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How do I go about finding the right agent for DH?

(16 Posts)
StStrattersOfMN Fri 23-Sep-16 12:00:56

DH has written a couple of books, 2 of a 5 series. I've read them, they are GOOD. Beautifully written, really evocative, dark, and almost poetic. They remind me a lot of Donna Tartt, and I think they have a chance of being publishable. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading them, he's got feedback from around 20 randomish (think the dentist, hygienist, people at work, etc - all intelligent, well read people) and they have all really enjoyed reading. They're the standard you'd study at A level +.

So how the hell do I find him an agent?

DarkBlueEyes Fri 23-Sep-16 12:04:35

I could have written the same post. Good luck. Let me know if you have success, my poor DH hasn't sad

ImperialBlether Fri 23-Sep-16 12:09:07

Why isn't he finding himself an agent? He will be the only person who'll deal with her, so he needs to find someone who'd be a good match for him.

He needs to know each agency, who they represent and what they like. He can't spend too much time researching; it's vital he sends it out to people who like that sort of book.

He should send a synopsis and the first three chapters (and otherwise obey instructions on their website) and write a personal letter to each saying why he's chosen them in particular.

But he really needs to do all this, not you!

Temporaryanonymity Fri 23-Sep-16 12:10:48

Can't he find himself one?

StStrattersOfMN Fri 23-Sep-16 12:14:04

He could find one himself, but I have far too much time on my hands, whilst he is down in Essex caring for his parents - DMIL has Alzheimer's, which has sadly progressed really quickly this year, and he is tied up looking after her as she needs watching like a hawk. Writing happens when she is asleep, and is his escape - he needs that time for his own mental health.

So I volunteered, I'd like to help him, he's been wonderful to me, and his parents, and it's a little thing I can do for him.

NewPotatoes Fri 23-Sep-16 12:14:33

He needs to find his own agent, tbh, unless there's some particular reason why he isn't able to that you don't mention. It's difficult to do, and I think most agents would be a bit weirded out, if not actually put off, if they got queries from someone who wasn't the author of the material, and it would risk looking as if DH was uninvested in his writing, or not interested in publishing and being pushed along by an overenthused family member!

Once the MS is a good as it can be, your DH needs to think about what genre he's working in (fantasy/crime/literary fiction/ YA etc etc etc), to identify agents who represent his kind of material (it can be helpful for him to think of authors he thinks his work resembles and look up who represents them), get on those agent websites, see if they're accepting unsolicited material currently, and obey the instructions on the website as to how those agents prefer to be contacted and with how much material (often the first three chapters and a synopsis, but not always.) He needs to write a good synopsis that makes the agent want to read the extract. Then you wait for requests for the full MS.

StStrattersOfMN Fri 23-Sep-16 12:16:46

Obviously, he will do the contacting, I just want to draw up a shortlist of agents to contact. Sorry, I should have been clearer.

lemonymelanie Fri 23-Sep-16 12:17:15

Have you tried Accent Press? They accept submissions. Good luck :-)

NewPotatoes Fri 23-Sep-16 12:18:10

Sorry, cross-posted with you. Clearly he has his hands full - and what he's doing sounds very hard - but finding an agent for your fiction isn't a 'little thing' at all, and agents will overwhelmingly want to be dealing with the author of material that interests them, rather than a proxy - so I definitely wouldn't be the one sending out query emails on his behalf. Where you could do some of the gruntwork is identifying possible agents to send queries to, or, of course, being a strict, honest, eagle-eyed reader of the MS before it's sent anywhere.

IrenetheQuaint Fri 23-Sep-16 12:32:02

Has anyone from a writing/publishing background actually read his books? If not I'd prioritise this before finding an agent. There are good writing communities online who could recommend an editorial consultant or beta read it themselves.

CocktailQueen Fri 23-Sep-16 12:45:35

Get hold of a copy of the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook and look in there for a list of suitable agents to contact. He will need to think about genre and audience first.

There's also info there about writing a good synopsis and a good covering letter - see also here: literaryconsultancy.co.uk/media/press-publicity/how-to-write-a-synopsis/

Agree with Irene that he should probably send it to a fiction editor - look in the SfEP Directory of Editorial Services for a fiction ed: www.sfep.org.uk/directory/

Agree with NewPotatoes that beta readers are great, but they often won't be able to give suitable, appropriate and helpful feedback to enable your dh to improve his writing and move on.

oklumberjack Fri 23-Sep-16 12:57:46

I agree with Cocktail queen. I've been involved in children's publishing for 22 yrs. My advice is always The Writers and Artists Yearbook. It's updated yearly and has great advice.

My agent has a (very knowledgable) assistant who's job it is to read the 'slush pile'. If there's anything from that pile she considers very good, she passes it on to my agent. Sending it to the right place in the first is vital. Also, a good covering letter is crucial. Her Assistant tells me often how rude and arrogant people can be. She told me one time she's passed on a story and the author kept ringing and emailing being very impatient and rude. My agent ended up binning it.

MissBattleaxe Fri 23-Sep-16 13:06:35

Agree with all the wise people upthread.

He must find his genre first, then get the Writers and Artists Yearbook ( try Amazon) and then target the right agents.

Many accept email submissions, but as others have said, they will have to come from him.

I also second Imperial's advice about getting someone who is in or near the industry to look at it. What sells isn't always good and what's good doesn't always sell. Someone in the industry would know more.

You can help him by proofreading it to bits for grammar, spelling and punctuation. Even the best writers can't see the wood for the trees when they are very familiar with their own manuscript. You can also narrow down a shortlist of agents for him to target from the Yearbook, and then the rest is up to him.

StStrattersOfMN Fri 23-Sep-16 15:51:04

Gosh, thank you so much for all the advice. Off to start work on it, thank you.

pinocchiosnose Tue 27-Sep-16 08:40:48

Yes I agree with the Writers and Artists yearbook and I also used the agent hunter website. I paid £5 for a months subscription. Mine are picture books but you can put in whatever genre you want and the agents who represent that genre come up. Good luck to you both !

wordassociationfootball Tue 27-Sep-16 09:16:37

Agent hunter database is good, I agree.

The letter he writes is crucial and will need lots of crafting to beguile and tick Boxes Of Importance.

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