How do I find an agent?

Umberto

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I wrote a scifi novel for children/young adult readers and I am looking for an agent/publisher. Any advise please?
 

Jo Zebedee

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blah - flags. So many flags.
I wrote a scifi novel for children/young adult readers and I am looking for an agent/publisher. Any advise please?
Start scoping agents who take your sort of thing - try writers/agents yearbook, #MSWL, literary rejections and there’s a good list on Absolute Write maintained by Waylander.

Learn how to write a query - try Queryshark

Write the next book and keep your sanity as you sub ;)
 

CTRandall

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It takes time plowing through literary agency websites to find agents who list interests similar to what you've written, checking submission guidelines for each agency, sending it in and waiting 6-8 weeks for a response. Several websites have lists of agents interested in scifi (see Jo's post above) but you still nedd to double check. It can be tedious!
 

aThenian

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You could look into the SCBWI which runs events for children's and YA writers where agents actually turn up, and I think there are also opportunities to pitch - and there are other organisations which run these kinds of events too. I think personal contact can give you a better idea of an agent and what they are looking for - and they are much more likely to take notice of you too if you can say you've heard their panel/asked them a question or had a chat at an event.
 

RJM Corbet

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I wrote a scifi novel for children/young adult readers and I am looking for an agent/publisher. Any advise please?
I believe agents only look at your book once. It's not possible to submit the same book to the same agent, after re-working it. There are quite a lot of formalities involved in following each agent's submission criteria, writing a proper synopsis, etc.

Now that you're on this website, it may be useful to browse through the Writing Forums section, where there is a lot of advice and wisdom about how to make sure your submission has a real chance of attracting the attention of an agent.

Best wishes. (y)
 

Juliana

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Yes to the SCBWI; I've been a member for five years and it's great not just for getting to know more about kid lit publishing but for networking with other people writing for children and teens. My 'local' New England kid lit writing community is fantastically supportive.

I believe agents only look at your book once. It's not possible to submit the same book to the same agent, after re-working it.
If you've revised extensively you can, in fact, resubmit — a lot of agents explicitly say that, either on their websites or have mentioned on social media. You just need to say in your query that you've submitted it before but it's undergone substantial rewrites etc etc etc.
 

Scookey

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An important thing to remember is agents are bombarded by submissions, so keep things concise and grab their attention well. Obviously this is something I am rubbish at, having collected enough rejection letters to paper the Great Wall of China - almost ;)
 

Scookey

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Carole Blake, from Blake Friedman, gave a really interesting comment. As writers you must have had many people tell you they have thought of writing a book. Indeed there is a general view that we all have a book inside us. What Carole wrote was, to the effect, "And that is where most of them should stay."
It's the whole X-factor thing, with the mass of talentless wannabees wailing into the mic - wanting to be able to perform and being able to perform are not the same thing. And this is the conundrum agents and publishers face: how to deal with the mass of dross and pick the gems from the dung heap? For us gems, it means we have a very short moment to shine and that is not easy.
 

Jo Zebedee

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blah - flags. So many flags.
It's the whole X-factor thing, with the mass of talentless wannabees wailing into the mic - wanting to be able to perform and being able to perform are not the same thing. And this is the conundrum agents and publishers face: how to deal with the mass of dross and pick the gems from the dung heap? For us gems, it means we have a very short moment to shine and that is not easy.
Sadly you can be the brightest gem in the world and still not get an agent. You can write great stuff people like and buy and not get an agent. You can be award listed, prominently named, have everyone ask you why agents aren’t knocking on your door and not have an agent.
Agents want something they can sell. Marketable. Without that... nowt.
Which doesn’t mean you can’t have a fulfilling career. I’m not agented anymore but have a very healthy writing career, have been a multiple Amazon bestseller, am in demand at conventions and festivals, and appeared in a Guardian Top 10 sf writers list this week.

Decide what your value is. If that’s getting an agent, you’re choosing something outside your own control. That doesn’t always lead to happiness sadly :(
 

Scookey

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Jo, think you hit the nail on the head. Agents do have to be able to feel they can sell it - a simple but often overlooked point, which I have been guilty of doing myself in the past. Hopefully am over it now. Time will tell :D
 

AlexH

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I haven't watched it as I don't need an agent (at least not in the foreseeable future), but this video was recommended by a good source:

 

Scookey

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It is a minefield of wish vs luck, for both parties. As much as your writing may be brilliant and the agent/publisher is looking for brilliant writing, if the two needs/styles/genres don't meet up at the right time your lovely work will be rejected. It doesn't mean your work is not lovely, just that this lottery hit/miss hasn't hit yet.
And I clicked a like on the video above as it has an Alfa 164 in the pic - good cars :)
 

EJDeBrun

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Late to the party, but I recommend anyone interested in finding a literary agent to hop on twitter and follow (stalk) all the prominent agents and authors who work in your genre.

Why Twitter?

Well, almost all of publishing lives on twitter nowadays and it basically lets you network without having to leave your chair so it's really useful in that regard.

There are also a ton of pitch events on Twitter (#pitmad) that can really help both to observe and participate in.
 

CTRandall

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Every time I look at Twitter or Facebook, another news item about their abuse of personal data comes out. (Latest is Facebook taking phone numbers collected for two-tier security and using them to identify users across different platforms. How can you trust their security if they use it for other purposes?)

I might be shooting myself in the foot but anything owned by Mark Zuckerberg is basically malware.
 

Jo Zebedee

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blah - flags. So many flags.
Every time I look at Twitter or Facebook, another news item about their abuse of personal data comes out. (Latest is Facebook taking phone numbers collected for two-tier security and using them to identify users across different platforms. How can you trust their security if they use it for other purposes?)

I might be shooting myself in the foot but anything owned by Mark Zuckerberg is basically malware.
You don’t have to join twitter to stalk agents...
 

EJDeBrun

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Twitter isn't owned by Facebook so you're not paying Zuckerberg anything (Actually, Twitter has a lot of problems with monetization) and Twitter has done a much better job with security than FB (I have a cousin who is part of their security team) but I can understand anyone's concerns over security. (I keep about 5 different email accounts and never give any social media company my legal name to avoid the same issues)

So I'm not saying anyone HAS to have a Twitter account. It is merely a suggestion as it is a great resource even as it has its caveats.
 
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