Also, you're all invited to the launch party on Twitter on Friday evening! Yes, one of those Crabbit party event thangs where you either need to kick your shoes off and join in, or batten down the hatches and steer well clear. But I have a game for you so please come... More details here on Friday morning - PUBLICATION DAY!
How to research publishers and agents
It’s easy to find out which publishers publish the sort of book you are pitching: go to a bookshop or library, find books similar in some way to yours and see who published them. You can also usefully get either the current Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook or the Writer’s Handbook and go through looking for publishers and then investigating what they publish, most easily by looking on their websites. Their websites sometimes also tell you what they are about to publish or have just published. You would not want to send a non-fiction book about caring for someone with dementia to a publisher who has just done a book on exactly that; but you would want to make sure that the publisher does handle books of that sort.
It’s only a tiny bit harder to research agents. Most agents have websites, which will list their clients and even say what sort of books each agent within the agency is looking for. You can also look at the acknowledgements or dedication inside books similar to yours, or that you aspire to emulate, because authors often thank their agents. You can then find their addresses in one of the two guides I just mentioned. Some agents don’t have websites, especially if they work alone and gain enough clients via their reputation. In that case, you will only know who their clients are if you keep your ear to the ground, or ask them.
It’s all very well finding what they handle, but how do you know if they are any good? Ask. Ask their authors. A word of caution, though: do not expect the answer to be 100% objective or relevant to you. A relationship with an agent is sensitive and individual and some authors might either blame or credit their agents misguidedly. So, be prepared to make your own judgement and don’t only go by one person’s response. If the agent represents a decent number of quality authors, and if those authors have had some recent successes, that’s a pretty good objective sign.
Dear Agent will be available on Amazon on August 10th (and shortly afterwards elsewhere) for the STUPID price of 75p (the cheapest I could make it for you) for a few days only. And for that same time, so will Write a Great Synopsis. Please spread the word. I need your help, lovely people, which is why I've decided to make it so cheap for the first weekend. Help!