Posted by: nancyisanders | September 21, 2012

Agents: When Should You Look for One?

It’s actually good experience to go through the process of landing a contract at least once by yourself to know what an agent is supposed to do. It also puts you one step ahead of the rest. At one point, agent Rachelle Gardner posted on her blog that she had over 200 submissions she was considering, most of which were by unpublished authors. You can bet that anyone with published credits stood out from the slush pile.

It’s to your advantage to earn publishing credits before you contact an agent. How? Search your market guide. Look for publishers who say 50% or more of their product list is with first time authors. They’ll be open to hearing from you.

Once you experience some publishing success and know how signing a contract works, you can certainly try to acquire an agent. There are numerous benefits to having one, such as representation, constructive feedback, and legal advice.

Meet with various agents—look for conferences that offer private appointments—or get to know them better by reading their blogs. Interact with them by posting comments on their blog and get to know their personality. You might find that you really connect with them…or don’t!

If you’re a beginning writer and you’re sending out simultaneous submissions to publishers for your manuscript, include several agents in your mailing list as well.

An agent won’t just want someone who can write, however. Agents are on the lookout for writers who also have a platform. They know that it’s one thing to get a book published. It’s another thing to get it to sell. While you’re looking for an agent, also start building up your platform. Teach writer’s workshops, build a blog, and schedule book signings for the books you’ve already had published. Make an agent want you as much as you want an agent.


  1. Oups… I am unable to sign books… they will not want me !!!!!!! :-((

    • Are you looking for an agent in the American market? Or where you live? These days, with so much online marketing via Twitter and Facebook and virtual tours, etc. it’s okay to market yourself online if you can’t travel to stores.

      • I would like an english speaking agent… I have severall picture books I wrote in english. Yes I need someone who covers engkish speaking countries !
        Yes youcan be published without an agent, but I feel I have been fooled, receiving 776 dollars for 28 000 books sold… I would like a good contract. Well I hope yours are better then mines !!! 🙂

      • Oh that’s too bad, Nicole. It sounds like you could really use an agent. And you have such a great number of wonderful picture books published already, too! I think it would be great for you to look for an English speaking agent. Just follow along here on my blog, in upcoming posts I’ll tell the steps I took to find an agent and you can follow them, too.

  2. I will… I hope I understand the hole process !
    Thanks ! ( in france my contracts are better but we don’t sell as much… too bad ! English can touch much more people !)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: