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Hello, new followers; or, what to do after you’ve read the Writer’s Digest listing

August 26, 2013

Every so often I get an influx of new followers – maybe 25 or so at a time, and I always think “Oh! Writer’s Digest must have tweeted my information again.” For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, Writer’s Digest is an amazing resource for writers, and Chuck Sambuchino, who edits the Guide to Literary Agents, does the Lord’s work (metaphorically and non-religiously speaking) by highlighting new agents and their interests and tweeting about them. Those agents are usually guaranteed to get a rush of new followers and a big influx of queries. Having a new agent person to query looks like a great opportunity — oftentimes newer agents at agencies have more room on their lists to take on new clients, and are just building their lists. The day after my information is tweeted I always get a decent number of new queries from people who’ve found me this way. His feed & the Writer’s Digest feed are great resources for anyone looking for information about publishing. 

I want to throw out a few things that new authors who are following these new-agent tweets should consider before querying. These are actually applicable to ANYONE who is querying their work, whether they’re on twitter or not. 

1. Do your research. 

Look at the agency website for the person you’re querying. In my case, it’s http://www.maassagency.com. I’m also very findable on twitter – that will lead you to my personal website and this blog. If you read my bio on the agency website you’d see that my interests have actually expanded somewhat since Writer’s Digest first tweeted about me. By seeing the agent’s most up-to-date information you can get an idea of whether your project is a good fit for them. 

2. Do some more research.

The WD page lists my email address, which is where I receive queries. It doesn’t list our agency’s query guidelines, however – and you shouldn’t assume that one website has all the answers! No matter where you find out about me or any other agent, your next step should be the agency website to double-check submission guidelines. 

Ours can be found here

Note that these guidelines apply to EVERY AGENT at our agency. You should visit individual agent pages anyway – that’s where you’ll find out that Stacia Decker is closed to queries, for example, or that no one at our agency represents picture books.  

It’s been said by others more eloquent than I that submission guidelines are there for everyone’s benefit – it saves me, the agent, time, and helps you, the author, by making sure all the information an agent needs to make a decision is up front for them to consider, without them having to make any extra steps. Extra steps mean irritation, because we see so many queries in a week that an extra step is … yeah. You get the picture. 

3. Do more research.

I have a blog! You are reading it right now! On that blog I have written extensively about things I am reading and enjoying. I have a twitter feed. I’ve done interviews. I write the occasional book review. My Goodreads is, for the most part, public.  I’ve stated in several of these media that I’m not looking for things like memoir, nonfiction, or picture books. Please don’t send me any of these things! I also have a list of all my clients on my website – check them out. Check out their work. 

4. I guess what I’m saying is, wonderful resources like Writer’s Digest new agent highlights are a JUMPING OFF POINT for research for your query process.

 

This has been A Post. I’ll be at WorldCon this week, hanging out with the lovely and talented Emma Newman. I’ll post my schedule soon. 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. hnhunt01 permalink
    August 23, 2014 3:50 am

    Your mustache is magnificent. There is a certain quality to the curvature of it that suggests you should be related to Snidely Whiplash but I can think of no greater honor than to be able to call that man kin.

  2. October 2, 2014 2:27 am

    I think I did everything right then. 🙂 Fingers crossed.

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