If you're a member of Jericho Writers, I hope you're finding this series useful! In our fourth week, we're going to be chatting about AgentMatch - an unmissable part of the membership for anyone querying agents.
Remember you can catch up on our other posts in the series on Video Courses, Writing and Publishing Resources, and Online Events at any time.
This week's post has been co-written by Head of AgentMatch Rachael Cooper and our Head of Marketing, Sophie Flynn. As usual with this series, the links will only work if you are logged in at the time.
AgentMatch: Making Querying More Bearable - By Rachael Cooper and Sophie Flynn
If you’re a member of Jericho Writers, you get unlimited access to our unique agent search database: AgentMatch. Think of it like Tinder, but for agents.
What is AgentMatch?
On AgentMatch, you’ll find all the information you need to find your dream agent. Just like a dating app, you can search by whatever is most important to you in your perfect partner. Start with the obvious, like: Do they want books in your genre? Are they open to new clients? Are they based in your location? Then, you can refine your search further with things like ‘show me agents with 5+ years’ experience’ and ‘show me agents with less than 30 clients’, until you end up with your perfect list of potential agents.
But, it’s not just about cold hard facts on AgentMatch.
Each agent profile has been thoughtfully put together by one of our team. To get a true picture of every agent, we phone them up and have a proper chat to find out not just what they’re looking for, but what sort of person they are. We then turn these into handy typed up interviews for you to read. We share shorter, highlight versions on Community too. Here’s two of our most recent interviews with US agent Quressa Robinson and new UK agent Hannah Todd.
This is where you can find information on agents that no one else has access to. Sure, on an agent’s website you’ll probably find that they love thrillers, but only on AgentMatch will you find that they love thrillers AND have three sisters who they’ve always had an intense rivalry with. You might be thinking; well how will that help with my query? But it will, I promise! If you happen to have written a thriller that involves the complex relationship between three sisters, I bet you’d have more luck with that agent above anyone else.
Even if you can’t find anything quite that perfectly specific, the more info you can gather on agents the better because the key to writing a great query letters is to make it unique to each agent. You can use AgentMatch to quickly find out information about an agent that is not readily available elsewhere and use that to tailor your letters. By tailoring your letter, you’re showing the agent you’re a serious writer who has spent time and effort ensuring your work is the perfect match for them.
While we can’t guarantee that every agent that you find on AgentMatch will love your work, we can promise you you’ll find the whole querying process a lot less painful if you start by using a well-researched list of agents that a) want your type of work b) are actually open to queries, and c) sound like the sort of person you want representing you.
How to find AgentMatch
Just head to your Membership Dashboard and click the AgentMatch link. You can also find it by hovering over 'My Jericho' in the top navigation menu.
When you arrive onto the main search page, you’ll see all of the agent listings we have, with a panel down the left hand side offering ways to narrow this search down.
These include: Genre; Agent Name; Country; Experience; Status; Number of Clients; Size of Agency; Who they represent and keyword – as well as Twitter and blog use, accepting email submissions and AAA members.
Simply use these filters to apply the things that matter most to you and your book (see tips below!) and press ‘search’. You an even save this search for later, as you make your way through the list, submitting to the ones you like the most.
If you need more information on how to use this, our team created a helpful How to Use AgentMatch masterclass earlier this year.
Tips on making the most of AgentMatch
Choosing your genre/s. Be selective and keep it simple when choosing your genre. If your novel crosses over between genres, then search your main genre first. Then review each agent profile: do they express an interest in your second genre? Have they listed a book they love that’s a similar genre to yours?
Double check submission requirements. The main grumble we hear from agents, is that an author hasn’t followed their submission guidelines. We try to keep AgentMatch as up to date as possible, but with over 1000 agents on the system and knowing how quickly things can change, we advise everyone to double check submission requirements on the agency’s website before submitting. That way you can make sure you’re giving yourself the best chance at success!
What makes a good match? This is one of the most important relationships for any author. You need to find someone you can work with and feel comfortable exchanging ideas with. So, do your research:
- Read the profiles carefully
- Explore the interesting links
- Read the exclusive interviews
- Find them on social media
- Look at their interests and the books/genres they represent.
- Do they represent books and authors you look up to?
- Do they have a good reputation?
The list goes on, but most of all, you’re looking for an agent that you can see yourself working alongside, someone who can support you when you need reassurance and challenge you when they think your work needs changes.
Sometimes things just don’t work out, and that’s ok. Over the few years I’ve worked with authors, I’ve heard many stories of authors and agents parting ways. Although, I’m sure it’s disheartening, a little confusing, and just downright disappointing, but it’s important for everyone to know that a) this happens, and it happens more than you know, and b) it’s ok, we’re all humans and sometimes things just don’t work out.
As with anything with your membership, if you need a hand finding anything, or further tips on how to make the most out of it, our brilliant Writer Support team are on hand, by email or phone.
Weill be back next week with more from our Writer Support Team on how you can get Expert Member Advice as part of your membership, including feedback on your query letter.