Agents in the Crosshairs : How to Find Your Target

OK, this one is for all the aspiring writers out there toiling away behind keyboards, attending writing workshops and reading every inspirational and how-to book they can find. It’s exciting, crazy, fun, scary, daunting, passionate. I know, I’ve been there. In fact, I’m still there. Writing, for me, is like touching a live wire while standing in a puddle. I get that kind of charge from it.

I know there’s always been a debate whether an agent is necessary or not. I’ve expressed my opinion on the matter before and in upcoming articles : hell yes! I know that finding one is just about as arduous a task as getting a book deal. For most, it can be a long slog. For the lucky few, it happens in the blink of an eye. But, it doesn’t happen to either if some homework isn’t done first. So, while you’re busy writing your next book, take time to start looking for your target agents. Build your list so you know who to query when your work is complete (and as near perfection as you can make it).

How do you find them? Actually, this part of the entire writing and publishing process is quite easy.

  • Hopefully you read lots of books in the genre you’re writing in (otherwise, how do you know what sells?). Look at the dedication and acknowledgement pages. Plenty of writers take time to thank their agent. Add their name to your list.
  • You can go online to Writer’s Market or buy a copy at your local bookstore. They have a full listing of agents. Go through the entire list to find ones looking for work in your genre.
  • Join a writing organization. For example, I’m part of the Horror Writer’s Association. They provide lists of agents and publishers that work in horror.
  • Attend trade shows and conferences. You’ll not only meet real live agents, but you’ll also build a network of writers with a similar passion. Feel free to pick their brains. Most of us writerly types are happy to share our trade secrets.
  • Subscribe to Writer’s Digest and The Writer. Both have great articles by agents, how to find an agent and listings.

If you can manage to do at least most of the above, you’ll have a robust list of agents to reach out to when you’re ready. It’s best to list them in order of preference. I had my dream team of 5 agencies I wanted to work with, and am happy beyond belief to be signed on with one now. The time it took me from saying I wanted to write to getting to where I am today took a long time, but I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t do my homework.

In the words of David Lee Roth, Class dismissed! Go make your list…and don’t forget to keep writing.

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About Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. His novels, Forest of Shadows, Evil Eternal , Swamp Monster Massacre , Sinister Entity, Hell Hole, The Waiting and Island of the Forbidden are published through Samhain Publishing’s horror line. Hell Hole was named Horror Novel Reviews #1 horror novel of 2014. His first thriller novel, The Montauk Monster, was released June, 2014 as a Pinnacle paperback, and was named by Publishers Weekly as one of the best reads of the summer. His follow up Pinnacle novel, Tortures of the Damned, a post apocalyptic thriller, will be out July, 2015. That will be followed up by his latest cryptid tale, The Dover Demon, in the fall through Samhain. His horror short story collection, Asylum Scrawls, is available as an e-book, straightjacket not included. Hunter is an amateur cryptozoologist, having written wild, fictional tales about Bigfoot, The Montauk Monster, The Dover Demon and many new creatures to come. A copy of his book, The Montauk Monster, is currently on display in the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, ME. He wrote his first novel with the express desire to work only with editor Don D’Auria at Dorchester (Leisure Horror). He submitted his novel to Don and only Don, unagented, placed on the slush pile. He is proof that dedicated writers can be rescued from no man’s land. He now works with Don, along with several other agents and publishers, having published over ten books in just four years. Hunter is proud to be be one half of the Monster Men video podcast, along with his partner in crime, Jack Campisi. It is one of the most watched horror video podcasts in the world. Monster Men is a light hearted approach to dark subjects. Hunter and Jack explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun. They often interview authors, cryptid and ghost hunters, directors and anyone else living in the horror lane. Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to get Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits. His daughters have also gotten the horror bug, assisting him with research, story ideas and illustrations that can be seen in magazines such as Dark Dossier.

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