My process for finding an agent looks like this:
Over the past few years I’ve bookmarked literary agents. I bookmark one whenever I hear of an agent who represents short story collections. I bookmark one after I read a great collection and then research the author’s representative. I bookmark one after I see a collection that won an award and then I discover that author’s representative.
These links are plopped into a ‘Literary Agents’ bookmark folder in my browser in no particular order. This month I’ve organized the agents, researched each of them, and made my A-D Lists. The A List will have the agents who are my first choice, and most are probably shots in the dark. I decided to query my B List first in order to work out my query letter kinks before hitting up my top choices!
By research, I mean I conducted a simple Google search to see if the agent is active and to learn their reputation. I also searched to see if they’re attending any conferences or book expos where there may be an opportunity to pitch them face-to-face.
Of course, I will need to send these agents a query, which means I need to write one. Stay tuned for a post all about query letter writing next month.
P.S. In an earlier post I had planned to run a beta reader program for my manuscript. A beta reader program is a collection of people who read your manuscript. They provide feedback on your work in exchange for something. (That ‘something’ might be money or you might offer to name a character after them). I decided it was too time-intensive a process to properly protect my work if I were to provide my full manuscript to readers who I don’t know. I may write about this type of program at a later point, but for now it’s not something I’m moving forward with.