Miss Snark is pleased to know you too

Dear Miss Snark,
You mention that a person should never send a query to someone that they don't know. Since I don't know any agents or publishers, what's the next step? My book is complete, my synopsis is written and my query is ready for viewing. Please help.

You didn't get your invitation to the Meet the Agent Winter Frolic at Miss Snark's Ice Palace, wherein everyone meets Miss Snark and we all "gather 'round" reciting first chapters (simultaneously of course)?

ok, ok, I'm joking.

"Know" in this case means you see evidence of business activity beyond a glitzy web page or a solicitation from the agent to bypass the rigors of the slush pile.

"know about" is probably a better way to express that.

You can "know about" an agent by logging onto AgentQuery.com, by flinging yourself into the depths at AbsoluteWrite.com, poring over Preditors and Editors; by perusing Publishers Marketplace, by ogling Publishers Weekly (your library has a copy even if they don't have it on the periodicals display--you can ask for it); by reading blogs like the ones on my blog roll.

You can actually meet real live agents at writing conferences too, but you don't have to meet them to "know about" them.

The advice to not query agents you don't "know about" is to help you avoid agents who haven't sold anything and charge you money. It's business advice, not a social nicety.


Anonymous said...

I guess this means I shouldn't bring Miss Snark a marble cake.

Anonymous said...

Such literal interpretations speak not well for the author's grasp of metaphor.

Anonymous said...

The further you go in this biz (not that I've gone far) the more you realize you shouldn't throw the proverbial dart at the board to see which agent it punctures. Do a little research! The preditors & editors site is a fantastic resource. Pretty soon you start seeing the names pop up again and again and you'll get a good idea of who you shoul query and who you should sprint to the other side of the street to avoid.

In the author's defense I've heard for years that a writer has to "know" an agent before querying. Just as long as it's not in the carnal sense, then we're all okay.

Anonymous said...

Something else I did was check the Acknowledgements section of books that were in the same genre as mine. That's how I ended up finding my agent.

Pari said...

It's also nice to know if the agent represents what you write. That way you don't waste your time, the agent's, or murder too many trees.

I like to use word-of-mouth, to ask other writers whom I respect. That's what I did to find my current agent -- and I adore him.

Anonymous said...

I understand the author's concern--when I first started writing, I sent out my very first short story, but was convinced no one would really look at it or consider it, because no one knew me and I knew anyone. I would have taken the advice to only submit to those I know very literally back then, too--and would have been as worried as this author is.

Here's some reassurance: people are actually remarkably open to newcomers. Do your research, but know that you will be taken seriously, too, whether anyone knows you or not.

Anonymous said...

I "blind" queried over 20 agents in four months this autumn, got 8 requests for fulls, and happily have a fantastic agent as of Dec 15.

Good thing I didn't wait to "know" any of these agents. I used agentquery.com to gather info to "know about" them.

BTW, the 3 agents I had met and spoken to at conferences were in the group I never heard from. So much for networking. They've all had my materials since Sept 19.

Go figure!