First, let’s review what an agent actually does, in case this is new for you.
In business parlance, an agent is anyone you have appointed to act on your behalf. In this case, since you are not allowed to just waltz into the offices of any old publisher in Manhattan and plunk your manuscript down on their desk, a literary agent will do that for you.
But that’s after a certain period of courtship. And the plunking down is really only metaphorical. These days, it usually takes place via email. (When I first started out, we were still using the regular old mail, and sending an email to an agent was considered so modern as to be daring. Many agents wouldn’t accept emails at all. This was in 1998. How quickly things change.)
So, let’s back up. How do you get to the point where an agent is willing to represent you? If it isn’t someone you know already, then this relationship nearly always starts with the query letter.
Next month: All about query letters!
Learn more about William Kowalski at https://www.williamkowalski.com
Read Will’s followup article: About Query Letters.
Read the first article in this series: The Business of Publishing.