You’ve finished your novel and now you’ve decided to start looking for a literary agent. Any author in the process of submitting their novel knows that finding that perfect agent can be tough. Although in the end rewarding, you will spend at least a few hours in front of your computer wondering if you should rethink this decision.
But what if you are the lucky ones to actually find an agent who has captured your attention? How do you know they are really right for not only you, but for your novel too?
DO YOUR RESEARCH
The best way to find out if an agent is right for you is to do your research. Look through their website, find out which genres they prefer to represent, and scour through their list of clients. Look up the clients, look up their novels, and research every detail so that you can be sure if your novel will fit in or not. Just because an agents says they represent a genre, if they have a heavier client list in a different genre, chances are you might not succeed as well. That doesn’t mean the agent is a bad agent, they just all have their own strengths and weaknesses.
If you have submitted to an agent and they have sent an offer for a contract, try to see if you can set up a time to talk to them on the phone or if you live in the same city, in person. Talking through email is a completely different ball game than talking on the phone and in person, and you might find that while you are fine in emails, your personalities really don’t match otherwise. No one wants to work with someone they don’t mesh well with.
DON’T BE AFRAID
If at any time before you sign the contract you feel that the agent isn’t right for you, or if you have a clause in your contract that allows either of you to change your minds, don’t be afraid to walk away. Make sure you do so in a professional manner, though. The writing world is small, and so is the literary agent world. You don’t want to end up as daily gossip around the water cooler.