Monday, June 14, 2010

Have You Done Your Homework?

First of all, let me congratulate the winner of the signed copy of Allison Winn Scotch's THE ONE THAT I WANT. And the winner is...

Jamie!!! Contact me with your full name and address and I'll let Allison know. Thanks to Random.org and everyone who commented for participating. Your comments were beyond amazing. Seriously, I had tears in my eyes - I greatly appreciate your inspiring words.

Also, there's a great interview and giveaway on my friend, Kimberly Franklin's blog. After you finish here, go check it out. ;-)

Now, on to my Monday post (not subliminal - sorry!!!)

HAVE YOU DONE YOUR HOMEWORK?
I was talking to a guy recently who claimed to be a non-fiction writer. He said he's on his 10th book in a series re: "coaching" in both sports and life.

"Cool!" I said. "Have you researched agents yet?"

"Yeah, about five years ago. I guess I'll need to take a look at that again."

"Um, yeah, I think you might need to."

"Otherwise, I'll just self-publish," he added. "I'm a tennis coach and I've got a pretty big network."

Oy vey.

This got me thinking about the amount of time, focus, and energy needed to find an agent and how that is one of the most important parts of the publishing process. We're so lucky these days to have the internet to help with this process. I've mentioned my favorite places to do agent research before, but I'm going to repeat it again here with links:

1) QueryTracker, http://www.querytracker.net/
Fabulous place where you can search via agent name or genre. There are also "Success Stories" that illustrate how writers and agents connected. Here's mine. Great new post up there: HOW TO GRAB AN AGENT'S ATTN IN A QUERY.

2) Agent Query, http://www.agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx
Love this site! Again, you can research names or genres. The site is user-friendly and gives lots of information on the types of books agents are looking for. ***FYI: I've been told by a reliable source (NYC agent) that this site is not often updated by the agents. Be sure to always check more than one source, especially agency websites.

3) Publisher's Marketplace (PM), http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/
If you're serious about being a published writer, you should definitely subscribe to PM. The monthly fee is around $20, and it's well worth it. Many book deals are reported here. There are great articles on the industry, as well as, much information on individual agents.

4) Twitter!
I know, I sound like a broken record, but as many of you know, I might not have an agent if it weren't for Twitter, and I more than likely wouldn't have the Awesome Agent that I do. Here's my story: Debbie gets an agent. //Follow me on Twitter!

5) Agent Websites
A no-brainer, right? Wrong. I can't believe how many times I see agents mention, "If only people would follow the guidelines on my website!!!" Please, friends, do yourself a favor. Check agent websites no matter what information you find about querying them on other sites! Agent websites trump all.

6) Google
Yes, Google. Why wouldn't you Google someone who you may end up in a LTR with? If nothing else, maybe you can see a picture of them - they say that paints a thousand words, right? (I wonder if I put 70 pictures in my book if that would count for a completed 70k ms? Hmm...)

7) Absolute Write Water Cooler, http://absolutewrite.com/forums/
Fabulous resource for writing tips, forums, Ask The Agent, reviews, etc.

8) Backspace Writer's Conference, http://www.backspacewritersconference.com/
I thought I'd throw in a great writer's conference website for good measure. I attended this conference last May ('09) and met fabulous agents and writers and learned so much. It was definitely part of what propelled me forward to signing with my agent. If it's too far away from where you live (it's in NYC), then make sure you get yourself signed up for a reputable writer's conference closer to home. You'll be amazed how useful they are.

These are my main suggestions. If you have further suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments. Also, if you have any specific questions for me, I'll be happy to answer them either in the comment section or via email at dlschubert@verizon.net, whichever you prefer.

DON'T GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS. BEST OF LUCK TO ALL!!!!!

33 comments:

Fragrant Liar said...

Yeah, agents are definitely a huge part of the get-your-book-published process. Setting your sights lower is a disservice to the time, energy, blood and guts, and sacrifice you put into it. So says me, anyway.

I'm deep into the writing process myself now. Will be researching agents for the finished novel over the next few weeks. Good resources you posted, so thanks!

Debra L. Schubert said...

FL, "Setting your sights lower is a disservice to the time, energy, blood and guts, and sacrifice you put into it." I couldn't agree more. Best of luck when you're ready for your agent search. ;-)

lbdiamond said...

Great post! Looks like I'm hitting most of the hot spots, now to polish the MS some more!!!!!! :D

I find it's hard to REALLY know when I'm ready...Yeah, I've been the "query too soon" gal. Spent the past six months away from querying and focusing on learning...done a lot of reading...

Janie Bill said...

It seems there are few agents in the publications, yet so many appear on the websites you listed. Thank you for the fabulous resource of information.

Debra L. Schubert said...

lb, I was the same way - queried way before I was ready. But, it's all a learning curve. Just keep writing and querying - when it's the "right" time, everything will fall into place. ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Janie, It hardly makes sense to bother with books that list agents anymore. There's so much info on line and it's so much easier now. Best of luck!

Beth Mann said...

Fantastic advice, Debra! I thought getting an agent was a no brainer for most, but apparently not! Thank you for those links, I'm not quite ready to query yet, but when I do this will be really helpful! :)

Robin said...

I am going to go back and read your links, but I wanted to comment before I forgot. I tagged you with a little something on my page. I know that it feels a little soon. But, I went with it anyway. I do love your blog!

Tawna Fenske said...

Terrific suggestions, thanks so much!

Good timing, too. A friend-of-a-friend just contacted me this morning wanting tips on how to proceed with a nonfiction book she's thinking of writing. I'm going to send her this link right now. Thanks!

Tawna

Debra L. Schubert said...

Beth, Glad I could help. When you get ready to query, let me know if you have any questions. I'll do what I can to point you in the right direction.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Robin, You are far too kind! Much appreciated. ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Tawna, Happy to help a friend-of-a-friend, my friend. ;-)

Kimberly Franklin said...

Thanks for all of the great agent/query info. I'm just thankful right now that I'm not at that point yet. It makes me nervous to think about it. :)

CKHB said...

If you don't have time to research agents, you certainly don't have time to market your own self-published book! (Unless maybe you have such a packed speaking schedule that you can simply make money by adding a book table to your existing events.)

Lisa Gail Green said...

Oy Vey indeed. I suppose it is still possible to do this without one, but I for one feel like throwing my arms in the air and doing a happy dance when I think about my own wonderful agent. Good resources!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Kim, Don't be nervous! You'll do great when you're ready, and you'll have lots of people cheering you on.

Debra L. Schubert said...

CKHB, Yup, true story!!!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Lisa, I agree re: throwing arms in air & doing happy dance b/c of Awesome Agent. I honestly wish every great writer I know has/or will have that same experience!

Kimberly Franklin said...

You really are too sweet! I'm a big scaredy cat, so I'll need lots of cheers. :)

Kelly said...

Thanks for the tips! I'm changing my chapter book to an mg right now so hopefully I'll be ready to submit to agents in a few months!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Kelly, Best of luck - can't wait to hear how it goes. ;-)

Jemi Fraser said...

I hope to be querying in the fall, so I've got my summer all planned out: agent research, query writing, synopsis writing... :)

Ruthanne Reid said...

Love the post! And yes, all of these resources are bookmarked and very well-visited. :D Keep sharing this terrific info - thank you!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Jemi, Good for you for having such a good plan. Best of luck!!!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Ruthanne, My pleasure. ;-))

janflora said...

Thanks for another great resource :) I have been researching and reviewing agents' blogs this year, and basically memorizing The WD Guide to Literary Agents, specifically b/c i do not want to query too early. I think I did that already with my solo submission attempts.
This year is all about revising and polishing, and learning the publishing process. I hope to be ready when I meet some agents at my first writing conference in the fall. I guess I am on a long-term plan, but it sounds like I may be on the right track. At least, that thought will keep me motivated this week :)

Marjorie said...

Your Twitter link goes nowhere.

I am not a YA writer, but my cartoon blog has an homage to the genre. Hope you laugh.

June said...

Everything you said was so helpful. I'm a huge fan of the Backspace Writers conference. I highly recommend it. I went to the May 2010 session and the feedback was so encouraging.

It is an awesome opportunity for an aspiring writer to learn their strengths and weaknesses. Awesome post from an awesome lady. Thanks!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Jan, Sounds like you're doing everything right. Can't wait to hear more about your literary journey.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Marjorie, Thanks for the heads up on the Twitter link. I fixed it now. Will check out your cartoons...!

Debra L. Schubert said...

June, So glad you enjoyed Backspace this year, and thanks for being part of my writing world. ;-)

prashant said...

Just keep writing and querying - when it's the "right" time, everything will fall into place
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