July 5, 2022
by Samantha Hoffman
Of course that's not true - getting an agent is not easy and it's not fun, not by any stretch of the imagination. Wouldn't it be nice, though, if there were a magic formula?
Google how to get an agent and you'll find thousands of articles that will give you five easy steps, or eight simple steps, or ten or twelve. You can read every single one of those and you will never find that formula.
There are certain inalienable truths about the process of looking for an agent:
It's time-consuming. You must do your homework: Find the names of agents who represent your genre (through Google, writing magazines and directories, the acknowledgements page of your favorite novels...). Then research their requirements because they all want something different, and if you don't follow their exact guidelines it's reason for them to disqualify you out of hand.
It's immensely frustrating. Once you've sent out your queries you wait. And wait. Then maybe you'll get a form letter rejection. Once in a while you'll get a personal rejection. Even more rare, you'll get encouragement. Most often you'll get nothing. No, there's nothing fun about it.
Rejection is inevitable, be prepared. No one likes it but you're a writer, it comes with the territory. Expect it. Wear it like a badge of honor. No, scrap that honor part - just deal with it.
If you take shortcuts with your book, i.e. if you haven't worked really hard on it, if you haven't revised it a few (many) times, if you haven't had it professionally edited...you can count on not getting an agent.
The process is like playing the lottery or searching for your soulmate. It's entirely possible you'll get lucky. And just like the lottery, if you don't play you can't win.
There's nothing new here or in the few articles I've chosen to share, but there may be something that resonates and gives you hope and motivates you to keep at it.
Be tenacious. Believe in yourself and your work.
Writer, editor, artist, personal assistant, private chef, runner (8-time marathoner), film and theatre buff, traveler… Author of What More Could You Wish For (St. Martin’s Press).
V.P. of the Chicago Writers Association, Executive Director of Let’s Just Write! An Uncommon Writers Conference.
Visit me at www.samanthahoffman.com
Read my latest short story, Only One Syllable, published by Hypertext Magazine.
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