So I'm looking for a literary agent. One that will love my book, think I reside slightly above dork and a little below insane status and want to know what I'm working on next.
This is no easy task. There are a myriad of websites designed to help a naïve, aspiring author through the process of finding an agent. I've used a couple of these web sites (they can be very helpful), I've had pitch sessions at writing conferences, I've stalked agents at conventions and I even went through the latest 25 agents introduced in Writer's Digest.
The first thing I noticed . . . some agents will say that they want Young Adult (YA) books, but then I dive into what they've sold recently and there isn't a YA book among them. Or they say YA fantasy and only sell books about coming of age stories at fat camp. Ugh. There is nothing magic about that. Trust me. (A note: I have nothing against fat camps [I should maybe check one out], or any sort of camp really, but reading about it bores me to tears.)
The second thing I noticed . . . there isn't a great place to figure out what kind of person this “agent” is. Once in a while they'll give a little personal spiel that might expose some of their personality, but most of the time they all sound very excited to see your book—just like the last fifteen bios that I looked at.
This is where the need comes in. Someone should put together a web site that matches you with an agent. You know, like those on-line dating sights do. Forget the questions about your pets (well, maybe) and go for something a little different.
1-When do you get your best writing/reading done?
2-What type of book will you loose sleep over in order to finish?
3-Favorite literary character ever and why.
4-Would you dress up as them for Halloween?
5-If you're at the beach, do you play in the water or read more?
6-Which is the bigger offense? Getting sand kicked in your hair or on your book?
7-Where is the craziest place you've worked on your novel / read a query letter?
8-What happens when you get really, really into either reading or writing a manuscript?
9-What is the greatest length of time you've staved off going to the bathroom in order to finish “just this last bit?”
10-Personal hygiene—when is it appropriate to let it slide?
11-Do you have a rating system for a story as you read it? (ex. 1 yawn=I'm tired, 2 yawns=maybe this isn't as good as I hoped, 3 yawns=time to get some sleep/I'm glad I got this one from the library.)
12-When is the last time someone told you that you were obsessed with your job / your manuscript?
13-List your top 5 favorite genres.
14-What book do you wish they would make into a movie. (A good movie.)
15-Where were you when you had your latest and greatest idea pop into your head?
16-What usually entices you to pick up a book / manuscript?
17-Why should writers want you as their agent or agents want you as a writer?
18-Characters, plot, setting . . . discuss.
19-What location have you always wanted to use / read in a book?
20-Use five words to describe you. Try for a complete sentence if you're feeling frisky.
You see, these are just a few questions that, if answered, could tell a person and an agent if they would be a good match. I'm sure some Access genius could figure out a way to input the data, run a query and come up with the top ten candidates.
That's it. Someone with mad skills needs to make this happen.