By S. J. Brown
I am always up for exploring new territory. I eagerly wander wooded areas, fields and streams in search of wild critters to photograph. I’m not picky any wild critter will do, big or small it doesn’t matter.
Recently I embarked on a totally new type of adventure. Authors and photographers are always looking for just the right home for our work. It might be a magazine, an on line journal, a blog or as part of an anthology, or maybe a publisher.
About 2 years ago my sister and I began work on a memoir. We carefully crafted our memories into a work we are both proud of and now it needs a home. Finding it a proper home requires someone who knows the publishing industry better and we do, an agent.
Finding an agent can be a full time job. Our search began on the internet on the Agent Query website. There I found a wealth of information on hundreds and hundreds of agents. This first phase of the search yielded 961 names.
By eliminating any agents not currently taking submissions, anyone that doesn’t specifically mention they accept memoirs, and anyone not with an agency, the list was reduced to 200 names.
This was an adventure like I had never experienced before. My sister and I chatted, discussed and then went a step further. It was time to go back to the internet and look up our candidates on websites like Absolutewrite and WritersCafé. We wanted to see what other authors had to say about these agents. Then it was time to look a little closer at each agent and the agencies they worked for. The Predators and Editors website helped out here. While we are eliminating potential candidates we took any agents not in the USA off our list.
This brought they list down to 70 agents that worked for 48 agencies. It was time to check out the agencies they worked for, and each agents track history and what they could do for us. That took our list to just 21 agents.
The next step was to see what these agents wanted us to submit. They each have their own criteria and we need to send them just what they want. Once we had sifted through what we needed to send to whom we took a deep breath and did one last read through of the manuscript.
Just last week our first submission headed for Massachusetts over the internet. This week another submission will go out via snail mail. This time 25 printed pages will be mailed to New York City. The plan is to send out one submission a week for the next several weeks while we wait. It can take weeks or even months to hear back from an agent. The patients I have developed in the field will really come in handy now.
Betty and I will be patiently waiting
So have you had any new adventures this summer? Are you forcing yourself to be patient while you wait for something?
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