Friday, 3 August 2012

DEAR AGENT - Extract 2

The second free extract from Dear Agent, to whet your appetite for publication on August 10th. But first, a wonderful piece of feedback from a very important personage who has consistently supported my advice for writers. He's Merric Davidson, former high-powered and highly respected agent and now publisher and editor of The New Writer Magazine. He said:
Worth reading for the author’s “Twenty Tips To Get You Started” alone – but that’s just for starters. These nuggets should be plastered to the wall in front of everyone who’s reached the “lets try it out on an agent” stage. But don’t stop there, for if you do you will miss the wisdom of one who knows.
This is a tightly written, easy to follow, essential volume which cuts through all the nonsense and mystique about what you should/should not do when approaching agencies. In fact, this book explains that, hey, agents are really just people, not godheads!

And always remember Morgan’s Hierarchy of Obedience which "puts the agent at least a three-inch heel above you, until you’ve got a six-book deal, at which point you get to wield the heels." So true.
Merric Davidson, Publisher, The New Writer magazine
I know, you've never heard of Morgan's Hierarchy, have you? Well, read the extract that follows:

Second free extract from Dear Agent

A few reassuring points
Agents are actually looking for great books to publish. They do not wake up in the morning, rub their hands and think, “Ooh, hope I’m going to reject lots of writers today.” Therefore, if your writing is good enough and the idea strong enough, they won’t reject you just because you infringed one or two minor rules. It’s not a driving test.

Most of the rules of submissions aren’t exactly rules: they are guidelines and their purpose is to make the process easier, more transparent, more likely to allow your great book to shine. They are there for the benefit of both the agent and you. Well, mostly the agent, to be honest, but Morgan’s Hierarchy of Obedience puts the agent at least a three-inch heel above you, until you’ve got a six-book deal, at which point you get to wield the heels. (Don’t bother Googling Morgan’s Hierarchy of Obedience. I just made it up.)

Most agents are pretty clear about their preferences and set them out in guidelines on a website. It is not generally difficult to follow them. If their guidelines don’t seem to fit your material or are for any reason lacking, use a) the advice you’ll read here and b) your common sense.

The agent is most likely to be a reasonable and decent (but busy) person. Not an ogre. (I’m talking statistical probability, here, not certainty.) And she knows that you are nervous and keen to impress. She actually quite likes that. It’s that Hierarchy of Obedience again.

The best thing you can do to make success likely is to make life as easy as possible for the agent. If you genuinely try to do that, she will forgive you for not being psychic or for not realising that she is different from every other agent and actually does want confetti in the envelope.

Although perfection is what we aim for, it’s not attainable. Nor is it, frankly, necessary. Many writers do manage to get deals despite writing letters which accidentally break the rules. If your idea is just what the agent is looking for and you don’t manage to express it quite perfectly, the agent is not going to say, “Oh, bother – it’s a brilliant idea and I’d love to read the sample but that covering letter has a sentence that’s a bit sucky and I wish the guy hadn’t mentioned seeing me in Asda, so, I’ll pass.” Just do the best you can and don’t fret if it’s not prize-winning standard.


Dear Agent will be available on Amazon on August 10th (and shortly afterwards elsewhere) for the STUPID price of 50p(ish) for THREE DAYS ONLY. Tell the world! Well, writers, anyway... 

More extracts in the lead up to August 10th. And make sure you've added a Pick Me comment on Wednesday's post and my Facebook page for chances to win a free copy. 

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