Okay, so I’ve decided I need an agent. Now I just need to find one.
To the intertubes!
First stop is AgentQuery, a database of literary agents. I like this site’s search interface, it stays fairly up to date, and it has a lot of basic info on the agents. I can get a nice initial pile of names by going here.
Then I get a bit more disorganized. Locus magazine has a listing of deals made every month, and sometimes I can glean a new name from here. In my online writers group there’s a thread devoted to talking about agents, so I pick through that. I chat with people at cons, and annoy my writing group. Eventually, I end up with a big list of possibilities.
Which means it’s time to start narrowing the list down.
Back to the interweb!
I grind my list through Preditors & Editors, an online guide that tries to let you know how reputable an agent is. Which lets me check for scammers and conflicts of interest. Generally not a big deal, but I’m paranoid enough to check.
Then I’m off to the Absolute Write agent forums and QueryTracker. Both of these give me more info on the agents, and I can start ranking them in a list depending on how cool they seem to me. What makes them cool? Having sales. Reping authors I’ve heard of. Being well established. Being an up and comer in a well established agency. And being open to submissions. That’s pretty important.
Okay, now I’ve got my big list o’agents. Partially ranked. I go through it again, reading the web pages of each. What kind of works are they looking for? Do I like what they’ve written about themselves? I adjust the rankings, and at the same time I comb their agencies listings for names I may have missed earlier and run them through the mill.
All of this gives me a nice long list of names, vaguely ranked. Next order of business– figuring out what each of these people want from me.