Do I Have to Live Close to an Agent to Get One?

Q: I live in a small town where there are no agents. Do I have to have an agent in my town or can I get an agent from another town or even another state? Do I really have to meet them in person or can it be strictly a phone and e-mail relationship?—Claira Ketter

A: There’s no rule that says you need to live in the same town, city or even country as your agent. In fact, many authors live several states away from their agents. With technology so advanced (computers and e-mail, fax machines, cell phones that can do everything except wash your car), it’s easy to communicate with an agent from anywhere.

Now, while it’s not necessary, I do think it’s important that before signing with an agent, you should meet her in person if possible. After all, this is the person who’s going to be advising you, representing your work and (hopefully) selling it to a publisher. You need someone who feels as strongly about the success of your book as you do—someone who’s willing to fight for it.

The writer/agent relationship is kind of like a marriage. I’d sure want to meet the person I’m marrying. 

Brian A. Klems is the online managing editor of Writer’s Digest magazine.

Have a question for me? Feel free to post it in the comments section below or e-mail me at WritersDig@fwpubs.com with “Q&Q” in the subject line. Come back each Tuesday as I try to give you more insight into the writing life.

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4 thoughts on “Do I Have to Live Close to an Agent to Get One?

  1. Albert Aunchman

    I have retired and want to try to do some freelance writing.I have had several pieces published in a startup magazine that has since stopped publishing. Can I mention this in a query as having been published? I don’t have the clips.

  2. :Donna

    I agree that you should definitely meet your agent. I know I wouldn’t feel comfortable unless I did. Of course, I’m divorced, so if it’s like a marriage, I may not be a good judge even if I DO meet my agent! lol It’s actually something I’m exTREMEly concerned about because it’s SUCH a critical decision!
    : Donna

  3. Kristen Howe

    When is the best time to query agents? I’ve heard different things, like winter is bad, summer is slow, but it’s okay in the spring or anytime. I wouldn’t be ready to query until next year like early January.

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