Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: How do you decide which publishers to query with a particular piece?
Wendy Thomas: I give a lot of credibility to agents who are recommended to me by others – it also doesn’t hurt to have a personal introduction to an agent by someone who is already being represented by her. Usually that’s enough to set up a dialog.
If I don’t have that, I pour through the yearly Guide to Literary Agents and I pay attention to the articles in writers’ magazines that will often highlight an agent who is looking for work.
If I am trying to match myself up with an unknown agent (sort of like being on a dating site) I tend to look for those with the following characteristics:
- Women – they tend to be more receptive to my topics of parenting and life lessons (generally)
- Age – while not a deal breaker, I would much rather go with someone who has put a few miles on their tires (as it were.) Again, this is because with maturity comes the wisdom that I try to write about.
- Genre – memoir, parenting, chickens, humor – they have to have sold something in at least one of those areas
- Humor – oh God, if they don’t have a sense of humor, I can’t hit the Delete button fast enough.
- Technology – sorry, but if you need me to send you a hard copy then you’re not the right fit for me
Lastly, sometimes I just send out feelers. I’ve written to agents who posted something on twitter and have gotten responses from them. I’ve sent agents emails asking for information which eventually led to proposals.
Bottom line is keep your eyes and ears open.