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Six Ways to Improve Your Chances of Getting an Agent

Here are six tips from literary agent Lori Perkins, on how you can better prepare yourself to succeed in the business.
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If we lived in an ideal world, being a successful author would require only one thing — talent. Unfortunately, to make it in the real publishing world requires more than just artistic skill; it takes an intimate knowledge of the industry and the ability to market oneself to the people within it. Here are six tips from literary agent Lori Perkins, founding partner of Perkins, Rubie and Associates, on how you can better prepare yourself to succeed in the business:

  1. Educate yourself about the publishing industry. Read both your newspaper's weekly book reviews and national newspaper columns about book publishing. Get a subscription to Publishers Weekly magazine. Keep an eye out for publishing company mergers and find out what they mean to you.
  2. Join a writers organization. Do this in order to talk shop with other writers. Every kind of writer has an organization to belong to, and they're tax-deductible. Subscribe to their newsletters and participate in their chat rooms.
  3. Go to a writers convention. You get to meet writers and editors in your field, and more important they get to meet you. Also, more established writers might read your book and give you a great quote you can market alongside your manuscript.
  4. Attend Book Expo America. This is the publishing industry's annual convention. Attend it at least once; it will give you an overview of the coming year in publishing that will make your head spin.
  5. Read. Know your peers — and your competition. Only an amateur is unaware of the work being done by others in his or her field. You should also be at least somewhat familiar with every writer on the bestseller list, no matter what genre.
  6. Work on your craft. Read books on editing and writing. Take refresher courses on grammar. Do the little things to keep your writing sharp and professional.

To read more no-holds-barred tips on how to succeed in the publishing world, pick up a copy of Lori Perkins's book The Insider's Guide to Getting an Agent.

Read an excerpt from chapter 10 of her book.

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