2009 Article Excerpt: Assessing Credibility

Publish date:

I have officially wrapped up all editing on the 2009 Guide to Literary Agents. It's over. Finally. Done. (I. Love. Using. Periods.) To celebrate, I thought I'd post excerpts from the forthcoming upfront articles.

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2009 Article Excerpt:

The Scoop on Researching Agents

"...Anybody can go to the neighborhood copy center and order business cards that say "literary agent," but that title doesn't mean she can sell your book. She may lack the proper connections with others in the publishing industry, and an agent's reputation with editors is a major strength or weakness.
Agents who have been in the business awhile have a large number of contacts and carry the most clout with editors. However, veteran agents can be too busy to take on new clients or might not have the time to develop an author. Newer agents, on the other hand, may be hungrier, as well as more open to unpublished writers.
If it's a new agent without a track record, be aware that you're taking more of a risk signing with her than with a more established agent. But know that even a new agent should not be new to publishing. Many agents were editors before they were agents, or they worked at an agency as an assistant. Experience is crucial for making contacts in the publishing world and learning about rights and contracts..."

- "Assessing Credibility: The Scoop on Researching Agents" (page 14)

While Guide to Literary Agents is best known for its large and detailed list of literary agencies, every edition has plenty of informational articles and interviews designed to help writers perfect their craft and contact agents wisely. The 2009 edition is no different, with more than 80 pages of articles addressing numerous writing and publishing topics.