One of my worries of contacting an agent is that I want them to recognize my name first. Or, if not that, I want them to see my list of publications and know that I'm worth reading. It's all about standing out in the slush pile, guys.
So... I guess the big question is what are the most effective ways for writers to get noticed in the slush? I've done a little snooping on this and have learned that blogs do help (uh, if anyone reads them, that is). So do writers' workshops and forums like Readerville
. The more writers you know, the more someone might have a contact somewhere or someone else could suggest a good match for you, based on their own experience. But I'd like to debunk the myth that knowing other writers and helping them get their footing is sleazy in any way. It can take years and years to find out the tricks of the trade, to learn the best markets and the best ways to approach agents. Why not form a community and share what you know? That's what this blog is all about.
What about publications--which ones are actually read by the agents? Probably the safest bet is to be prolific and get your stuff out everywhere you can. Strangely, I've heard that online publications can count more than print because then people can Google you or stumble across your work. Some impressive ezines: Vestal Review
, 3 a.m.
, Narrative Magazine
, McSweeney's Internet Tendency
. I've also heard that some of the hottest magazines right now, as far as agents reading them goes, are The Paris Review
, Zoetrope: All-Story
, Other Voices
, Tin House
, Open City
, Night Train
, Ninth Letter
, and Swink
. This list comes from my confidential contacts at DoubleDay and Random House. Get your work out there and aim high and share what you know.
As for my Site-of-the-Week, I'd like you to check out MoorishGirl
: a smart site featuring book reviews, interviews, virtual book tours and literary news with an emphasis on the Arab perspective.