Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Searching For a Literary Agent - Where Do I Start?

Searching for a Literary Agent can be a daunting task. But it is an essential one. It's true that the easiest way to find representation is through someone you know who already has industry contacts. But let's pretend you are a screenwriter who does not have any connections in Hollywood. Then where do you begin?

Well first, after you have spent hours upon hours pouring your heart and soul into creating your inspired masterpiece a finished screenplay or novel manuscript emerges. The first question you should ponder is whether or not your screenplay or manuscript is ready. Sure you think it is. But there are questions that need to be answered first before it is ready for the masses.

Have someone else read your screenplay. Having a fresh pair of eyes read your screenplay or manuscript can give you a new perspective. Identify any weaknesses in your story. They will need to be addressed and resolved prior to submitting your screenplay or novel manuscript to a literary agent.

You want to write a screenplay that is strong and meaningful a story that speaks to its audience. So you need to know what audience you are writing for. Literary agents specialize in certain genres. Knowing the market for your screenplay or manuscript will help you to know which literary agent you should be approaching.

A literary agent won't look at you once let alone twice if your screenplay or manuscript is not marketable. Literary agents want clients who write in a profitable field. You want to get your foot in the door. It is always a good idea to have a couple more ideas brewing around in your head.

Let's face it, in the business world people always want more out of you. And if you present them with one good idea, they will want more which is kind of a good thing. Be prepared just in case.

Once your screenplay or novel manuscript has been polished you are ready to begin your research for that long awaited representation. When researching a literary agent try to find out how much experience they have. Who are their other clients? More importantly, do they accept first time screenwriters? You want an agent who will believe in you and will want to market your screenplay or manuscript for the best possible deal in town. Before sending your screenplay to a literary agent, find out what their requirements are for submissions.

You can introduce yourself to a literary agent and their agency by way of a query letter. List any credentials you may have. If you have previously published in trade magazines or won any writing contests these should be noted. Remember this is still part of the writing process.

This is after all, the business side of your creative endeavor where you are in search of a negotiator, a literary agent who will pitch your screenplay and your work of art to producers and studio executives. Who better to help you through this painful and enlightening stage of selling your screenplay or novel manuscript than a professional who knows the ropes and the main characters in the industry? Having a literary agent to guide you through the process and find you the best market available for your screenplay or novel manuscript will be a challenge well rewarded.