June 26, 2009

Literary agents–the first ones

Filed under: Backstory — jenny @ 9:34 pm

Here are the first six agents I queried:

Albert Zuckerman of Writers House

Barney Karpfinger of the Barney Karpfinger Agency

Anna Cottle of Cine/Lit (can you blame me for thinking my book might be made into a movie ;)

Elizabeth Pomada of Larsen/Pomada

Virginia Barber of the Virginia Barber Literary Agency

Chuck Verrill of Darhansoff & Verrill

I queried Albert Zuckerman because of the book I read by him on writing the blockbuster. I queried Barney Karpfinger because he repped Jonathan Kellerman and my book had a psychologist protagonist, too. I queried Anna Cottle because her agency was mentioned in the book by Elizabeth Lyon that taught me how to write queries and synopses. I queried Elizabeth Pomada because I read her husband’s (and co-agent’s) book on getting an agent. I queried Virginia Barber because she repped Rosellen Brown, whose book I had the gall to compare mine to. And I queried Chuck Verrill because Stephen King, who is probably the single biggest contemporary influence on my writing, praised his editorial skill.

I chose a hefty percentage of agents based on their connection to authors whose work I admired. It’s a tip that comes up again and again.

Go to your bookstore. (Buy some books). Or library. (Take out some books).

As you browse, read the acknowledgments section. See if the author mentions his or her agent. Then look up the agent.

You can do a lot of this on line, by Googling for references to authors you love and adding the word agent to the search. When I was first querying, it was all cloth volumes and telephone books. (Maybe not quite on the latter).

On Monday, I’ll tell you what those six agents had to say.

Happy weekend!

And may I suggest that if you happen to find yourself in, near, or within a 200 mile radius of a bookstore…that you buy some books?


  1. I submitted a partial manuscript to Writers House. Although I received a rejection letter, at least there was a personal, hand-written message with a word of encouragement. Whoever read it liked it, so that was encouraging.

    – Stephen Tremp

    Comment by Stephen Tremp — June 29, 2009 @ 9:51 am

  2. That’s very encouraging, Stephen! And–it’s going to be the exact topic of my post tomorrow. Please stop by and if you like, weigh in with what you did from there!

    Comment by jenny — June 29, 2009 @ 8:11 pm

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