OK, so now that my monster manuscript has been trimmed down to a more marketable 403 pages, every chapter edited to the best of my grammatical ability, and the synopsis polished ‘til it shines, it’s time to send my baby out into the world. First step, the great agent hunt.
Typically when I’m querying agents, I keep track of who I’ve submitted to, their contact info, when I submitted and with what (e-query, snail mail query, partial, full), what their response was, etc. in an Excel spreadsheet. Well, while updating my list of potential agents I stumbled across a site anyone on the agent hunt might be interested in. It’s called LitMatch.net.
Disclaimer: this is not an endorsement, I just thought it was a cool site for writers
LitMatch is a free, on-line database of literary agents. You can select the criteria you want to sort by--if they’re an AAR member or not, if they’re currently accepting queries, if they’re based in New York or somewhere else, what genres they represent, if they have a blog--you name it. Or you can just browse through the listings of all 800 agencies and 1722 agents. See an agent you like? Click on their name and it gives you the genres they represent, submission guidelines, professional history, email and mailing address. In addition to that, you also get the number of the offers, requests, and rejections made by that agent (this part can only be so accurate because I’m sure not every member of LitMatch enters their submission info or keeps it up-to-date, but it gives you a basic idea). Some agents have rejected everything that came their way from LitMatch members while others have made requests. Haven’t run across any that made actual offers, but I’m sure there are a few. It also lists their response times and how they responded. You can also click on a tab that lists some of their clients while another tab contains comments from LitMatch users on their interactions with the agent.
Another neat thing about the site is if you register (it’s free) you can log in your manuscript (title only) and keep track of who you’ve submitted to, when, how, and what their response is/was (this is where the above mentioned data of requests/rejections and response times comes from).
I think this site is pretty cool but it isn’t the end-all, be-all of agent hunting. As any good author knows, you need to do your research. While each agent/agency page has a notation of the last time it was updated (and noted if the agent herself reviewed and updated the info), it’s not 100% reliable. I noticed one agent listed who I know is no longer in the business and another I have doubts about (she’s no longer listed on the agency’s website). Always double check the agent’s contact info and their submission guidelines on their agency website if they have one (and if they do, there will be a handy-dandy link from LitMatch to it).
So that’s it in a nutshell. Now that I’m armed with a list of some 40 prospective agents, I’m off on the great agent hunt once again.