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An Agent’s Advice to Young Editors

I’ve been preaching a lot this year about stepping outside of the box, confronting your fear, and facing challenge head-on. This blog post is along those lines, but for editors.

Back in another lifetime, I too was a young editor. I was the bottom rung on the ladder when it came to submissions from agents and I knew if I wanted to build my own list I needed to hustle. So hustle I did. I went through my Rolodex and called as many agents as I could. When someone called to talk to my boss, I made sure to take time to connect with the agent as well. What a perfect opportunity, she was already on the phone. ***

I made lunch dates, contacts, and I let everyone and anyone know that I was acquiring and what I was looking for. I gave agents general answers like romance and mystery, but I also made sure to give specific interests like domestic suspense featuring mothers or suspense featuring strong women in unique jobs or with unique backgrounds. I would (tell them now) that I want to find a book set in a polygamist community or a book with a character forced to return home and face demons from the past. By giving specific interests I put myself on the radar when that one special book comes in.

Every once in a while an editor will reach out to me (one just did which is what inspired this post), but I’m constantly surprised by how rarely that happens. I’m an old agent, with a great list, but I love fresh blood. There’s nothing I’d love for my authors more than a smart, young, ambitious editor who is looking to make a star. So next time you hesitate to contact a new agent, stop hesitating. We want to hear from you and the fact that you reach out to us puts you at an advantage. If you’re ambitious enough to reach out to me first, you’re ambitious enough to take on my clients.

***Keep in mind this was all before editors (and many agents) had computers, email, or Publishers Marketplace. Life is so much easier for you young grasshopper. All you need to do is pay attention to Publishers Marketplace deals and send an email.

Category: Blog


One comment

  1. It never occurred to me that editors would reach out to agents. I always assumed it was a one-way street… author -> agent -> editor. Perhaps young editors think the same way?

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