Survey Results: "How Did You Find Your Agent?" "What Resources Did You Find Useful In Researching Agents?"
In my recent survey, I asked those of you working with agents to answer a few questions about how you got your agent. First off, thank you SO MUCH to those who took the time to respond in order to help others in the community. These include: Hayley Chewins, Julie Glover, Kellie DuBay Gillis, Michael Wayne, Anne Marie Pace, Kristin Gray, Denise Gallagher, Corey Schwartz, Beth Ferry, Julie Dao, Stephanie Diaz, Russ Cox, Sarah Albee, Stephanie Fletcher-Stephens, Ashlyn Anstee, Melissa Caruso, Julie Falatko, Bruce Hale, Mike Jung, Heidi Schulz, Amy Lozier, Josh Funk, Jim Averbeck, Edward Willett, Kelley McMorris, Annie Cardi, Carter Higgins, Susan VanHecke, Jennifer Gray Olson, Andria W. Rosenbaum and Juana Martinez-Neal. Others responded anonymously.
74 people responded and almost all were children's/YA book writers or illustrators. Most got their agent through an email query.
While researching agents and given the choices in my survey, respondents said the most useful resources of the ones I listed were Twitter, Publisher's Marketplace, AgentQuery.com, SCBWI conferences and Literary Rambles, followed by Writer's Digest resources like the annual Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Guide and Chuck Sambuchino's Guide To Literary Agents. This survey was mainly conducted through Twitter, so it's not surprising that Twitter came out on top.
Do scroll down to read some of the info-packed comments about other useful resources like QueryTracker, agency blogs and websites, AbsoluteWrite forums, SCBWI BlueBoard forums. Comments also include info about people got their agents, such as getting noticed during the 12x12 Picture Book Challenge, Preditors & Editors, #PitMad on Twitter (Pitch Madness - learn the rules before participating!) and #MSWL on Twitter (Manuscript Wish List - learn the rules before participating!).
Here's a further summary and breakdown of the results as of today (August 14, 2015).
As you can tell from the above, most of the respondents' represented work focuses on children's/YA writing. About 25% had agents representing their children's book illustration work.
Approx. 70% of respondents said they were working with their first agent. The others had worked with other agents before.
Here are some of additional comments about useful resources while researching agents:
"Online searches about what agents said and represented, conversations with authors already in the publishing business." - Julie Glover
"The SCBWI blueboard! Also, agent's blogs and agency websites." - Kellie DuBay Gillis
"Author friends - individual agent google searches which often bring up a variety of insightful blog interviews - agency websites." - Michael Wayne
"Probably most helpful was just googling agents to find interviews and other information, especially agency websites. Facebook was helpful mostly because of a private Facebook group of PitchWars '14 mentees that I belong to--networking with other writers is a big help. I also used QueryTracker. The AbsoluteWrite forums are usesful too."
"When I signed with my agent in early 2007, Facebook was just catching on and I don't think anyone had Twitter yet--okay, I checked Wikipedia--it was very small at that time! The Children's Writers and Illustrators Market was only in hardcover, not online! Much has changed, very quickly!" - Anne Marie Pace
"Recommendations from other agented writers, and recommendations from my former agent."
"12 x 12 picture book challenge submission."
"Also Querytracker." - Kristin Gray
"Pitch Madness on Twitter!" - Denise Gallagher
"I also learned about a lot of agents and agencies through other writers and through contests. (This is mostly where Twitter comes in... as a vehicle for word of mouth.) I used Publisher's Marketplace and AgentQuery more as a secondary reference to look up more info on agents, rather than a place to find them in the first place." - Melissa Caruso
"Querytracker.com, pred-ed.com." - Russ Cox
"General online research, agent interviews, etc."
"One of her clients gave me a referral." - Corey Schwartz
"Google. And, of course, the official agency websites are huge sources of information."
"Blog post loutreleaven showing a list of literary agents."
Additional comments about how they met their agent:
"We had never met face to face, but she contracted me after seeing my work in the Portfolio Showcase. Then we met (face to face) a few weeks later. A month or so after that, I signed with her agency. We have seen each other a few times since I signed, but mainly we communicate via email (and occasionally phone)."
"We met through the #PitMad Twitter pitch contest where she requested my work!" - Julie Dao
"I heard her speak at an SCBWI Editor's Day. The following year, I had her critique one of my manuscripts for SCBWI Agent's Day, and was signed soon after." - Stephanie Fletcher-Stephens
"Online via Verla Kay's Blueboards and my blog. Joan contacted me to request pages." - Mike Jung
"It was a case of right match, right time. I liked what he said in his talk, took advantage of his offer to submit stories, and found that he really liked one of my pieces -- enough to represent me." - @storyguy1
"I was referred by another agent."
"I queried her by email before an SCBWI event that I was volunteering at and she was speaking at." - Jennifer Gray Olson
"Personal reference from one of her existing clients." - Josh Funk
"Answered request from Manuscript Wish List (#MSWL)."
"They noticed me because I won the SCBWI Student Illustrator Scholarship." - Kelley McMorris
"Through my MFA program (VCFA)- she was a fellow student at the time." - Amy
"I met my agent through a #PitMad twitter pitch event."
"I had planned to query her based on research I'd done, but she invited me to submit my query letter, synopsis, and first 3 chapters from a Twitter pitch."
Again, THANK YOU SO MUCH for those who took the time to respond!
If you have comments or suggestions, including your own experience with researching and finding an agent, I encourage you to post below.
If you haven't already, feel free to also check out my list of agents on Twitter who represent kidlit/YA as well as my FAQ post about finding an agent (and how I found mine).
Curious about my other publishing industry surveys? Feel free to browse current and past Inkygirl Surveys online.