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Pen IN Hand
There may well be more arranged between the two of you, but thatís the gist. Your agent is not your buddy, your friend, your therapist or your editor. He or she is not your travel agent, your lawyer or the go-to guy or gal for a short-term loan.
Next, determine what agencies/agent(s) you want to approach. Gather your research materials. Not all agents represent everything (thereís an understatement). Donít send your query for a science-fiction novel to a scholarly non-fiction representative.
Check out agencies, and then check out agents who work in it. Decide whether you want to work with an agency that is huge, and your agent perhaps a newcomer looking for great new talent, or for a smaller outfit that might not have the clout but could well give you more individualized attention.
Check out the whispers and warnings about agents; and remember, there are some sharks out there. You might want to bear this in mind as well: Literary Market Place informs us about 40 percent of book agents will not read manuscripts by unpublished authors and another 15 percent wont even answer query letters from them.
So, with that uplifting thought, here are a couple more places in addition to the ones I mentioned last time to find them:
Hereís a quick aside. Over the long haul you might want to think about learning something about copywriting thatís selling with words. A book called The Copywriters Handbook by Robert Bly is worth reading, as is Triggers by Joseph Sugarman.
I know, I know, you donít want to be a salesperson. You want to write. Well, youíre gonna have to sell, one way or another, sooner or later if you want to be a successful writer, so learning a little something about what grabs attention isnít a bad idea.
Broadly, when writing your query letter, remember, donít be cute, donít tell them your mom liked it and donít talk about money.
Next time, we'll get into the nuts and bolts of writing that query letter and Iíll give some examples. Until then here are a couple of things to think about and to get down on paper.
Ponder those two things and next well lie out the skeleton and talk about querying etiquette.
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