Agent Research

Querying is hard you guys. Emotionally, yes, but it’s also just hard.  Every agency has different submission guidelines, each agent has different preferences, and some of them have names that are sooo hard to spell (is that just me??). Obviously, you want to research each agent and their agency. You want to make sure they’re the kind of agent you’d get along with, and you want to make sure there is at least a shred of hope that they will like your specific novel. And that research portion can be crazy time-consuming.

While I’m not quite in the query trenches, I hope to be after another round or two of revisions, so I have already started the marathon research stage. Here are some resources that have helped me (and may help you!):

  • #MSWL – aka Manuscript Wish List. This site, brainchild of K.K. Hendin and Jessica Sinsheimer, is a national treasure. Agents and editors list the types of books they’re eager to find in their submissions, and you can search by genre, name, and tags. Also, MSWishlist.com chronicles agent and editor tweets that use the #MSWL hashtag. There is some overlap, but both sites are worth perusing.
  • Literary Rambles – This blog (hosted by Casey McCormick and Natalie Aguirre) has everything: agent spotlights, writer and agent interviews, book giveaways, critique giveaways, a pie delivery service (maybe not a pie delivery service, but if they could find a way to do that, then they would really and truly have everything)… basically, this place should be one of your first stops when you start researching agents. The spotlights (handily listed down the left side) are incredibly detailed, and they cull information from a variety of interviews and websites so you don’t have to scour the internet in search of agent info.
  • QueryTracker – No-brainer here.
  • Publishers Marketplace – I don’t have a premium membership (to quote Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids, “Help me, I’m poor.”), but searching through the member profiles can be very helpful.
  • Absolute Write Forum – Specifically the ‘Bewares, Recommendations & Background Check’ sub-forum. My crippling social anxiety has prevented me from participating much over at Absolute Write, but this forum is a fantastic searchable database of agents and agencies. Wondering if that superstar agent is a fraud? Curious what kinds of manuscripts an agent is more likely to request? Does the agent have confusing guidelines? Whatever your query (get it? LOLOL!), this forum probably has an answer. Or, at least, it probably has other people commiserating over the same issue.
  • ChasingtheCrazies – This is a blog by YA and NA author Amy Trueblood, and it has a bunch of useful information. Agent interviews focus on what they like to see in a novel’s first pages, and Amy has also included sections about writing queries, authors’ publishing journeys, and demystifying the publishing process. All of this stuff is worth a read if you’re querying, but I found the agent interviews especially helpful.
  • Query. Sign. Submit. – This subsection of author Dee Romito’s blog, I Write for Apples, has a list of interviews with agents, editors, and other authors.
  • Twitter – Not all agents have Twitter, but if they do, I’m sure it goes without saying that Twitter-stalking them can be a handy way to learn what types of clients they represent, as well as their preferences and pet peeves.

This is not an exhaustive list, because a lot of randomly helpful things came out of simply Googling agent names. Thanks, internet!

So, what are your go-to resources for researching agents? Give me something good!

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