gets you on the Today Show, that gets you up close and personal with Matt Lauer. Because we all need inspiration for new material, right?