Have You Done Your Homework?

First of all, let me congratulate the winner of the signed copy of Allison Winn Scotch's THE ONE THAT I WANT. And the winner is...

Jamie!!! Contact me with your full name and address and I'll let Allison know. Thanks to Random.org and everyone who commented for participating. Your comments were beyond amazing. Seriously, I had tears in my eyes - I greatly appreciate your inspiring words.

Also, there's a great interview and giveaway on my friend, Kimberly Franklin's blog. After you finish here, go check it out. ;-)

Now, on to my Monday post (not subliminal - sorry!!!)

I was talking to a guy recently who claimed to be a non-fiction writer. He said he's on his 10th book in a series re: "coaching" in both sports and life.

"Cool!" I said. "Have you researched agents yet?"

"Yeah, about five years ago. I guess I'll need to take a look at that again."

"Um, yeah, I think you might need to."

"Otherwise, I'll just self-publish," he added. "I'm a tennis coach and I've got a pretty big network."

Oy vey.

This got me thinking about the amount of time, focus, and energy needed to find an agent and how that is one of the most important parts of the publishing process. We're so lucky these days to have the internet to help with this process. I've mentioned my favorite places to do agent research before, but I'm going to repeat it again here with links:

1) QueryTracker, http://www.querytracker.net/
Fabulous place where you can search via agent name or genre. There are also "Success Stories" that illustrate how writers and agents connected. Here's mine. Great new post up there: HOW TO GRAB AN AGENT'S ATTN IN A QUERY.

2) Agent Query, http://www.agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx
Love this site! Again, you can research names or genres. The site is user-friendly and gives lots of information on the types of books agents are looking for. ***FYI: I've been told by a reliable source (NYC agent) that this site is not often updated by the agents. Be sure to always check more than one source, especially agency websites.

3) Publisher's Marketplace (PM), http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/
If you're serious about being a published writer, you should definitely subscribe to PM. The monthly fee is around $20, and it's well worth it. Many book deals are reported here. There are great articles on the industry, as well as, much information on individual agents.

4) Twitter!
I know, I sound like a broken record, but as many of you know, I might not have an agent if it weren't for Twitter, and I more than likely wouldn't have the Awesome Agent that I do. Here's my story: Debbie gets an agent. //Follow me on Twitter!

5) Agent Websites
A no-brainer, right? Wrong. I can't believe how many times I see agents mention, "If only people would follow the guidelines on my website!!!" Please, friends, do yourself a favor. Check agent websites no matter what information you find about querying them on other sites! Agent websites trump all.

6) Google
Yes, Google. Why wouldn't you Google someone who you may end up in a LTR with? If nothing else, maybe you can see a picture of them - they say that paints a thousand words, right? (I wonder if I put 70 pictures in my book if that would count for a completed 70k ms? Hmm...)

7) Absolute Write Water Cooler, http://absolutewrite.com/forums/
Fabulous resource for writing tips, forums, Ask The Agent, reviews, etc.

8) Backspace Writer's Conference, http://www.backspacewritersconference.com/
I thought I'd throw in a great writer's conference website for good measure. I attended this conference last May ('09) and met fabulous agents and writers and learned so much. It was definitely part of what propelled me forward to signing with my agent. If it's too far away from where you live (it's in NYC), then make sure you get yourself signed up for a reputable writer's conference closer to home. You'll be amazed how useful they are.

These are my main suggestions. If you have further suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments. Also, if you have any specific questions for me, I'll be happy to answer them either in the comment section or via email at dlschubert@verizon.net, whichever you prefer.

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