WMBTSG Day Twenty Nine (Comment to this post to enter today’s drawing)

Welcome to day twenty-nine of the Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway. Today’s giveaway is the 2009 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino!!!

Save yourself time, energy, and disappointment by researching this newest edition of the Guide to Literary Agents where you’ll find up-to-date contact information and submission guidelines for the agent or editor who is open to looking at your manuscript for possible representation. Listings have been updated and verified. This edition also includes informative articles to help you present your work like a pro.

You’ll find more great info in Chuck’s blog.

Also, if you are looking for excellent agent and editor interviews, including an interview with Chuck, check out those by Cindy Hudson and Lori Russell over at Writers on the Rise.


Today’s question:

You shared a bit about agents and editors on day twenty-one of the giveaway. Today, I’d like you tell us: why will an agent wish to partner with you? What do you have going for you as a writer that will cause agents to take notice? Don’t just tell us about your writing. In fact, let’s assume you write well. And you have a marketable idea. I want you to see you through an agent’s eyes. What’s to like? Choose qualities you think are relevant to selling books.

If this is your first post in the giveaway, please read “Da Rules.”

You may post your comments until midnight PST on September 29th.


22 Responses to “WMBTSG Day Twenty Nine (Comment to this post to enter today’s drawing)”

  1. 1 Debra September 29, 2008 at 4:55 am

    The main qualities that I have to offer an agent is that I already understand the necessity for an author to take the initiative in marketing her own books, and I have spent the last seven years carefully building a platform — a popular web site for parents — from which I will be able to market my middle-grade fiction. Moreover, I really enjoy P.R. — I head up the P.R. committees for our local branch of SCBWI — and have contacts in our state’s media who are receptive to my ideas. So this end of publishing which so scares so many authors is already familiar road to me.

  2. 2 The Write Elizabeth (Elizabeth Humphrey) September 29, 2008 at 5:17 am

    An agent would wish to partner with me because, after years of working in media and with marketing and public relations, I have an understanding of media and getting the word out. I have embraced Web 2.0 for marketing, as well. I would like a partner to guide me through the publishing world and its nuances, but I am also willing to learn from my partner, as well.
    While I write well in various genre, an agent would also like to work with me because I am willing to rewrite and, having survived workshopping my writing, I understand and take direction well.
    I look forward to partnering with someone who wants a hard-working client who is willing to go the distance to sell, sell, sell.

  3. 3 Laural September 29, 2008 at 7:23 am

    Wow, I’m much earlier on the road than those who have commented ahead of me. What do I have to offer? My work as a teacher has me comfortable speaking to groups and pulling together interesting presentations for small groups or large (it can’t get any more entertaining than 1000 high school students!), and I’ve already spoken on my writing and travels to a writing group and for the public (90 people turned out). I’m ready for that part of marketing. I have contacts with local media and booksellers, and would expand that network. I’m also a quick learner and a hard worker, and ready to tackle platform-building right now.

  4. 4 rowena September 29, 2008 at 7:29 am

    This is a tough question. I have never really thought about it in this way, so I suppose you’ve done some good.

    I think an agent would want to work with me because I am writing with a particular market in mind. I am also open to advice and suggestions, which I can look at objectively, without attachment to my previous ideas. I also have been working on building my own platform online with my blog and a budding community. I think my teaching background is also a positive, as I am used to speaking in public and also in presenting information in a compelling manner.

    And I’m going to add this last, although I feel a little uncomfortable with it, but I think it matters in the world of marketing and publishing. I am also attractive and personable and that can’t hurt, right? (I feel like saying this in a whisper, is that weird?)

  5. 5 elizaj September 29, 2008 at 7:32 am

    What an interesting question. I feel waaay out of my league, but I am going to give it a shot because I want to win something!

    I read snippets of Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom, who was a children’s book publisher. She was so passionate and kept up a heart to heart correspondence with her “Geniuses” As she liked to call them. Shel Silverstein, Maurice Sendak, Laura Ingalls Wilder etc.
    She edited – Where the Wild Things Are, Charlotte’s Web and Goodnight Moon .. So she has had a powerful influence on the children’s book world, in her time

    Authors can be difficult, stubborn and easily offended by suggestions. And pretty disloyal too, as I read in this book of Ursala’s.

    It helped me to see what one (albeit exceptional) literary agent was like.

    So what I want to bring to the table is openness, dedication and a willingness to learn and work hard.

    Jeez. My book is gonna have to super fantastic!!

    And I will be NICE. That ought to get me noticed, eh?

  6. 6 Erika September 29, 2008 at 8:15 am

    The agent that I am planning to send my manuscript to (once it’s finished!) indicated that he liked people who were making a serious commitment to their writing – people who consider writing to be their career. This definitely applies to me and I am happy to represent myself that way.

    Beyond that, my pre-writing life was marketing and I could draw upon these skills in the marketing of my [future] book. I have done press tours in NY, been a guest on radio shows, presented to hundreds of people, etc. None of it was in relation to a book I was publishing, but I would love the opportunity to promote my own work.

    I also have a high level of respect for what agent’s can offer to me. There is so much too know in the publishing world and if I can hook up with an agent who can steer me to the right editor and support me along the way, I’m all for it!

  7. 7 Cat September 29, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Whew. I don’t think I’ve ever really considered it in this way. An agent will want to partner with me because as a professional writer, I have valuable experience and an understanding of the publishing industry. I’m willing to work with the agent and publisher to sell my work. And, of course, my work is marketable: it’s well written and has a clear audience.

    That was really difficult to write–but a good exercise. I should get better at this!

  8. 8 Cara September 29, 2008 at 9:50 am

    This is all purely hypothetical right? Because if truth be told, I wouldn’t know what to do with an agent right now. I am years away from even attempting a novel, let alone seeking a publisher for one, and it really hasn’t been all that difficult to find potential markets for my personal essays and creative nonfiction so far. I’ve earmarked a few likely markets, and have established a rapport directly with the editors. That being said…

    I have absolutely no background in marketing, P.R. or even creative writing or journalism, if we’re going to be particular. Just an overwhelming desire to express myself through the written word. What I would bring to a partnership with an agent is honesty, a fresh, unjaded outlook on writing, ambition, determination, creativity, enthusiasm, organizational skills, and an open mind. I am more than willing to listen and learn, and am quick to adapt to changing situations. And no one could be a better cheerleader for my own work, than me!

  9. 9 writerinspired September 29, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Well, I also have a marketing/advertising background in which I worked for a PR firm and did some freelance work. I am very organized, personable, professional and efficient. My 12+ years as an executive assistant can attribute to that fact. For the past 6 years I have assisted sales reps, so I am attuned to the sales industry and familar with goals vs actual results. I am also experienced in corporate travel planning and budget keeping. I love to think outside the box and try new things, solo or as a team player.
    My two existing blogs have been getting me exposure, as well as the young writers classes I teach. All, I believe are assets which agents would find important. As a bonus: I’m a riot to hang with, so long book tours would be fun if anything else! : )

  10. 10 Celestial Goldfish September 29, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Unlike many of the others here, I don’t have a background in marketing or public speaking. I want an agent to be interested in me because of the unique voice of my writing and my ability to twist familiar tropes into something fresh. That’s what it’s really about, right? Promotional skills do help once you have a contract. I already have a website, and I’m aware of other ways to market my book online. I am open to suggestions and I’m not a diva; I’m willing to listen and learn, and I want to establish a relationship with an agent that will carry on for many years and through many book projects.

  11. 11 nathalie September 29, 2008 at 10:27 am

    I think that finding the right agent is not unlike dating, right? So not every agent will like me but once I make the right connection with an agent who “gets” me and my work, I think the rest are details. Assuming as you said that the writing is good, the work is marketable, etc. Basic manners, a genuine love of people and strong work ethic on my end won’t hurt either. Also not taking myself so seriously that I can’t learn from my mistakes.

  12. 12 Cathy September 29, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    I think an agent might like that I’m funny and entertaining and heck, people like me. I mean, promotion has a lot to do with likability. You like me, you’ll like my book. You’ll buy my book. Everybody’s happy!

    Of course, I’ve been building my platform for awhile now and even though my writing’s not at all serious, I’m very serious when it comes to my writing career. Writing’s what I do, 24/7. Well, not 24/7, I have to sleep some time. Oh, and I have to eat. And I have to watch crazy YouTube videos. And try to win books on writing blogs. But other than that stuff, I’m writing my pants off.

    Um, you know what I mean, right?

  13. 13 needuly September 29, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Great question.

    In a word — respect.

    An agent would want to work with me because I would respect my agent, my editor, my readers, and myself.

    I would respect my agent’s judgment and appreciate what she’s doing for me. Conversely, I would expect my agent to respect me by representing my interests with honesty and integrity. I would respect my editor’s time–gotta listen to suggestions and meet those deadlines. I would definitely respect my readers and appreciate their support by buying my books. I would also show self-respect through hard work, willingness to listen and follow through, while remaining true to my values and vision.

    Oh, and I make a mean cheesecake.

  14. 14 Mar Junge, c3PR September 29, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Assuming that I provide a well-written and marketable manuscript, an agent will want to partner with me because I am a professional writer and a businesswoman. Both of those qualities are equally important.

    As a professional writer, I understand the need to get back to editors with suggested changes quickly and to swallow any emotional attachment I may have to the “words.”

    As a businesswoman, I understand that we are entering into a mutually beneficial PARTNERSHIP. To be profitable, all partners – the agent, editor, publisher and the author – must meet or exceed expectations.

    I agree that having experience in PR and marketing is a definite plus. However, if you don’t have it, you can learn enough online to at least be knowledgeable about book promotion requirements.

    Demonstrate to your prospective agent that you have the confidence, passion, dedication and focus to make your book a best seller and you’ll get the agent’s attention.

  15. 15 JulieP September 29, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Any agent will love to work with me, because I’m simply loveable. I can shower people with sweetness, but I sure don’t mind telling it like it is in the right time and place. And I’m marketable. I’m a mom who is writing for moms and kids.

    But I realize that agents really want to work with people who really want to work. And I get that. With both PR/Marketing and teaching backgrounds I have quite a bit of experience to work with the agent. I won’t take over her job, but I look forward to opportunities to contribute.

    Finally, because I’ve already been published and have an internet presence, I add to my marketability because I have semi-recognizable name and many, many press contacts.

  16. 16 KristyG September 29, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    I am looking forward to the day that I will need an agent. When the time comes I feel I do have some characteristics and skills that will come in handy. Having owned my own business, a retail store, I learned the value of self promotion. While I tried not to be a walking advertisement, I still took advantage of opportunities that arose to tell others about my business. I think my organizational skills would serve me well also. My present “job” and a few of the past ones have given me the skills to meet deadlines under pressure. I really enjoyed this question because suddenly I feel more confident!

  17. 17 marnini September 29, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    I am a confident writer who takes constructive criticism very well. I am willing to work hard in order to see my dreams become reality. I would like to think that I don’t try to copy anyone else’s style because I have my own.
    I write because I love to and I think that shows throughout my writing. My energy comes through and that is a plus for an agent who is looking for a fresh voice.
    I am an easy-going, free-spirited type of gal, writing is my music and hopefully one day someone will believe in enough to want to sing it.:)

  18. 18 Stephanie Craig September 29, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    I am a great schmoozer. I love meeting new people. I think I could get my book off to a really great start with book signings and meet and greets with readers. Then, they would feel loyal to me and buy my second and third books. I also am very good at public speaking to groups of any size. I could speak anywhere I need to because I love to do it. Finally, I follow directions well, so we could have a great relationship.

  19. 19 Katrina September 29, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Good question. Let’s see. I meet my deadlines. I write pretty clean copy. I can take constructive criticism and incorporate the required/requested changes. I respond to communication within a reasonable timeframe. I act like a professional (but I also expect to be treated as one), and treat people with respect. I’m ready to work hard, nay, I expect to work hard: writing, revising, promoting. I am easy to work with. Wow! KristyG is right. This question made me feel more confident, too!

  20. 20 Jennifer September 29, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    I’m in the “way out of my league” category for this question. Ditto Cara who said she’d have no idea what to do with an agent right now.

    Umm…this is a toughie…am I at the 50 word minimum yet?

    I don’t have PR or marketing experience but I have worked successfully with a wide variety of people. I am personable and able to get along with almost anyone. I think I’m able to find common ground. This counts for a lot, I think, since I’m at the very, very beginnings of building a network. This would be the infant of platform-building, right? I guess I’d have to say “stay tuned”.

  1. 1 Day Twenty-nine drawing: And the winner is… « The Writer Mama Riffs Trackback on September 30, 2008 at 4:19 pm
  2. 2 WMBTSG: Thanks to our week four sponsors! « The Writer Mama Riffs Trackback on October 7, 2008 at 12:05 am
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