This is the view from my hotel room (actually worth sharing this time):
And, yes, I do think that picture is a little crooked, but I want to get out there and hike, so deal with it. (I say that in the most loving way possible.)
And, since I feel I should give you something useful, here is a post from agent Russell Galen on Do You Need an Agent? I love his consigliere analogy. Well worth the read. (So read it…)
Short digression here: When I started my first “professional” job right after college I was randomly assigned a mentor as were the other three people who started with me. I can tell you, without hesitation or doubt, that the mentor I had is a large part of the success I achieved in my career. He knew what he was doing and had a passion for his job and he not only taught me what I needed to do, but passed on that drive and dedication to me.
It’s no secret (or it shouldn’t be) that who you choose to surround yourself with can have a profound impact on your life. The people you turn to for advice or support can either help you or harm you.
And, as an author, I think that who you choose as your agent (assuming you go that route) is probably the most important decision you make. Which is why (warning: soapbox) you should research every agent you approach. Know who they represent. Know what they’ve said. Know what they’ve done. DO NOT just randomly shoot out queries to anyone and everyone who might possibly represent your genre.
Find the agents who represent the authors you love. Find the agents who, in blogs or interviews, say things that appeal to you. Go to conferences and see who you like as a human being. However you do it, know who you’re approaching to the extent you can.
At a minimum you should look for any mentions on Absolute Write and do a quick Internet search. It’s easier to find information on some agents than others, but there should be something out there for pretty much any legitimate agent. (At least that’s been my experience so far.)
Oops. I almost wrote a full blog post without meaning to. Shame on me. Time to go hiking.
Bottom line: Find yourself a good agent, not just any agent. (And read that article.)