I wanted to write about something different today: literary agents. The holy grail of an aspiring author. A lot of people compare finally getting an agent to winning the lottery, while others say it’s skill and perseverance that gets you there. I agree with both. While hard work is what makes your writing good, getting an agent (and getting published) does rely on some degree of luck. So I’ve made a list of just how much luck you need to land that agent offer.
There are six numbers on the average lottery ticket, and there are six criteria for an agent that are pure luck:
- Subject matter. The agent has to personally like what you’re writing about. Whether vampires or the revolutionary war, this has to be a subject they’re passionate about.
- Voice. The agent has to be enthralled with the writing. Some like it flowery and others like it concise. It’s all subjective.
- Characters. The agent has to connect with the characters on a deep and personal level. Care for them the way you, the writer, does. This is kind of like dating, and we all know how hard dating is.
- You. The agent has to be on the same wavelength as you, the writer. Agents facilitate writing careers, not just sell a book. The two of you have to mesh in order to work together, and a clash of personalities will only get in the way of that. Also, if an agent asks for revisions you don’t want or has a different vision for your book, they may not be a good fit either.
- Current clients. Your work may be amazing, but if the agent already has a client with a very similar work, you’re out of luck.
- Current publishing trends. You may have written the perfect dystopian novel, but publishers just aren’t buying them anymore and an agent won’t waste time trying to sell it. Time to shelve it for another day and write a different book.
And there we go! Six lottery numbers that you have to draw before you hit the jackpot, and that’s after writing the perfect novel. So good luck to all you querying writers out there, may the odds be ever in your favor.
PS: For anyone just entering the querying world, check out queryletterbuilder.com – a 100% free querying resource to get you started.