Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Do you have what agents are looking for?

Time for another IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) session. This month, I'm spilling my guts about how to snag an agent. Uh, no. I haven't snagged one yet myself, but I did snag an editor/publisher. Similar, yet more difficult. Agents are a different breed.

Soon I will be asking myself if I have what agents are looking for when I venture out with my latest WIP. I feel like I have to start over. Maybe that's why this one is taking me so long, not looking forward to the tsunami of rejections ahead of me. But nothing is guaranteed in life, right? Change comes whether we like it or not, we just have to deal with it.

So, I wanted to offer a couple of ways to peek at what agents are thinking...

First, is the very insightful: #MSWishList - where agents spout off story ideas they'd love to see written and offered to them. Trouble is, you have to have what they're looking for right then because sooner than you can write your first draft, they'll come up with a new twist, and yours will be so last month! The best approach is to see if anyone is seeking something you've already written or started.

Second, enter Twitter pitch contests. Like:
#PitMad - where writers tweet a 280-character pitch for their completed, polished, unpublished manuscripts. Agents and editors make requests by liking/favoriting the tweeted pitch. Every unagented writer is welcome to pitch. All genres/categories are welcomed. Upcoming dates are:

June 6, 2019 (8AM – 8PM EDT)
September 5, 2019 (8AM – 8PM EDT)
December 5, 2019 (8AM – 8PM EST)

and
#PitchWars, schedule is as follows:

6/24 Mentor Applications Open
7/8 Mentor Applications Close
8/12 Mentors Announced
9/11-25 Mentor Wishlists Posted
9/25-27 Submissions Open
11/3 Mentees Announced
2/5-10 Agent Showcase

and the IWSG has a pitch event as well! Missed it this year, but the next #IWSGPit contest will be in January 2020 (Date - TBA, 8:00 am - 8:00 pm EST)

Last - Research. Always do a search for agents in your genre. Almost all of them have a list of what they are seeking on their websites, though some don't update them as often as they should. And many do interviews where they talk about the industry as well as what they're looking for, like on Writer's Digest.

So good luck to us all. Expect the worst and you won't feel as bad from the rejections. But hang in there, your perfect match agent will find you! And we will all do the silly celebration dance for you!


via GIPHY

Happy April! And yay for Spring!

17 comments:

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Just write and polish and then find agents looking for what you've written.

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Hi Tara! Good luck with everything. Thanks for sharing all this information and insight. #sigh Even though a few years back I knew splitting from my agent was the right thing to do, I still can't help but wonder where I'd be if I had stayed. I need to get over that, toss those thoughts over my shoulder, and let them fall with the wind. I honestly thought I'd have something new to offer a new agent. But life has had different plans these past two years. Oops, sorry to babble. Sending all sorts of positive power for this month!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Good luck, Tara!

I would also add literary agent Janet Reid's blog as well as QueryShark as great places for querying advice.

Michelle Wallace said...

Congrats on snagging an editor/publisher, Tara.
Change is the one constant in life... can't avoid it! I say just embrace it, take whatever works for you and ignore the rest.

The MSWishList concept sounds fabulous - a writer would need good timing and a good product to qualify.
Happy IWSG Day!

Cathrina Constantine said...

Good Post, Tara.

I used to check the #MSWISHLIST all the time, and still do on occasion. Getting your editor is big, good luck. The query trenches can be depressing and that's why we, as writer's, have grown thick skins of armor.

Christine Rains said...

Great tips on snagging an agent. The rejections are expected, and I think once writers accept that, they can find the strength to carry on through them to find that right match. :)

Diane T. Wickles said...

Thanks for the tips for finding an agent. I too, am in that fishing boat hoping to hook an agent.
Good luck Tara!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good tips. And I guess we need to set a date soon for the next #IWSGPit.
Good luck, Tara! Although I know you're just anxious for your next release.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Don't bother about any wish list, just write the story you want to write. Everything else will fall in place. Btw, twitter pitch contests/parties are great way to get an agent's attention.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Good luck! It's a long frustrating process- that's for sure.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I just discovered that wish list a few weeks ago. It's definitely helpful, even if I'm a little late for some of those wishes.
Great tips, Tara!!!
And best wishes with your WIP!

Diane Burton said...

Always, always, always check out an agent. Remember, most of them get your whole royalty income than send you 80%. Seems backwards to me. No agent is better than a bad one. Been there. Good luck, Tara.

Sarah Foster said...

I've checked out #MSWL but haven't gone too deep because I wanted to finish writing my book first. I did scope out a few agents though and bought some of their favorite books just to get a feel. Even if I don't submit to them, at least I'll hopefully read some good books.
Had a very bad experience with Pitch Wars so I definitely won't be trying that again! Too bad IWSGpit is so far away! I was hoping for a sooner one.
Good luck with your agent search!

Juneta key said...

Great info. Makes me nervous just reading it though. Happy IWSG!

Loni Townsend said...

I've never looked into agents, but these are great tips!

LD Masterson said...

Trying to write to what agents are interested in is a lost cause. The wish list changes too fast. But it certainly makes sense to search for one who's looking for what you've written. And thanks for posting the Twitter Pitch dates. I'm always losing them and missing out.

Mark Murata said...

Thanks for the twitter tips!