Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.

- Graycie Harmon

Monday, September 14, 2009

5 Signs a Literary Agent is a Good Match

I found this article on It seems pretty basic to me, but perhaps you might find it useful.

This guest column
by Rose Jensen
. She
welcomes your feedback at
Read her article on Essential Tips
and Tools for Writers of the Future

So you’ve got a great book and you want to get it published. You could try to simply market it, sell it and negotiate it on your own, but many new to the business simply don’t feel comfortable doing that on their own. That means that it’s time to find an agent but you don’t just want any agent, you want the right one. How can you know if a literary agent is really a good fit for you and the kind of work that you produce? Here are a five signs that things will work out between the two of you.

1. He or she commonly works with books like yours.
Finding someone who is actually interested in the kind of work that you’re producing is essential. If you’ve managed to get an agent that commonly works with material in your genre, then you’re on the right track. He or she will have more enthusiasm and know more about what it takes to get your work in the spotlight than someone who doesn’t really focus on the type of work that you do.

2. He or she pushes you.

The best agents shouldn’t just let you be lazy and do what you want. While there should be a balance of power, they should push you to work harder, get more done and actively market your work if you’re not already doing that on your own. There should be a great give and take between the two of you, allowing you to maximize your potential.

3. He or she is excited about your work.

Someone who is not really excited about the things that you’re creating isn’t likely to do too much to make sure that they ever see the light of day. In fact, they may languish on a desk somewhere for months. If your agent seems genuinely enthusiastic about finding a publisher and marketing your book, then you’ve found a keeper.

4. He or she is there when you need them.

If you’re new to the game, you likely have numerous questions about how the whole process works, what you need to do and the kind of deals you should be willing to make. Your agent should be there to help guide you through the process, though hand-holding can’t always be expected. Find an agent who isn’t always mysteriously “out of the office” when you call and you might have a long future of working together.

5. You actually get along.

It might seem pretty basic, but some people assume that because it is a business relationship that they don’t need to actually like their agent. While it isn’t a necessity, this person is someone who is going to be representing your work and who will be tied to it for years to come—it’s much better to have that be someone you actually like and want around rather than someone you merely tolerate.

You can link to the article here.


whqttt said...

And who is Rose Jensen?

Looks to me like she does freelance work in a suite101 kinda way.

I can't see anything she's actually published, you know, in a book.

Feel free to correct me, and I'll apologise, but it looks like some random jottings from someone who doesn't actually have an agent...

S. M. Carrière said...

Perhaps you ought to email her and find out?

whqttt said...

Not my job; I'm not the one reposting her articles as some sort of insight into the world of writers.

It's my job as a reader to question writing; it's your job as a writer to ensure I don't do so.

S. M. Carrière said...

I never promised the clarity of insight. I just thought perhaps that some people might find the article useful and interesting.

Since I did not write the article, I simply supplied it, you may want to ask the author of the article.

Again, I found the article on