No matter how good a story you’ve written, it will never see the light of day unless you catch an editor’s or agent’s attention. In order to do that, you’ve got to become good at the art of the Pitch and, honey, I don’t mean baseball.
Agents can be a wonderful thing, IF they are working for you and with you. I have negotiated deals with agents, without agents, and have fired agents who didn’t seem to be on the same page as I was. Overall, I believe having an agent makes things happen faster, but they are certainly no guarantee for success.
No one reads more prospective novel beginnings than literary agents. They’re the ones on the front lines — sifting through inboxes and slush piles. And they’re the ones who can tell us which Chapter 1 approaches are overused and cliche, as well as which techniques just plain don’t work. Below find a smattering of feedback from experienced literary agents on what they hate to see the first pages of a writer’s submission. Avoid these problems and tighten your submission.
10 That Sold and Why, 2nd Edition
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Every writer dreams of getting offers from multiple literary agents, right? Maybe. A reader asked about what a writer should do if they happen to get offers of representation from multiple agents. First of all, congratulations are in order. An offer of representation is professional validation to a writer who has, most likely, not really gotten such praise and confidence from an expert source.
When you sign a contract for your writing, your first concern might be what you’re getting paid. But then, as you study the legalese closer, you might start to wonder if there’s room to ask for more. Not that you’re a greedy person–it’s just that you’re beginning to realize the work you’ve put in and now you want terms that reflect that work.
DON’T BE NERVOUS – Chances are the person across the table is just as nervous as you are.
Think about what you want to say ahead of time.. (Jot down notes on index cards if you need to.)
Be ready to tell the type of manuscript (mainstream, historical, contemporary, young adult, etc.) and the approximate word length of the completed work.
A growing alphabetical list of new literary agents actively seeking writers, books, and queries.