Wednesday, August 12, 2009

On the similarities between trying to land an agent and trying to land a job.

Your query letter is like your resume. Both give you an opportunity to show off prior experience. Relevant education also helps, and a good reference can make all the difference. You should check both for spelling and grammar errors. Your should keep them as short as possible while showcasing what you have to offer. The idea is to get your foot in the door – get that interview or manuscript request.

Once you’re at that next stage, you need to make them want to work with you. You do this by professional behavior and by bringing your best. Sending in a manuscript that you know is flawed is like showing up in a wrinkled suit. Give everything one last check before putting it in their hands.

Here’s a quick list of things not to do if you manage to reach this stage. Don’t contact them before the time you’ve been told they’ll contact you unless it’s really important, as in an offer from someone else. Don’t resort to bribery. Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want them hearing. I’m sure that there’s an entire post worth of don’ts that could go here.

Now that you’ve landed an agent/job, the similarities continue. You two are partnering up to make money. You are not partnered to become BFF. Be punctual. Don’t whine. And unless you no longer both believe in the wonderfulness of the product you’re trying to sell, you stick with it even after the sparkly newness wears off.

One last quickie. Thanks to the internet, there are thousands of other people who are thinking the same way you are. Many of them are wackos, wasting the agent’s valuable time that could be spent loving you. Unfortunately, there’s not anything you can do about them ;)

Originally published on Old People Writing for Teens by GotYa contributor Holen Matthews. To view the original post and reader comments, please click here.

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