Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wicked Wednesday - finding an agent

Though you don't need an agent these days to realize your publishing goals, some writers still want one. The number one obstacle for new writers is that agents have very few spots open for them. An agent can read a several great manuscripts, but in the end, s/he may only have an opening for one or two. You have to stand out amongst the best, and with the popularity of paranormal romance, you really need to wow the agent.

Here are some tips to help you attract an agent:
1) Know your genre. With paranormal romance, you're going to need to focus on the romance and have a Happily Ever After ending. Try to stay away from vampires and werewolves. Some agents stop reading a query the second they see either of those words.

2) Have some knowledge of the industry. Agents will look at your website, blog, and Twitter account. Have you been networking? Have you joined writers' groups? How much time have you invested in your writing and yourself?

3) Be professional. Always be polite even when rejected. Conduct yourself as such everywhere. Learn from your rejections and grow as a writer.

4) When writing your query, make sure your genre is clear through your blurb itself. Of course, you'll say it's a paranormal romance when describing your book, but reading the blurb alone should say it too. Make sure it focuses on the romance with both external and internal conflicts.

5) Be original. Even if your story is a traditional Romeo and Juliet type, emphasize what makes yours different. Don't be afraid to go over the top. And if you're able, use a bit of humor. Usually if you can make someone laugh, you've got them hooked.

Karen Fox has an excellent updated list of agents seeking paranormal romances. Always make sure to research the agent you're sending your query to before you send them anything.

Do you have any tips on how a paranormal romance writer can stand out in the crowd?

17 comments:

  1. Great tips! This is not my genre so I can't really offer any advice, but I think you covered the main points! :D

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  2. Excellent tips, and thanks for the list of agents. I'll keep them in mind for my current WiP. :D

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  3. Great tips! Thanks for the link to the list. :)

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  4. Thanks for the great tips, not my genre but the tips work basically towards all genres :)


    Siv Maria's blog, Been there, done that...

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  5. Not my genre either, but great tips. I appreciate the one about using a bit of humour as I always thought you had to be quite straight laced in your approach.

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  6. I think agents can be a great part of the publishing process. That being said, make sure you do your homework. Ask authors who are currently represented by them what they think. If they say no comment, or say they are fine, you might want to read between the lines. Also, you can ask the agent questions. If they say they don't have time for this, that means he/she won't have time for your book. Great post about attracting and agent!

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  7. Great advice! Will you be looking for an agent? That's exciting if you are.

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  8. I'm registered for the San Francisco Writers' Conference which happens next February, and I also signed up for the "Agent Speed-Dating," which gives you a chance to meet agents and pitch your books to them . . . I'm nervous and know I need to be on my game! But at least I have time to prepare . . .

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  9. These are great tips even if you're not a paranormal romance writer! Finding an agent is tough. Good luck if you're looking!

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  10. Thanks for reading, folks! And no, I'm not currently looking for an agent. I can't even manage to stick to a deadline I set for myself at this point. I might try to find one once my son starts school full time in three years.

    I'm sure all of us would love to hear of other writers' experiences with agents, if you would like to share.

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  11. I don't have an agent and have stopped looking for one since I signed with an indie for my seven book. I think a lot of getting an agent is having the right book ready at the right time. And luck, lots of luck.

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  12. I agree with the person above me: timing seems to be key.

    Great tips!

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  13. Be a vampire? :D Just kidding. Sometimes I think it's just a matter of landing the right project on the right desk on the right day.

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  14. I don't write paranormal romance, but these are good tips for any genre. :)

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  15. I always enjoy your Wednesday posts since I always learn something new:) thanks for sharing.

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  16. Interesting article, thanks, Christine. Not sure I'm ever going to find an agent but I can always hope. One of the biggest rules, I keep reading, is to make sure you follow the agent's guidelines to the letter.

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