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I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends: Some Experts Give Advice on Submitting to Agents

Buried in the Slushpile

Since I submitted to an agent last week, I decided to ask some of my wonderful Austin author friends for a little friendly advice. Here’s some of the gems they shared with me:

“Sometime during the copy edits of my debut novel Evidence of Things Not Seen, I realized that every question in the margin was not telling me to change something or suggesting that I had done something wrong. Au contraire. Every question was asking me to take more authority in my manuscript and to make sure that my vision for it was as clear as it could possibly be. When you are searching for an agent, you are looking for someone to see the promise in your manuscript and in you as a writer. Every query letter you send out is asking that agent to join you in that vision you have for your manuscript. If the query doesn’t net a ms. request and if the manuscript doesn’t get an offer of representation. Don’t take it personally. Send it to the next agent on your list. And always be willing to take another look at the manuscript and query letter to make sure that the vision you have for yourself and your manuscript is on the page.”

— Lindsey Lane, author of Evidence of Things Not Seen

To learn more about Lindsey and her book, visit her at her website, Facebook or on Twitter.


“My advice is: Don’t tell an agent who expresses interest that you didn’t think you were ready to be represented! That’s what I told Erin Murphy the first time we talked. We were both taken aback!”

— Cynthia Levinson, author of We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March, 2013 IRA Young Adult Nonfiction Award

To learn more about Cynthia or her books, visit her on her website. To learn more about We’ve Got a Job, visit its website.

“Do your research, be professional, and settle in for the long haul. It can be an arduous process, but it’s worth it in the end!”

— Cory Putman Oakes, author of Dinosaur Boy

To learn more about Cory and her books, visit her website, her Facebook or her Twitter.

Keeping all this wonderful advice in mind, I’m back to researching agents and sending out queries. To keep it organized, I use a spreadsheet to keep track of the agent’s information and what I’ve sent. To get a blank version of the spreadsheet I use to query agents, click here.

Happy submitting!

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