Rachel Thompson

Sarah Martinez – What to Look for in an Agent

What to Look for in an Agent

by Sarah Martinez

First I should say I do not have an agent. Sex and Death in the American Novel was published by a small press in Seattle called Booktrope and I am happy with this choice. I was an editorial assistant to a literary agent and I have friends who are agents so I feel I can still speak to this topic.

Fit is so important.

Look for someone who is excited about your work and what you are doing, and who has connections that will help them sell your work.

I suggest people begin their search on Publisher’s Marketplace which has a searchable database that allows you to see if the agent you are interested in represents your genre, and if they have sold anything recently. Get comfortable with this site and you can learn so much about the many agents that are out there and what each one represents. After this get to know the agent by looking around their website and finding out what type of client they want to represent.

Look for someone who responds in a timely manner to your requests, someone who shows you by their actions that working for you is important to them. If you feel at first meeting like they are doing you a favor by talking to you, I suggest looking elsewhere. I have heard from several authors who had unpleasant early experiences, signed on anyway because they were happy to have the interest at all, and later ended up locked into contracts with agents who after a year or more hadn’t sold their work and whom they could not even get to respond to them by email or phone! At that point they just wanted their book back so they could start the whole process over again.

All that said I know of one agent whom I respect very much that took several years to sell a book. When he did, it was to a reputable publisher and the author was very happy. This agent believed in the book and never gave up. Through all that time he continually worked with the author and never stopped trying. What is important here is that through every step of the process the author was taken care of.

Actions speak louder than words. Preparing a book for presenting to editors, pitching it to editors and all the rest of the work agents do requires follow up, diligence and communication with the author at every stage. If you are having trouble with this early on take it as a warning sign. If on the other hand, the agent is communicative, enthusiastic and supportive, this can hint at great things to come.

Do your homework and don’t rush into anything.


Vivianna Post is the family anomaly. Daughter of a Pulitzer Prize winner and an academic, she has never quite fit her parents’ expectations as a free-spirited erotica writer.

When Vivianna encounters the award-winning author Jasper Caldwell at a nightclub, all she wants is to blame him for blowing off her brother at a writers’ conference the year before and possibly causing his suicide. But as the night—and then the weeks—wear on, Vivianna finds herself drawn to Jasper in ways she cannot understand.

When their differences—literary and sexual—threaten to pull Vivianna and Jasper apart, Jasper rediscovers Alejandro, an old friend who just might have the power to complete them both in every way.

Using quotes and references to classic erotic and literary icons, Sex and Death in the American Novel is on one level an unconventional romance and on another a discussion of the merits of erotic literature.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Literary Erotica

Rating – X

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Sarah Martinez on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.mywildskies.com/

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