We need a matchmaking service for writers and agents

I get the e-version of the magazine, Writers’ Digest, and in the latest issue there was a link to a short piece by Chuck Sambuchino, at Guide to Literary Agents on how to land an agent. Now, mostly it’s the standard stuff we’ve all heard about a bazillion times (write a story with a unique twist, keep your query letter professional, etc.). Swell, but how do you actually get someone to READ said query letter? I have no idea. And they gave no hints. But, I thought this was a rather pithy piece of advice:

Would you want to marry someone who’s kind of in love with you? Or someone who is head over heels crazy about you and will go to the ends of the earth to make you happy? Don’t be upset when an agent turns down your manuscript because they weren’t fully in love with it. You’re entering a long-term relationship with an agent, and just like a marriage, you want to find the partner who’s crazy about you.

Now think about this for a minute. How hard do you interview for a day job? You don’t want to end up working for some schmuck who makes you want to stick pins in your eyes every time you clock in, right? I sure don’t. Any job needs to be a good fit for both parties. I’ve never been published, but I’m pretty sure I want to work with someone who ‘gets’ me, who respects me and what I write, and thinks I’m worth going to bat for, like a good boss would. If all goes well you’ll be working with this person for a long time, and I for one would want to feel like I could talk to my agent openly and they’re not cringing everytime I call. If I call. Do you have to call your agent much? Who knows.

So in the years ahead when I start submitting work, and I start getting the inevitable rejections, someone remind me of this, ok?

8 thoughts on “We need a matchmaking service for writers and agents

  1. Hi Chazz,

    I would think most of their information would be applicable, no matter where you live. And you can certainly work with an agent here in the U.S. Plenty of writers get signed by agents in countries other than where they live. Especially these days, when most things can be done via e-mail, or FedEx’d overnight when necessary. Next time I’m in the bookstore I’ll have to take a look at their Guide to Literary Agents and see if they have any sections for countries other the U.S. I haven’t bothered buying a copy yet, the info is out of date almost before it’s published so there hasn’t been much need to pick one up yet.


  2. Yeah this is why I don’t travel much. I hate sitting on a plane for more than two hours at a stretch. I’d have to be heavily sedated to sit on a plane for 18 hours! I’m practically having an anxiety attack just thinking about it.

    Actually, with writing, I don’t imagine there would be too many instances where you’d need to ship something across the globe that quickly anyway. Except maybe a big fat royalty check 😉 And that’s what wire transfers are for.


  3. DD,

    I’ve read that same advise before and it’s dead-on. Landing an agent (while often very difficult) is only the first step. Since countless editors can turn down the novel, you want an agent who really loves it, believes in it, and keeps sending it out despite the initial rejections. Makes no sense to hire an agent who is meh about it.

    And yes, I will remind you of this when you join us on query road. 🙂


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