Your Literary Agent Is Not On Craigslist

Have you ever been browsing Craigslist and come across these titles?

Agent needed for my novel!!!!!!!

Need and agent ASAP

Aspiring Author Needs Agent

Yes, people actually try to find agents by posting Craigslist advertisements. If you are one of those writers and are reading this: STOP posting your agent ad on Craigslist right NOW. I’m not joking. Just quit it. No self respecting agent is going to answer these ads. None that are legitimate. Any agent responding to an ad like this is out to empty your wallet.

For the rest of you: Don’t do this. It makes you look unprofessional and downright silly. No one is going to take an author seriously when they’re looking for an agent in this manner. Literary agents do not cruise Craigslist in search of poorly written advertisements from desperate authors. They don’t, I promise you. If an agent is on that website, then he or she is looking for something else. Sure they’ve closed down the adult services section, but that isn’t stopping the trade, if you get my drift.

(Dear Agent reading this post – forgive the adult services joke. I’m aware that you’re really looking for vintage Star Wars toys. Are we good now?)

You’re probably wondering what you’re supposed to do to land that agent. The process isn’t as hard as you may think. If it were, no writer would have an agent. Just because Joe Schmoe from ThisRantyBlog says getting an agent is impossible does not mean that is true. Agents want to represent you. That is how they make a living. They do not want to cringe when reading a query – they really and truly want to take on your book.

Let’s get you on that path to finding your dream agent. Do you have your manuscript ready? What? You don’t? That will never do. When you query an agent with an amazing story and assuming he or she asks for a partial or full to consider…what are you going to say? “Oh, well, the book isn’t exactly done.”

Goodbye, Dream Agent.

Write your manuscript. Polish it until it shines. When you are finished, let it sit and then polish it again after a week or so. Fresh eyes find mistakes that are missed the first (or second) time around. Once you have done everything you can to make that book sparkle, research writing query letters.

Do not write the letter yet. Just research. Learn everything you can about writing the query. While you are doing this, network with other writers. Find out who they have queried. Pay attention to the writers that have landed a great agent. If another writer offers to refer to their agent thank your lucky stars! A referred writer has a better chance with agents. Don’t believe me? Check out Nathan Bradford’s Blog : HERE

See? I wouldn’t lie to you.

If you have gotten a referral or have found an agent you’d like to query, read their submission guidelines. This is exactly the same process as authors submitting to magazines and e-publishers go through. You will need to tailor your query to the agent(s) you are approaching. Please don’t send out cookie cutter queries. That’s tacky. You are a writer – put as much (if not more!) effort into your query as you did into the novel. That query is what sells your book.

If an agent requests a full or a partial, you’ve done it! You have written a winning query and entered into the final stage of the race to being published. What happens afterward depends on your manuscript and if you ‘click’ with the agent.

And that, my friend, is another post altogether.

4 thoughts on “Your Literary Agent Is Not On Craigslist

  1. This is SUCH a great post. I’m afraid that when I first started querying agents, I had it all backwards. I hadn’t even STARTED writing my book (eek!) and I didn’t spend much time researching how to write queries or proposals (double eek). I did stop short at Craig’s List, but I cringe when I think about how I must’ve come across to potential agents. I wish I had read this post two years ago!

  2. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Erin.

    We live and learn. I live by the rule that everything happens exactly as it should. So, in making the mistakes you may have made approaching agents in the past you’re learning and growing toward the perfect agent for your future.

    Still, it’s great to have an opportunity to learn. I guess the next question is, what is the best way to approach agents and where DO we find them?

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