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The Real Secret to Getting an Agent

By now, I’ve written an introduction to our annual agent-focused issue so many times, I couldn’t tell you the number offhand. And in them all, my editor’s letter has served as a place to acknowledge the daunting task that faces us all when it comes time to prepare submission materials that reflect the heart of our work. The anxiety that comes with pitching, whether via email or face to face. The air of mystery that surrounds the very idea of agents, in spite of the fact that deep down, we know they’re just book-loving people, like us.

Get an Agent

In the submission process as in the writing process (and as in life!), it helps to know we’re not alone in feeling daunted, anxious and mystified.

But sometimes the best way to overcome that anxiety is not to acknowledge it, but simply to keep your eye on the prize.

Embracing the Power of Positive Thinking

I recently read about a new study that claims we make our own luck. Researchers sought out people who self-identify as either “lucky” or “unlucky,” and in studying them discovered that people who are more open to unexpected opportunities and less distracted by persistent worries tend to be “luckier.” And while writing itself has a lot to do with talent and persistence, we all know that when it comes time to get published, you’re going to need a little luck, too.

So let’s turn the early pages of this year’s agent issue—the October 2015 Writer's Digest, on sale now—by embracing the power of positive thinking.

It’s already been a long road, after all.

For months, years—even decades—you’ve been doing this, by and large, alone: You and the blank page. You and the marked-up manuscript. You and the 17th draft of your query letter.

And now, it’s time to move ahead. You’re going to arm yourself with all the information you can about this crucial submissions phase—and you’re going to be one of the lucky ones. You’re ready for whatever opportunities present themselves. And when you find that agent match, you won’t be doing it alone anymore. Think of how nice it will be to have a partner to join you. One who believes in you and your work, and who will stop at nothing to see it get published. One who is both a fan and a coach—who can guide you through the nuances on the playing field, motivate you to up your game, give you your long-fought chance at bat, and show you the way to the championship.

Inside the October 2015 Writer’s Digest, now available on newsstands everywhere and for instant download, you’ll find:

  • 38 Agents Actively Seeking New Writers NOW—What They Want & How to Submit
  • Everything You Need to Know About Queries & Book Proposals
  • Is Your Manuscript Really Submission-Ready? How to Use Beta Readers to Get It There
  • A Literary Agent’s Checklist for Before You Hit Send
  • Mystery, Thriller, Suspense? Understand the Subtle Differences So You Can Pitch to Win
  • And much more.

Sure, sometimes all this submissions business sounds like a lot of work. Most things that are worth it are.

And this is going to be worth it. It is.

The articles in the October 2015 Writer's Digestcan help you get there. So go ahead: Believe.

Jessica Strawser
Editor, Writer's Digest Magazine
Follow me on Twitter @jessicastrawser
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