Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 27, 2009

How to Conduct an Agent Search

jenny2Jenny Meyerhoff, author of Third Grade Baby

  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Pub. Date: September 2008
  • ISBN-13: 9780374374822
  • Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

    Jenny has a number of well done articles for authors on her site. 

    Here’s one of them.




    How to Conduct an Agent Search in 15 Easy Steps

    1. Write the best book you possibly can. (This includes revising it multiple times and showing it to trusted, knowledgeable readers.)

    2. Research agents and make a list of every agent who represents the type of book you write. Try to make the list at least 30 agents long.

    3. Divide the agents into three groups: dream agents, agents you’d like to work with and agents you’d like to work with. (Remember, since you don’t actually know any of these agents, you might be wrong.)

    4. Write a killer query letter.

    5. Send off your first batch of submissions, making sure to send to an equal number of agents on each list. (For example, 2 dream, 2 really like and 2 like…or three of each. Don’t send out more than 9 on your first round.) Follow the guidelines of each individual agent or agency.

    6. Track the submissions you send out.

    7. Start writing your next book! Do not just sit around obsessively waiting.

    8. When responses start to come back in, use them to gather information about your project. A preponderance of form rejections to submissions with only a query letter means you need to rework your query letter. If sample pages accompanied most of your submissions and you mainly got rejections, then take another look at your manuscript’s opening. If you received a good number of requests for more pages, either full or partial manuscripts, hurray! Send those babies out there.

    9. Once you’ve heard from most of the first round of submissions (whatever the answer) send out another round of submissions, after making any changes or tweaks necessary based on feedback from the first round.

    10. Track those submissions.

    Use this Link to read the last five steps.

    Use this link to read some of Jenny’s other articles.


    1. This is great advice – a really simple, logical plan and do-able.


      • Now all we have to do is start the process. I’ve been so busy that I can even think.



    2. Awesome agents article! Thanks, Kathy, for posting it. And for folks who know me, I’ve actually sent the letter to my #1 Dream Agent You-Know-Who! (No, not Voldemort. The other You-Know-Who.) Pray, chant, and fling fairy dust for me, guys–I need it! Thanks!


      • I do. I tried to invite him to the June conference, but he was going away with his girlfriend that weekend. Kathy


    3. I’m in the throes of doing this. I’ve sent out to 39 agents, some partials and some fulls requested. I’m chipping away, hoping 🙂 Good article. It’s nice to have a strategy.


      • Good for you. I’m still trying to find the time. Thanks for commenting.


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