Agents Clearly Note Their Preferences

By Anthony S. Policastro

Talk about being specific, I found one agent who is so specific as to the type of manuscript he is looking for, it is as if you were sitting next to him having a cup of coffee.

Andrew H. Zack, president of The Zack Agency in San Diego, has many detailed posts on his blog, all that's new(s) from A to Z and on his website that clearly spell out the kinds of manuscripts and authors he would consider representing. He is mostly looking for nonfiction because

"…simply put, I want to represent more nonfiction. Nonfiction, generally speaking, is simply easier to sell, especially if the author has the right credentials and/or an existing platform. Why is it easier? Well, there's less good nonfiction out there and thus less competition for editors' reading time. It can be sold on proposal, which means it takes less time to read initially and so decisions come more quickly. If an author has the right credentials and/or platform, it's often a no-brainer. A serious scientist writing about a serious subject, e.g., global warming, and saying something new or controversial, will nearly always sell. At least one agent I know of makes his living just selling these types of books. And I'd like to put a dent in his business."

He plans to post a future blog on his fiction requirements. So, if you meet his requirements, you may have an agent that will sell your work.

It also will be interesting to see if Mr. Zack gets a higher number of good queries that fit his requirements now that he has clearly spelled out his preferences. Perhaps, he’ll mention this in a future blog post.

The amount of information provided by Mr. Zack is quite refreshing in the maze of agents out there. However, agents are very busy people and if you wore their shoes for one day you would understand why they don’t have reams of information out there. But, some do with the ease and speed of posting on blogs and websites. Take a look at agent Kristin Nelson's blog, Pub Rants. She has a new, relevant post almost every day and one wonders if she ever sleeps.

So why I am I writing about this? Well, the more information from agents the better because it is extremely helpful to both agents and authors. Authors can better zero in on agents who would be interested in their work, and agents will have more queries in line of what they want. After all, most agents reject more than 90 per cent of the queries sent to them and many wished they had more that fit their criteria. Agents need new authors as well as authors need agents.

The final word - do as much research as you can on an agent before you query. You can find several useful sites on this blog as well as others on the Internet.

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