Looking through the submissions inbox, I constantly see queries from authors that obviously do not read the website and more specifically, our agents’ interests. It seems that some authors blindly send their queries to several agencies, completely ignoring their guidelines and interests. However, it is worth learning the benefits of getting to know agents before you send your query, which could greatly increase your chances of becoming a client at your favorite agency (Holloway, of course).
Agents pay more attention to submissions that align with their interests and typically look at specific genres before others. Since their career is completely dependent on their love of reading, agents take great care to ensure their reading interests are up to date on their website. Agents also often post specific interests on social media, such as romances with a focus on craft beer. Not only is it more likely that an agent will make more of an effort to read your submission if it matches their interests, but it is also more likely that they will find a publishing deal for your manuscript. Agents who specialize in particular genres know exactly which publishing houses would be interested.
It is completely possible to find an agent that has a great resume and established career, but is just not compatible with your personality, which is equally as important. You will have to work closely with the agent you choose to represent your work through the editing process, rejections and contracts, and potential disagreements. Some people’s personalities clash and that is a fact of life, but it is important to have an inkling about the agent’s personality to prevent a messy situation.
The best way to find information about agents and their clients’ thoughts and feelings about their experience is to find and read as many reviews online as possible. There are many websites dedicated to agency reviews and authors can also find reviews and interviews with agents on Writer’s Digest. These reviews and interviews allow authors to get an understanding of how agents perform and interact with their clients. Writer’s Digest can also be a valid source to find their main genre interests.
Getting to know the agent you’re querying can be the difference between finding the ultimate cheerleader for your manuscript and a rejection letter. Although it seems like a simple task, agents will appreciate the effort. On the same page, a strong relationship with your agent can help boost your career in the long run.