Dream Agent

Thank you all for your input on conferences the past couple of days! I've learned quite a bit and now I don't feel so intimidated by the thought of going to a conference.

You've probably all realized my top reason for going to a conference is because I need an agent.

I know several of you blogging friends do not necessarily need agents because you write category romances. From what I understand (please correct me if I'm wrong) most category romance publishers still accept unsolicited, unagented queries. Even so, I think eventually most published authors look for an agent, whether category writer or not.

As you know, most writing conferences allow participants the opportunity to schedule meetings with agents and editors. Here's what ACFW says about these appointments: The opportunity to have personal, fifteen minute appointments with editors and agents is a valuable highlight of the conference. These provide a great way to learn first-hand about the writing industry, to pitch your manuscript or work-in-progress, and to brainstorm ideas, get encouragement, and benefit from industry professionals.

So, one last writing conference question for the week: If you went to a conference and could pick any agent to meet with, who would it be and why?

My first choice would be Rachelle Gardner of Word Serve Literary because I really like her personality, her blog, and her faith. My second choice is Wendy Lawton of Books & Such Literary Agency. I've read her blog and interviews and she also demonstrates strong faith, a sweet personality, and hard-working spirit.

Your turn. Who's your dream agent and why?


  1. I spoke to someone I met last week who said Rachelle has been very nice with her query to her so maybe that is who I would like to try soemday!

  2. Hi Terri,
    Rachelle has been very nice to me also. She has one of my MS's and has been very kind and encouraging. Just REALLY busy and hence very slow in responding!!

  3. Oh, wow. I have a long list. LOL! Only because I keep changing my mind of what kind of "big" book I want to write. :)
    If I write YA--then I want Rachel Vater, Kristin Nelson, or Nathan Bransford
    If I write chick-lit or Christian chick-lit, I want Steve Laube, Holly Root, or Stephany Evans.

  4. I know it's a long shot...but I'm quite the fan of Nathan Bransford. In a world where rejection is inevitable, he seems like he would be able to keep things in a positive light. Plus he cracks me up. I need humor to survive each day!

    I also like Rachelle, but I'm not sure if she would like my novel...

  5. We're pretty close Jody. Even though I'm writing category I still want an agent, esp. if I go ST. Rachelle is at top, then I also like Rachel Z. at Books N Such. Steve Laube is great but I'm not sure if he'd rep my kind of writing.
    Good post. Rachelle has been very kind in my correspondence with her so I think that she's a great person to work with. Plus, she has incredible contacts.
    Are you going to ACFW? I'm seriously considering it.

  6. Hi Jennifer,
    So did you sell your recent romance without an agent? Maybe with your sell, you'll have an easier time getting your dream agent! Wouldn't that be awesome?

  7. Hi Marybeth,
    Nathan Bransford does sound really cool! He has a great sense of humor which is really needed in today's rejection-oriented market! I hope someday your dream comes true!

  8. Hi Jessica,
    I like Steve Laube. He was one who took the time to personally reject me! So he's in the tops too because anyone who takes the time to give a personal rejection is great in my book!

    So, if we both decide to go to ACFW maybe we should consider splitting a room or something?! Yikes! Or at the very least getting a table together to share a meal!

  9. Wow, I feel waaaay out of place here today. I must google all the agents mentioned and do some homework. I haven't really got any particular agent in mind, honestly!

    One thing I'd really like to note, though, is that conferences are the one place where non-agented writers can instigate a sale to a publishing house that only accepts proposals through agents. So don't refuse an editor appointment of a house your targeting just because they say they need agent represented authors only online. At conferences they will request proposals from non-agented writers. That's your way in through the cover letter.

    Once a sale is in the works, it's a slight bit easier to get agent representation then. Terri Burns talked about this in his on-line course going on now. So if ACFW offers one agent and one editor appointment each. Sign up for both!! Don't miss the opportunity it offers.

  10. I would love to have Rachelle as an agent. She was the very first person I submitted a query to when I started writing Christian fiction, but it wasn't meant to be at that time. I think it's so important to find an agent that you can respect and one you've researched. It will clear up more questions right away so you can get to the good stuff--your writing!

  11. Hi Eileen,
    What a wonderful position for you to be in that you don't need to worry about agent representation! Perhaps after your first couple of sales, you'll start to look for an agent and then you'll have an easier time because you're already published!

    Thanks for the advice about signing up to meet with editors. I suppose it is the one way (if not only way) an unagented writer can make that difficult connection with editors. So we're wise to take advantage of them.

  12. Hi Cindy,
    I suppose that's why Rachelle has such a large following! So many people like her and respect her! Besides, her blog makes her seem accessible. She's done a great job of trying to be responsive and sensitive to writers. She'd be a great agent! But I'm sure since she's so popular, it would be very hard to get her!

  13. I've only recently gathered info on agents (and continue to do so). One thing I've noticed is that it seems to be a very small world. The same names pop up over and over. Here it's Nathan Bransford and Rachelle Gardner. With some of my friends who write quirky single title (non-Christian) you hear a different set of three or four names.

    Since the agent world is small, I'll be extra careful to present myself in a professional manner even if the agent and I don't click. That agent might talk to another agent who would be perfect for me, and I want to leave a great impression.

    Also, agents and editors are swamped with work. They're expected to do high levels of promotion (hello blogging, Facebook, and Twitter) as well as answer hundreds of queries, stay on top of their current clients' projects, and finalize contracts and such. This industry can be extremely slow.

    Happy writing!

  14. I ditto the kudo's of Rachelle. She has one of my queries at the moment and replied with a "I want to give this more consideration so give me a few weeks." So I'm being patient and not thinking about it... some of the time... *grin* Seriously, I AM being patient, but I do think about it. *grin*

    My ideal agent... wow that's hard. I still do have some researching to do, but obviously Rachelle is towards or at the top of the list, otherwise I wouldn't have queried her. I'm particular about it, because I want someone who is going to be a right fit for me, not just "a" fit. God knows the PERFECT agent for Krista Jean Phillips, and the perfect timing, and I'm just trying to be obediant at the moment. *sigh*

    I also ditto your kudos for Steve Laube. He sent me a "personal" rejection and was sweet to reject me nicely at a conference as well. I love nice people!

    I think, for ME, an agent needs to be two things.

    1.) A friend. I couldn't work that closely, about something that important, and not get along with the person. If I don't *like* the agent too much, or if I annoy them, then there would just be too much tension to create a positive business relationship.

    2.) A champion. In two ways, an agent that's a friend but doesn't have much success selling MS isn't much of an agent. Also, I want them to champion MY book. To me your agent should be one of your biggest fans, should believe in your book and really like to read it. I wouldn't want an agent to take me on just because they think they could sell me, but personally they can't stand reading my books. (i.e., the whole debate about agents who don't take things like sci-fi... for me, if an agetn doesn't like to read romance, then please, don't represent me!)

    Okay, I've gone on FOREVER. I need to get back to work:-)

  15. I don't know if I have any one specific dream agent in mind, really all I want is someone who is passionate about my story and can sell it!

  16. Hi Jill,
    You bring up a great point about being professional with all agents. We're in the process of building a career and so we definitely need to keep our options and networks open.

    I wish the business were easier for all of us! I certainly wish agents weren't so swamped. But I guess that will make it all the sweeter for us when we finally make it!

  17. Hi Krista,
    I think that's why it would be so nice to meet some of these agents in person at conferences. It's so hard to tell what they're like from blogs and from pictures! I feel like I've gotten to know a couple through their blogs, but what if we meet in person and we don't click?

    But, at this point, I kind of feel like I'm a beggar. And as the saying goes: beggars can't be choosey! So, if any of the Christian agents decided to give me a shot, I think I'd likely go with it. I'm pretty easy going and so I think I could probably try to make any relationship work.

    Nevertheless, I'll still dream and pray that God will open the door for the exact, right agent for me!

  18. Hi Kate,
    I'm sure you'll eventually find that person who is passsionate and can sell it! We just have to keep persevering, right?

  19. I think Rachelle would be an AWESOME agent. I first found her blog when she was just starting out and I love her personality,too.

    I honestly don't know who my dream agent is at this point - I haven't even looked at agents for a year or more since I've been writing the latest novel. I'm trying to focus all my attention on it (hard to do!) instead of getting ahead of myself. I made that mistake last time.

  20. Hi Melissa,
    I think you're right. We can't get ahead of ourselves with agent-finding. If agents reject our work because our craft is still weak, then we might burn the bridge for submitting to them when we're finally ready. I think we need to make sure our MS is polished and then find an agent!

  21. Hey, Jody, I'm coming over early as I probably won't be online tomorrow with heading out for the women's retreat weekend, but I wanted to post my writing results for the week. I just made it past my 5000 words goal this afternoon for the week. I feel so relieved, no I can go in peace to the Christian women's retreat knowing I got my words in first!!

    I'm so appreciating this accountability, Jody. It's keeping me on track. Thanks!

    Oh, Bless is my verification word. Hope very appropriate, I have certainly been blessed this week!

  22. Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog :)

    You make such a good point about knowing when the work is finally finished -- it's tough. I just sent four queries out, got a request for fulls but the first rejected saying it needed work and now I'm fretting about the others. Maybe I did send it out too early. Ugh! I liked your comment on my blog about having it critiqued, too. I have a great critique group but they know me too well and are too nice....I'm signing up for a couple of beta readers. I think I need someone objective and a *painfully* honest.

    Ok, I'm rambling..sorry...

    Good thoughts! Good discussion going on over here!

  23. Eileen,
    Great job!! I was planning to ask you in tomorrow's post. Now I'll just make sure I let everyone know that you met your goals so we can all cheer with you!! God did bless you with extra stamina to get it done early!

    I hope you have a wonderful weekend at your retreat and are rejuvenated in the Lord! I'll see you back on Monday!

  24. Hi Tess,
    Sometimes rejections can be so subjective. It's hard to know from just one whether you need more work. One of my rejections said that I needed more authentic voice, and another agent said she really liked my MS. So. . .

    We often do rush things. It's hard to wait until we're really ready! But sometimes it's hard to know if we're ready until we start getting that feedback. Beta readers sound like a great option!

    And I hope you get some positive results on your MS! That would be really exciting!

  25. Can't I just round up several and take 'em to dinner? :)


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