5 Simple Things Agents Can Do To Make Writers' Lives Easier (and 3 Things Writers Should Do Regardless)

1. Set up an auto-responder email letting writers know that their query letter was received. By doing this, agents will cut down on the number of repeat queries they receive from writers unsure if their e-mail went through correctly. For those agents whose policy it is to only respond if interested, writers won’t wonder if their queries were received in the first place or send a follow-up e-mail just in case.
Author:
Publish date:

1. Set up an auto-responder email letting writers know that their query letter was received. By doing this, agents will cut down on the number of repeat queries they receive from writers unsure if their e-mail went through correctly. For those agents whose policy it is to only respond if interested, writers won’t wonder if their queries were received in the first place or send a follow-up e-mail just in case.

(Meet new literary agent Victoria Marini, who represents fiction, nonfiction and kids books.)


Nancy Parish runs the blog,
The Sound and Furry. She is a
contributing editor to the GLA blog
and runs the Footnotes series.She
is currently writing novels for children.

Nancy_Parrish_color

2. Respond to all partial and full requests. When a writer receives a request for a full or partial manuscript from an agent, it’s a big deal. It means we’ve gotten over one hurdle—the dreaded query letter, and now someone is actually going to read our work. So please respond, especially at this level. Even a form rejection is better than silence. That way we can move on. Please, I beseech you!

3. Provide periodic status updates on their slushpile reading. If writers know the agent has read everything they’ve received by a certain date, and we’ve sent a query during that time, and haven’t heard from them; then we can skip the status e-mail—and avoid clogging up their inbox and just re-send the query. Status updates can come on a blog, Twitter or in an interview.

(Why you should only query 6-8 agents at a time.)

4. Be specific in what they are looking to publish. Online and at conferences, agents—as a species, often give vague descriptions of what is on their wish lists. Agents may do this so that they don’t miss something wonderful. The tradeoff is an inbox clogged with queries about books they have no interest in reading, let alone publishing. But: If agents were to be more specific and even list examples of published works that they like and want to see more of, the result might just be a clog-free inbox.

5. List online interviews they’ve given on their agency website. Part of a writer’s job when trying to land an agent is to research agents. That research includes learning the tastes of perspective agents that we might like to query. We are more effective in our research when agents list recent interview links on the agency websites—or better yet when they tweet them!

3 Simple Things Writers Must Do Regardless:

1. Target your agent search. Stop sending mass queries to every agent on the planet.

2. Do your research. Don’t just look to find agents who accept the genre you write. Read interviews the agent’s given, read books they’ve represented and most of all, look at the agency website for the most up-to-date information. Start with a book like Guide to Literary Agents too see the big picture and start the narrow down, and then continue your research online.

(Literary terms defined -- the uncommon and common.)

3. Don’t’ respond to agent rejections. Save the “Thank you’s” for when the agent sells your book. Seriously, don’t clog the agent’s already crowded inbox with thank you notes for nice rejections. It’s still a rejection. Same thing goes for sending a nasti-gram e-mail when you receive a rejection. It’s not going to change agent’s mind and you’ve pretty much assured that they won’t represent you—ever. It’s best to let it go.

2014-guide-to-literary-agents

The biggest literary agent database anywhere
is the Guide to Literary Agents. Pick up the
most recent updated edition online at a discount.

Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:

Image placeholder title

Want to build your visibility and sell more books?
Create Your Writer Platform shows you how to
promote yourself and your books through social
media, public speaking, article writing, branding,
and more.
Order the book from WD at a discount.

Nicole Galland: On Returning to Familiar Characters

Nicole Galland: On Returning to Familiar Characters

Bestselling author Nicole Galland explains what it was like to dive into writing a series and how speculative fiction allows her to explore her interests.

6 Tools for Writing Nonfiction That Breathes

6 Tools for Writing Nonfiction That Breathes

Nonfiction author Liz Heinecke gives her top 6 tips for crafting a nonfiction book that will really capture your subject.

Flash Fiction Challenge

2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 27

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to write something that makes you laugh.

Poetic Forms

Ars Poetica: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at ars poetica and the art of writing poems about poems.

Flash Fiction Challenge

2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 26

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to write about an article of clothing.

Authors Share Tips on Writing Mystery and Thriller Novels That Readers Love

23 Authors Share Tips on Writing Mystery and Thriller Novels That Readers Love

23 authors share tips on writing mystery and thriller novels that readers love, covering topics related to building suspense, inserting humor, crafting incredible villains, and figuring out the time of death.

Jaclyn Goldis: From Personal History to Historical Fiction

Jaclyn Goldis: From Personal History to Historical Fiction

Debut author Jaclyn Goldis explains how her novel When We Were Young was inspired by her real-life grandmothers and how many times she rewrote her first chapter.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Forced Decision

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Forced Decision

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, force a character to make a decision.

Flash Fiction Challenge

2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 25

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to write about a cryptid.