how did you succeed? best way to snag an agent?
I'd like to think that I've written strong query letters but I don't even receive negative responses. I've always had a love for writing and the older I get the farther my dreams slip away. I desperately want to begin my writing career and would appreciate any and all advice.
Got your college degree yet?
Disclaimer. I haven't snagged an agent (although I haven't half tried to). But these are really two separate questions. To succeed (and then maybe do the agent bit), I suggest you get firmly grounded in writing fundamentals by taking a few classes, reading a lot, and writing a lot. So, first, be a good writer. Then, the weakest part of nearly everyone's query letters is the lack of experience and/or credentials/writing credits to be writing what they are proposing. So, if you have some unusual/interesting aspect of your life, take advantage of that in what you write about. And enter a lot of contests, starting at the local level and working to more prestigious ones--ones you can mention in your query letters. Write, write, write and share, share, share it--and take advantage of any critique you get on what you write. Have some qualifying experience for writing what you are proposing--and point to it in your query letters. This is one of those gotta-have-credentials-to-get-crendential gotchas, but you need to look for all of the angles in getting credentials and other qualifying credits that will develop trust in your writing with whoever you query, agent or publisher. Network with those who can help you--both in writing well and in getting it published. They aren't all agents, and agents aren't playing in a lot of the "success" publishing playgrounds anyway.
And having a college degree or not isn't really all that relevant to your questions.
Not sure what a college degree has to do with it...but I snagged my agent the old-fashioned way: I wrote a damn good query letter.
Post one of your query letters in the Query Letter forum. You'll for sure get unbiased critiques.
Also, what have you written—novel, short stories, nonfiction? And how have you tried to get published—queries, submissions to pubs?
Last edited by jayce; 03-01-2012 at 11:36 AM.
Does this mean you get NO responses at all? It would be a bummer to be totally ignored.
Originally Posted by niko5298
Yeah, as jayce suggests, post one of them.
Post just the text of the letter. Not your name, address or any specific agent information.
p.s. You don't need a college degree to get an agent.
p.p.s. You don't even need a college degree to be an agent.
While not required, I think a college education is of immense help in a writing career. It's a good foundation. While it's not carved in stone, it's usually a safe bet that a person with a college education writes substantially better than a person without a college education. It's all the more true if the degree is in English or some kind of composition.
Originally Posted by leslee
The more you educate yourself, the more chance of success. The less you educate yourself, the less chance of success. It true of virtually any career, but especially a career in writing.
I'm not saying you can't succeed in writing without education, but it usually makes it more difficult. A poor writer will have more difficulty getting an agent, if at all.
Anyway Niko, if you study the lives of most writers, they didn't just "begin their writing careers". Typically, they did a lot of other things, sometimes for many years, while writing on the side, or they went to school specifically to become writers. Usually, it takes several years for a person to gain enough credibility to earn a living as a writer.
All I'm saying is that if you don't have an education or any real kind of training in writing, get that first, THEN worry about an agent.
Of course, if you have your education/training, and you've written what you feel is a good book that you've edited into a sparkling diamond with the help and advice of many people, then I think it's just a matter of dogged persistence and tenacity really. And you keep writing while you persist. I often hear people say stuff like "I sent out TWENTY letters and got zero response!" To which I respond, "What happened when you sent out the twenty-first?"
Last edited by John Oberon; 03-01-2012 at 12:46 PM.