Why Can't I Find a Agent In Town?

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Q. No matter what I do, I cannot find an agent in Missouri for fiction. What am I doing wrong?
- Margie

A. You're doing nothing wrong. There are just no agents in Missouri. Seriously, I've only met one literary agent who came from the state and that agent was one of the "20 Worst," as labeled by Preditors and Editors.
If you're searching for an agent in Missouri, you probably believe that you need an agent near you, proximity-wise. You don't. Most agents are in New York City or California, with a smattering of reps spread out all across the country. Yes, it would be great to drvive downtown and meet an agent for lunch to talk about your project, but that's just not going to happen. Agents choose to live in those hot spots because they are centers for publishing and entertainment. It isn't important that an agent be close to her writers, but rather to editors who will buy those writers' work.
On this note, realize that small-town agents sprinkled around the country may be just as powerful as Super Manhattan Agents, depending on their connections and clout. If someone was an editor-turned-agent with 20 years experience, but now they live in Toledo and have recently started an agency, they can still sell your work effectively. It's all a matter of who they can get to pick up the phone.

As they say in Missouri: Show me.

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