Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Agents Who Blog

Any readers of this blog who know me at all, know I believe that, with very few exceptions, if you want a career in mainstream publishing, you need a good agent first. (The main exception in the non-vanity print publishing world is if you're targeting Harlequin -- but even there, while an agent won't necessarily get you more money or better terms on your first few contracts, a good agent who understands HQ can really help you grow your career with them.)

This in itself is another topic, but today I wanted to talk about one way to help you land an agent if you don't have one — reading agent blogs.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Reading and commenting on agent blogs isn't going to get you signed up with an agent, per se. And I think it's ridiculous to think that sucking up to agents on their blogs would in anyway increase your chances of getting signed. Let's all repeat together. It's about the writing. (AND It's about the agent’s personal tastes and preferences and what they're looking for.)

That said, one of the best ways, in my opinion, to increase your chances of signing with a good agent, is to improve your knowledge of the industry, and if you don’t have the bucks to attend a whack of conferences, agent blogs are a GREAT way to learn about the industry.

Whether it's Miss Snark ranting about nitwits (while swilling gin and lusting over George Clooney), Kristen Nelson picking apart contract clauses, The Knight Agency offering frequent chats with their authors, or Rachel Vater publicly culling her query pile and exposing the plot devices which have become most cliché, there’s a wealth of information on these blogs. Plus, they’re often entertaining. Who knew so many agents could write? (Well, I did… Deidre Knight is an author as well as an agent… So is Donald Maass (under a pseudonym), but I digress.)

As great as AgentBlogLand can be, it’s not all roses. Lately, there’s been a disturbing trend on one blog I read for some anonymous commenter to attack the agent, agents in general and some of the authors who frequently comment there. Crazy! What is the point of this? But knowing that such people exist, is in itself educational, if depressing.

Educate yourself. Go wild.

Here are some spots to do it.

Miss Snark
The Knight Agency
Deidre Knight (this is her author page, but she talks about the industry a lot)
Nephele Tempest
Kristen Nelson
Jennifer Jackson
Rachel Vater
Lori Perkins
Jessica Faust
Jenny Rappaport
Dystel & Goderich Literary Management
The Rejecter
Jet Reid Literary
Nadia Cornier
Nathan Bransford

Know of any other agents who blog? Let us know. We'll get a list going in our sidebar. I sure wish there'd been more agents blogging when I was looking, but even now that I have an agent, I find so much information on these blogs.

Oh, and it's not a blog. But just in case you don't know the #1 best place to go on the web if you're looking for an agent... Go to www.agentquery.com


Anonymous said...

The hater commenters are an interesting (and usually insane) bunch. It comes with popularity (for example, one of my blogs was recently swarmed with haters so I've temporarily taken off the comments option).

Why I say they're insane is that comments are linked to IP addies and since most people access from either home or work...

Gotta take the good with the bad.

I also enjoy the editor blogs. Really gives you a feel for what they like or dislike.

Maureen McGowan said...

Yes, a feel for likes or dislikes is valuable (on agent and editor blogs).

It's a pretty tiny number of either who blog, but if they do, you can at least know with more certainly whether or not they'd like your work and whether or not you'd like to work with them.

An aside to everyone... Go read Nathan Bransford's post today. "Dude looks like a YA". Amazing post. Dude is one smart agent. (okay, mine line doesn't go with the song quite as well as his does...)

Anonymous said...

Great list of blogging agents. I read a lot of these and some are amazing insight into how much similar projects they get over and over.
Rachel Vater did a list of cliched queries, which I found interesting and relevant to us, avoiding cliched terms in query letters can help get us read.

Sara Hantz said...

I love reading agent blogs, and it certainly helped me make my decision recently.

Amy Ruttan said...

I love Miss Snark and have enjoyed reading the crap o'meter. I read Kristen Nelson's blog and I am surprised by how many people will query in the comments section of her blog.

I'll have to check out some more of the links, The Rejector sounds like some sort of demented super villian or hero however you want to look at it.

Maureen McGowan said...

Yeah, Amy. I was just looking at Deidre Knight's myspace page, and someone posted a query in her comments... Seriously. Do they think she'll respond?

Anonymous said...

Great info. Getting an education will definitely help, and it never stops, There's always more to learn!

Now, I'm going to TRY to post a comment, but Blogger has really hated me lately. Let's see...

Molly O'Keefe said...

What is the DEAL? with blogger!!! And lunatics -- I think writers tend to be a little crazier than most - with all the alone time but the internet has let the lunatics out of the asylum...

Excellent blog Maureen -- you're a savvy savvy lady.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the links, Maureen. I read quite a few of these, but I didn't know of some you had listed. I added them to my favorites list. I love Miss Snark. She's rejected my queries twice, but I learn so much from her blog.

Unknown said...

I've read a few of these blogs, but there are a bunch I wasn't familar with. I'll be giving these a good read over tonight.

And I'm in awe that someone would query on a blog. That's a sure fire way of not getting anywhere.

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