The elusive, impossible agent. I got mine by throwing my book into the Mslexia novel writing competition. Afterwards, I was telephoned by Debbie Taylor, the editor of Mslexia to say an agent wished to discuss representation, and the rest, if not history, is this blog post. Now I have to try and tread a fine line between doing all the edits (I can) that have been recommended in a way that I think enhances the book. Most of her suggestions have really pushed the book into another class, I can't believe I didn't see them myself.
She's a guide in the stratosphere of publishing. She has explained how it is supposed to work, and how it actually works. She's also my representative in a world of lunches, meetings, book fairs and colleagues. She has met, worked with or knows people who have worked with all the major publishing bigwigs. She also understands the market, because her history is in sales. She knows what editors want, and is able to translate it to me. It remains to be seen if I actually get published, there are a lot of agents pushing a lot of projects out there.
One blog I have found useful is this one - Carly Watters, a literary agent, with a lot of useful insights into how to attract an agent, and maybe how to get the most out of of having one.
I don't know how to get an agent, I just know how I did it, but getting noticed in a competition seems like a good start. We all want to write the best book, and in truth, only the best books are noticed by publishers and agents. Competition makes us push our books and our writing forward, and that's got to be a good thing.