guest post by author Jan Fields
First, of course, you need to find an agent you feel good about and learn what the agent wants. My favorite place for this is www.literaryrambles.com by Casey McCormick. If you look on the left-side column on Casey's site, you'll see agents grouped by what they represent. She's spotlighted many agents and looked at what each agent represents and how the agent wants to be contacted. It's really a treasure trove of help.
Now, after you've picked an agent. Try a Google search with just that agent's name. Sometimes you can pull up even more information to help you really know what the agent wants to see from you (and sometimes the agent even has a blog where she/he puts queries that really snagged his/her attention. These are really priceless examples because they show how to effectively pitch to that agent. If the specific agent you've chosen doesn't have that...poke around in Casey's list to find some who do. It's invaluable to check out examples.
Now, in the query/pitch itself, you can find wonderful, wonderful help on Nathan Bransford's site. Nathan isn't agenting anymore but he has spent a massive amount of time helping writers to do this stuff right.
Here's his query formula.
His good examples.
Even help with formating an email query.
Really, you'll find a ton of help on Nathan's site.
And agent Jennifer Laughran has a great bit about your author bio that goes in your query.
So, that's a good bit of reading but it should really get you going on your agent hunt. Good luck!
Jan's Brief Bio
"Since my first magazine publication in the 1980s, I have been steadily writing for money in some form. Today I have over twenty books in print and still more in the pipeline - books for children and adults. I've also written for magazines, educational publishers and even a toy company! Writing is the only thing I've ever done really well that didn't eventually become more like work than fun."
To read more go to Jan's site.
Jan is also the editor of the Children's Writers eNews. If you aren't getting it, you're missing out!
Thanks to Clarita on morguefile.com for the above image.