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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Expert Interview on Literary Agents

During the course of wasting the vast majority of a year researching how to find and query literary agents, I've done a lot of reading. I've read countless books and articles and blogs on the subject.

Second to almost none, my favorite have been blog posts by authors (that I've only heard of in blog posts) who talk about how to "choose an agent" or how to "hire an agent." Invariably, these include telling little tidbits in them, like, "...my first agent, who was recommended by an author friend of mine...blah, blah, blah, etc, etc, etc."

I thought it would be useful to my own readers to reach out to one of these experts and conduct a more thorough interview.
Me: That was an awesome blog post you wrote about how to "choose a literary agent."

Expert: Thank you. I know, right?

Me: For my readers, please share with us how you got your start.

Expert: Well, I wrote this awesome manuscript. It was totally awesome, too, because I have a masters in English Literature and I know exactly where to put my commas.
Me: That's very important to know. My readers would love to know how you got your first agent?

Expert: Well, I had finished my awesome manuscript, and I was talking to my neighbor about it...

Me: Your neighbor?

Expert: Yeah. He's a New York Times best selling author, and he said that I should totally go to this big pitch conference that was coming up in New York. He said that his agent would be there too, so I should totally go and show him my manuscript and he would let him know that I was coming.

Me: So, what happened next?
Expert: I totally took my manuscript to the pitch conference in New York City.

Me: How was your experience there, at the conference?
Expert: It was terrific! It was the best experience of my life! I paid $3,450.00 to attend the conference, plus another $3,800.00 for the hotel, which was no big deal because my hubby and I live next door to a NYT bestselling author, so cash really isn't a problem.

Me: Well, that's good. You're very fortunate that you could afford that. Not everyone can.
Expert: Yeah, well, that's what separates the people who really want it from the ones who aren't that serious about it. Anyhoo, I got to listen to B-list authors talk for a whole week, and then I got to present my work to someone from an actual literary agency!

Me: Wow. That sounds great. How did that go?
Expert: Well, the agent and I spent a whole bunch of time going over my manuscript and he said that it was totally awesome and deserved to be published! We just had to make some changes to it first. So, we spent the entire weekend going over the manuscript and making it perfect!

Me: So, what sort of things did he want you to change?
Expert: He said the commas were all perfect. We just had to have everything else rewritten, and we added zombies to it and packaged it as a Young Adult novel. We sold it that following Monday!

Me: That sounds great. So, what made you decide to choose another agent?

Expert: Well, I was talking to some of my other NYT bestselling author neighbors, and they totally said that I shouldn't be paying so much for postage. So, I started shopping around by having them call their agents for me, and then I finally settled on one who didn't charge for postage at all! I totally thought I should blog about it so, you know, others could benefit from all of my knowledge and experience.

Me: We are certainly glad that you did. You're posts have been extremely beneficial, especially the parts about making sure to have NYT bestselling authors live next door.

Expert: No probs. It's my way, you know, of giving something back.

Me: Thank you.

Expert: Don't mention it.

Thanks for Reading!

Note: If you're reading this blog in Europe, please drop me an email at buzzdmalone@gmail.com I would love to know how you heard about it! Thank you!



  1. Hey Buzz, I saw you on Google + and popped over.
    Rick ~ I'm you're latest follower.

  2. Awesome, Rick! Thank you for stopping by. This is a pretty new endeavor, so I am quite appreciative of new 'followers' (especially since nobody seems to know how to 'unfollow' someone), so that's really nice. I am thinking that when I have enough 'followers' that I will reward them all by inviting them to come with me to a newly formed utopian society I am planning outside a small village in Guyana! I hope that you enjoy your time here. Do keep in touch!

    Thanks for reading!

  3. Thank you Cairn! You must have read a couple of these articles too! I always read them and think WTF?!?! How to hire an agent? Are you friggin' kidding me? Thanks for reading Cairn!

  4. Guyana?!? I've heard wonderful things about the beverage selections there. The more you know...

    1. Now there's something you should be writing about, Eric. You could do a world tour where you get drunk in every country and if you ever sobered up enough, you could write a book about the beverage selections! Thanks for reading! Buzz

  5. A totally awesome post, Buzz. I mean AWESOME.

    Ps: If you ever get a literary agent can I come and live next door?

    1. Thank you, Jane! That last bit about Europe was in response to this bizarre week where I got several hundred hits from France.