Agents! They’re a popular topic on inkpop and indeed in most writing communities. What are they? What do they do? Do you need them to get published? And most importantly how do you get one? Well join us today for a live chat in the inkpop forum events to speak with Agent Tina Wexler and the first author discovered on inkpop, Leigh Fallon. In the mean time, we caught up with Tina and Leigh to hear about how agents find authors and how authors find agents.
How do I find clients?
My clients have come to me by way of conferences, contests, and pitch slams, as referrals from existing clients, and as referrals from editors and other agents. Some of my clients were people I discovered online and approached myself. And, of course, I find clients by reading through my query letters.
For those writers who don’t have an ‘in,’ a well-written query can still open doors. I read and respond to all of my queries (the ones that aren’t eaten up by ICM’s SPAM filters, that is) and I have found many gems that way.
The queries that are most apt to catch my eye are those that demonstrate a familiarity with what I’m looking to represent—primarily middle grade and YA fiction and adult non-fiction—and that summarize the work in 3-4 concise yet engaging lines. And if, say, your manuscript has shot up the ranks on inkpop within weeks of being posted, well, that’s always good to include too.
Finding an Agent
The woes of trying to get an agent! You won’t believe it until you start trying. When I finished The Carrier of the Mark I stumbled blindly into querying. I bought myself a copy of The Writers Handbook and started looking for agents who would be a match for me. I reached out to a few in Ireland with no luck. Then I tried my hand at a select few from the UK and the US, but to no avail. I’m not surprised. Neither my book nor I were ready to be on submission, and my query letter totally sucked too!
inkpop changed all of that. After I uploaded my work and got critique advice, my manuscript seriously improved. And through reading the forums I learned a lot about submitting to agents. When HarperCollins first contacted me, I decided to take action once again in securing an agent. I was very picky this time. I researched in detail and found four agents who I felt were a match for me; I liked their work, style, and ethic. Tina Wexler’s name kept popping up during my searches. She’d done many interviews with bloggers and I just felt from the start that she was ‘the one’.
Tina was the first to respond to my query, she was very pleasant and helpful. She gave me advice and was very upfront and honest. When I received an offer from HarperCollins, I contacted Tina again. She requested my full manuscript and said she’d get back to me once she’d read it. The next day Tina and ICM offered to represent me. Instead of waiting for my manuscript, Tina read what she could on inkpop, and was convinced we’d make a good team. I withdrew my queries with the other agents and signed on the dotted line with ICM.
In the time honored tradition of clichés… the rest, as they say, is history.