Today, we’re continuing Scoti Domeij’s post on How to Find an Agent. Scoti is a freelance writer,  workshop teacher, and leads writing critique groups as well as a successful writing group in Colorado Springs. She recently wrote her first book and acquired her first agent. Here’s her next points of advice for how to go about finding an agent for yourself:

7.      Read Publishers Weekly (PW). Available at the library, Publishers Weekly prints a weekly list of “Hot Deals.” Read this list to know which agent in your genre is selling manuscripts to which publishers. PW makes readers aware of new agencies and agents. It also announces which editors left publishers to start their own literary agency. By the time these agents’ listings are in the above listed books, their client lists will be full.

8.      Check out The Association of Authors Representatives (AAR). AAR, a not-for-profit membership organization, is active in all areas of the publishing, theater, motion picture and television industries and related fields. It lists literary agents, their blogs, websites and if their members accept queries via email or snail mail. The AAR’s equivalent in the UK is The Association of Author’s Agents. . If you write screenplays, obtain a list of approved agencies from the Writers Guild of America.

9.      Ask a published author for a referral. One writer pitched his book to a well-known author. Excited by the topic, the author recommended the beginning writer to his agent. Alas, the writer was truly a beginner. The agent passed, but provided great feedback on his writing.

10.      Make a list of agents to contact. After researching agents that represent your genre, charge no reading fees, accept queries, and want new clients, decide who to contact first. Before sending your query, head over to Preditors and Editors. Scroll halfway down the page and read “Some General Rules for Spotting a Scam Literary Agency.”

11.      Read Rachelle Gardner’s blog. Rachelle’s blog consistently makes the Writers Digest’s 101 Best Websites for Writer’s. She offers writers the inside scoop from an agent’s perspective on writing and publishing. Check out her articles and links.

12.      And how did I obtain my agent? I participated in a critique group for seven years. I wrote a book proposal that took months and months to write, critique, edit, and polish. Then I polished a query email and shot them off to two agents that I wanted to represent me. One asked to see the proposal. Three days after signing the contract, the other agent emailed and asked for my proposal based upon my query email to his info@literaryagent email.

It may take months or years to find an agent. In the meantime, hone your writing skills. Build up your writing credits. And never, ever give up.

I’d like to introduce you to Scoti Domeij.  Scoti has worked for several publishers over her career in various facets of editing. She is now a freelance writer,  workshop teacher, and leads writing critique groups as well as a successful writing group in Colorado Springs. She recently wrote her first book and acquired her first agent.

I asked Scoti to walk us through the process of researching and finding an agent when you don’t know where to start. The following is the first part of her advice for locating an agent.

I recall the first agent I knew. As the editor of Harvest House Publishers, I wondered, Why would an author give up 15% of their advance and royalties to an agent? Seemed crazy. Who would have guessed that agent was a man ahead of the times?

Fast forward to 2011. These days most authors need an agent to help their manuscript land on an editor’s desk at a publishing house. So how do you get an agent?

If you’re not a superstar, celebutante, Jesus, or famous for being famous, first you’ll need to hone your writing skills, write a quality book-length manuscript, join a critique group, edit, edit, edit, and then craft an irresistible query letter. And that may take years. Since you only have a minute or two to catch an agent’s interest, make sure your topic, writing voice and skills, book, book proposal, and query is up to par to send to an agent.

And the Next Steps?

1.      Research agents by genre. Don’t waste your time or the agent’s by contacting someone who does not specialize in your genre.

2.      Subscribe to the Guide for Literary Agent’s blog. This blog’s tagline says it all—where and how to find the right agents to represent your work. This blog lists agents looking for new clients.

3.      New may be for you. Look for an agent that’s new and needs clients. Or check out agents looking for new clients or that accept unsolicited queries.

4.      Attend a writing conference with top-quality agents. Make an appointment to professionally pitch yourself and your book. Better yet, attend a writing conference known for attracting beginning writers. If you’ve honed your craft, you’ll stand above the crowd.

5.      Read book forewords in your writing genre. Read the acknowledgments page. Authors thank their agents by name. Google the agent’s name and go to their website. Read their query submission guidelines, and then follow their directions to the T.

6. Head to the library. Read 2011 Guide To Literary Agents or Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents 2011, 21E: Who They Are! What They Want! How to Win Them Over. or Literary Market Place 2010: The Directory of the American Book Publishing Industry with Industry Yellow Pages.

Scoti has another 6 points to share, so please stop back next week to learn more about how to find an agent.