I'm about two-three weeks from the start of trying to find an agent, writing the dreaded query letter, shaping the winning synopsis. If anyone has a word of advice, a website they find valuable, a book that helped them, any of that I'd be eternally grateful to hear about it before I make a mistake. It's a 70,000 word psychological suspense novel with a female protagonist set in Detroit. Thanks. I'm shaking in my shoes.

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I love eternal gratitude. It's something you can take advantage of forever.

I doubt this will come as a surprise to you, but wherever possible talk to people represented by the agents you're thinking of. Don't just go big or just go with someone because someone else is with them... you want a sense of how they work and if you'll be comfortable with that. It's a business relationship and if their approach grates on you, that will always be there.

If you're looking for fresh eyes on a query letter you know where to find me.
hey, guys, thanks so much. I may take you both up on it. my generation was taught to hem and haw. and beat around the bush. And also to speak in cliches apparently. Not good!
I'm in the process myself, so let me know as well if you need fresh eyes. I'm getting a decent response rate thus far.

AgentQuery is a good start, but rarely has enough info about sales. Google the agents' names you want. Publisher's Marketplace will have a lot of info (even if you don't pay; sometimes you can find agent sites there) and AbsoluteWrite.com has the "water cooler" forum where they discuss agents. (AQ actually just started a site that I think is supposed to compete, but it's brand new.) And don't be afraid to ask for referrals. The worst an author can do is say no (or ignore you), but I've found most don't mind if you drop their names at the very least. :)

A good source on how to write your marketing material is http://www.annemini.com/. She just finished blogging about queries and is at work on nonfiction synopses.
Another bump for annemini.com. The Perfesser is cogent, consistent, funny, insightful, and gives you directions in pieces small enough to put on notecards (to be reshuffled according to need).
Best of luck!

Um, I don't really have any pithy advice, but I'm sure you'll do just fine!
Your good wishes count plenty.
Thanks, Jon. I prefer Ativan and wine, but any of the above will do.
Jon, you do good replies to everything I've seen.

But too much Xanax and alcohol can equal death.

Jack
the very best of luck to you, also. I hope to be where you are in a few months. my very best wishes to you. Just go for it. You'll get there. (that's what they tell me and Patricia, I believe it!) all the very best!
I found my agent by checking the acknowledgments at the back of a book that I liked, written in a similar style.

As for the query letter, the article contained at this link helped me a lot.

http://www.bksp.org/secondarypages/articles/agentseditors/PClaughto...

Good luck.
Thanks for the site. Amazing how differently various sites tell how to write the letter. But I liked this one a lot.
Best of luck to you.

You've already gotten lots of good advice about agents, and I have little to add. It's an extraordinarily tricky relationship; you're paying him or her (oh, yes, you are) for career advice, for salesmanship, for legal knowledge, and a whole subgumbo of psychological hand-holding. (Agents earn their bones, for the most part.)

For me, it's a question of finding someone who is both a fierce advocate of your work and simultaneously gimlet-eyed and realistic about its (and your) potential...which is an odd, but necessary, contradiction in terms.

Be cheerful, be confident, don't be arrogant or demanding...and don't be buffaloed.

Bonne chance!

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