I am helping a young author who self- published her first YA book. Now she would like to get an agent for her second book. She has no idea how to go about this...any ideas?
And it's not me..I just reviewed her first book(This Was My House First) on my blog at http://www.jssherr.blogspot.com Thankyou!
Get the 2012 Writers market book. Go through the list of agents and highlight ones accepting new authors that are accept Manuscripts in her genre. They have all the info as to whom to contact, their e-mail or mailing address (I would call up the agency in advance and verify all info as to the contact persons name, how they accept submissions; via email or snail mail etc. Verify the spelling of their name, everything) They appreciate this more and it helps you get throughout he slush pile. Most agencies will accept a query letter with a pitch for your book. Query letters are a tough subject for me, if I had mastered them then perhaps I wouldn't have self-published. Here is a link I found useful that you might like to check out on query letters. You basically make your way through the agents in the book and cross them off as you go. I highlight the ones with all the criteria I need first yellow i.e. they accept sic-fi, they accept new authors, they accept email queries, then i highlight the ones with most of the criteria in pink, that way if I get nothing from the yellow highlighted ones then I have the pink ones to go through. The process usually goes like this; you query, you wait apx 6 weeks for a response, if nothing happens you move on, if something does happen it will probably be a request for the first so many chapter or so many words, then if they like that they might request the entire manuscript. IF they request the entire manuscript you may be waiting for a few months to hear back from them. But if they like the manuscript, then from there they will want to sign and at that point the most important thing you need to worry about is making sure you don't sign all your rights away. I write a blog on the Do's and Do Not's of Self-Publishing if you want to check it out. I also research topics on how to get an agent, and certain hints you might need to know about publication. www.propheticusthebook.blogspot.com.
I recommend for copyright issues, that you keep a log of who you have sent queries to, with the date and note how it was sent; e-mail, snail mail. This is also a good way to track waiting time. If an agency doesn’t respond to you in 6 weeks, I would move on to the next one. Don't send out a bunch of queries at once. You have a better chance of selling your book to an agency if you have researched them, know who directly represents your genre in that agency and get their details correctly. Research the agencies to see what types of books they have published and mention that in your query letter, then they know you have done your homework. Hope this helps.
Try looking at www.writer.net. Go to agents and then topic. They list agents specifically handling young adult books. You (your young writer) can query multiple agents as long as you indicate in the query letter that you are doing so. It's very important to check out each agent to see what they are interested in. Each agent will have specific requirements listed indicating what you are supposed to submit to them. Keep in mind that agents are swamped. They usually list a response time. If you don't hear from them, assume they are probably not interested. (Do not pay for an agent. I repeat. Do not pay for an agent. If anyone offers to read a manuscript for a fee, run the other way as fast as you can. There are a lot of predators out there.)
All that being said, the chances of a young author getting an agent are slim, so she should be prepared for that. I didn't get an agent until I had a dozen short-story credits and a finished book. I now have a book available through a major publisher and my agent turned down a YA book I sent her last year. So, even having an agent doesn't guarantee a sale to a major publisher.
Good luck to the author. If she's serious about writing she will have to get used to rejection and be willing to keep writing no matter what. She should also be willing to improve her craft by participating in writing workshops and learning the skill set to be a professional writer.
It's easy to search for agents with google but publishing through agents is almost becoming a thing of the past. Good luck!
"We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly": http://amzn.to/dMBLWW
Saying that "publishing through agents is almost becoming a thing of the past" is, I think, equivalent to saying that traditional publishing is becoming a thing of the past.
And we may well be headed that way. I wouldn't argue against it. But in my judgment, we're not there yet. Traditional publishing is still with us, and it still offers certain advantages to writers. You get an advance, distribution, professional editing, professional cover art and packaging, and if you're lucky, maybe even a little promotion. (Self-publishing, of course, offers other advantages of its own.)
I've done some self-publishing and found it fun and interesting. And maybe, with time, work, and luck, it will grow into a real career. But I already HAVE built a career in traditional publishing. I make a living with the work I do for traditional publshers. Not a princely one, but still.
All of which is my longwinded way of saying that if a writer wants to get an agent and explore the traditional route, I think he or she could go for it. It may take longer--maybe a whole lot longer--for the writer's work to show up on Amazon, but it might ultimately be worth it.
Great reply... its always good to hear other opinions on both traditional publishing and Self Publishing. I myself will be looking in the future to Traditional Publishing and knowing that we are not all supposed to go the Self publishing route is a relief. I have self published one book and I have to say it does take a lot of work to promote you own book, time that unfortunately, I do not have right now. Knowing we have both options in publishing is nice though :).
My agent got me a six figure advance, so I'd say at this point having an agent is an advantage.
I actually got an agent without any previous writing credits, but it took me years and I submitted quite a few books before one of them caught an agent's eye (two agents, actually.) Having a book already self-published won't help unless it garnered many (authentic) reviews and sold thousands of copies, just for an fyi. Emma and Susan already gave the advice I'd give, so I won't bother reiterating what they've mentioned so succinctly. Just tell her to not give up, even if she receives hundreds of rejections, which may happen...it's happened to many a traditionally published author. Have her keep writing and revising while she waits for responses to her query letter. And she needs to write an amazing query letter. Have her research that if she hasn't already.
Meet and greet events at your local chapter are great for meeting agents you can pitch your work to. Also, subscribe to the Agent Blog posts such as Literary Rambles, Agent Tracker> I've got more listed on my blog: www.darlenebeckjacobson.wordpress.com. When you get there, click on the link for Kathy Temean...her site is a wealth of information regarding agents and all things for Children's Authors.
Here are some articles for you to show her! Everyone already offered good advice, but I'm into thoroughly researching things from every angle, so I will share all of these.
* there's a ton here, all worth reading.
* former agent turned author, offers great advice
* an agent, she has a great set of articles. She reps Christian fiction only, however, she has a great query letter article and a few others.
I've had three agents in 24 years, and they all worked their tails off for me. When querying, don't limit yourself to one genre. If you have a mash-up, include that genre also. For example (no exaggeration) I sent out 450 individualized agent queries over a period of four months. There were hundreds that accepted thrillers (my base genre), but I also included those that took action/adventure and military espionage, because those elements played heavily in the storyline. In the end, I had four solid representation offers. Of course, I signed with the best A-lister in the pack.
http://www.agentquery.com/ will list the agents by genre. From there you find the agency websites. http://absolutewrite.com/forums (Water Cooler) will usually have something to say about an agent or agency. http://pred-ed.com/ (predators and editors) has information on crooks.
She should write something that's similar to novels that have done well. That's the first thing agents look for, because that's the first thing editors look for. Such books are safer from their point of view. The Hollywood style summing up (Cinderella meets Hannibal) is alive and well in book publishing. Not a bad idea to point out the similarity to RECENT successful novels in the query (if such similarities exist).
Expect to be rejected many times. I doubt if it's a good idea to mention the self-published novel at all when communicating with agents.