Saturday, March 6, 2010

Finding an Agent Analogies

We've all heard the analogies going around about what it is like to try to find an agent:

Speed dating.
A ho looking for a pimp.
Winning the lottery.

Of those three, I just want to declare that finding an agent is NOTHING like winning a lottery. To win a lottery, you absently pull a dollar out of your pocket while picking up a candy bar and 44oz Mt Dew, then vaguely remember later to check your numbers and discover you are a millionaire. Published does NOT = rich, and there's a whole lot more work involved than spending a dollar.

I think that the most accurate analogy to finding an agent is: Fishing. Only there's a lake the size of Erie, you are in a dinghy with one pole, there's only 1000 fish in the lake, and 25,000 other fishers.

Your query is your bait. Agents even tell you PUT YOUR HOOK IN YOUR QUERY. To tempt the elusive agent fish, your bait must be better than the other hook-impaled queries out there. Don't cover your query with color. The agent fish is wise to this flashy tactic. Your bait must be tempting, yes, but also MORE tempting than fishermanBob. The agent fish gets full easily and will only eat the attached manuscripts that truly hold its interest. Sometimes it eats the query, but spits out the hook and this is discouraging. Sometimes it swallows the query, the hook, part of the manuscript, and then still gets away.

Don't get discouraged! There are other fish in the Erie, yes? And like other fish there, you do not eat the agent fish. It's more like a trophy fish. You hang it on the wall, stuffed, and tell your friends at cocktail parties about the one that almost got away.

Does anyone else have an agent search analogy to share?

27 comments:

David said...

I always thought there was something fishy about this query stuff? Looking for an agent is like trying to sell a vacuum cleaner to a vacuum cleaner salesman who comes to your door. I've honed my query in two workshops already, and may try a couple more. An agent is in some ways a professional querier of editors, extremely tough customers. I aim to make my query so good its almost as good as the worst query an agent might write on a bad day!

Terry Towery said...

Why am I suddenly hungry for fried catfish?

Seriously, good post and so true. I can't wait to dip my hook in the water.

Tara said...

Best. Analogy. Ever.

Piedmont Writer said...

Fabulous Fabulous Fabulous. And you can't find an agent because....the fish are all stupidheads and wouldn't know a good query if it bit them on the

Shelley Sly said...

Aahh I love this! Excellent analogy!

Wendy (aka quillfeather). said...

Trying to sell ice to the Eskimos springs to mind.

Good post.

Nick said...

Pfft. Who goes fishing with a rod? I say break Pennsylvania law and go dynamite fishing!

Alleged Author said...

I agree with Nick! Though it's all fun and games until someone loses an arm...

Mia said...

Oh, I'm not sure there's a better analogy than the one you painted Christi :~)

...but I guess I could have a whack at it...I live in the middle of nowhere, so do forgive the shamelessly rural edge to this.

To me, finding an agent seems to be like taking a long walk in the rain because it was sunny when you left the house and you want to finally find that trail you happened across once but didn't have time to explore. If you're clued in, you'll set out completely organised. The path kind of demands it...And so you wander, painfully aware that as you search you've got about a hundred other people doing exactly the same thing in this tiny yet dense forest.

Additionally, the trail is constantly moving and it only sometimes responds to simple commands such as "Over here!" and "Please look at this!"... Sometimes... That's what gives you hope, the fact that occasionally it is attracted to the shininess of your hiking equipment.

Thankfully there are breaks in the endless path you follow, where you can shelter with fellow hikers and muse about your non-findings. It also helps that the odd Park Ranger passes by, offering inside knowledge about the path you seek.

And one day you'll realise it was the journey that made finding that perfect track all the more worth the wait...I know you fellow explorers are certainly making my journey more pleasant! But like I said, do excuse how totally country that is, I spend far too much time amid the heather...

Mia said...

P.S. OMG, sorry about the length of that comment. I really need to start editing what I say on cyberspace to a minimum :~s This does not bode well for future editing of my WiP...

Nick said...

Nothing wrong with a long WIP. Long as it isn't too too long. At least until you're established. Or you manage to write the next HOLYCOWTHISISTHEGREATESTTHINGTOHAPPENTOLITERATURESINCEIWILLSIGNYOUFORAMILLIONDOLLARSRIGHTAWAY book.

Christi Goddard said...

You guys crack me up.

Nick said...

Just doing my job :p

sarahjayne smythe said...

Great post. And I wanted to let you know that I was here following you from Pauline's (An Alleged Author) blog.

christicorbett said...

Christi,
Hello name twin! I loved today's post (especially since fishing season is just about to start).
Christi

kimberlyloomis said...

Lol... love this analogy. Perhaps add in that as the fisherman you have to be armed with all variety of fish in the lake, meal preferences, etc, prior to throwing that hooked query over the side of the dingy?

Great post!

Mary McDonald said...

I love the fishing analogy!

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