Continuing on in our Querypalooza, today leads us to the topic of deciding who to query. Now that you have a sparkly query letter and have waited a sufficient time, how on earth do you figure out what agents and editors to send the query to?
I think some people (cough, me, cough) get it in their head Dream Agents and forget that sometimes the awesome agents other authors have might not work as an Awesome Agent for you. So it's important to keep an open mind when querying. Still be smart about it and do your homework, but try not to limit yourself on who you query.
Some good places to start when making a list of agents you want to query are:
- Figuring out who represents books/authors you like. Often these people are mentioned in the acknowledgement section of the books. Or Querytracker.net has a nice feature called Who Reps Who that lists authors and their agents.
- Searching for agents by your genre. The easiest way to do this for me has been using AgentQuery.com and just browsing by agents that rep "young adult" books. Sometimes putting in multiple genres helps narrow down the search further to find agents that might be interested in "mystery" and "young adult" or what ever genre you might write. Another way to do this is by looking in books such as Writer's Market or Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents.
- Browsing agents on message boards. Depending on what you write, there's usually a message board for it. One of the most popular ones for Middle Grade and YA writers is Verla Kay's Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Board (or the blueboards and they are still most commonly called). The Agent Response board is members-only I believe now. But posting on these boards and becoming a member is so valuable it's worth it, and figuring out agents that might be a good fit is an extra-bonus.
Basically google them as much as possible.
And then submit!
Good luck, and don't forget that just like when trying to find a prince you might have to query a lot of frogs along the way to finding the right agent for you.
--Emily, Miss Querylicious