Writing Wednesday: Newbie Pitfalls: Not Researching Agents/Publishers

Congrats on the finished MS!

Now, slow down.

It’s tempting to throw your work at every available opening. I know. You want to see it in the stores as fast as you can. Like everything else with writing, there is still a right and wrong way to go about the search.

When you start looking for an agent or approaching publishers, you need to do a little research. You want to find the right agent and the right publisher. Don’t necessarily grab the first one that answers, either.

This part of the process is probably the most exhausting and emotionally draining for the author, and I’ve witnessed more than one give up entirely. It’s HARD. Give yourself every chance to succeed that you can.

I’ll use some painfully obvious examples about how not checking on what a publisher or an agent is looking for, just to illustrate the point.

Don’t send Erotica to a Christian Romance publisher.

Don’t send your Sci-Fi story to a Slice of Life agent.

Beyond just matching genres, most agents will state what they’re looking for. Is your story one that looks to be what they’re wanting? Send in your query!

For a publisher, make sure you’ve met every miniscule qualification on the list of things they want in an MS. Font, spacing, format, media, all of it. If you send in a printed MS that meets all the requirements, but that publisher wants electronic formats, you won’t get accepted.

You also want to be sure, if you’re getting an agent, that you find someone reputable. Who are their other clients? Were they happy with the agent? Do they feel their work was handled with respect and with the author’s interests in mind?

So do your research. Think of it as the training an athlete puts in before a big event. It’ll make you more likely to succeed and it’ll also save you some tears.

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