Sara Megibow is an Associate Literary Agent with the Nelson Literary Agency. She writes a regular article in Kristen Nelson's monthly newsletter. If you don't get this newsletter, you should. You can sign up here.
The article below was from the last newsletter. I hope I don't get in trouble for reposting it here. But I thought it was very, very good—plus I'm telling you to get the newsletter.
This year I will be attending the Romance Writers Convention in Nashville (July) and World Fantasy in Columbus (October). Some other conferences may yet come up, but that's my schedule for right now. Amazingly, I am already preparing for RWA even though summer feels light years away. At these conferences, I hope to meet writers shopping for an agent and I've been thinking of ideas to help smooth that process.
1. If you have a completed work of fiction ready to submit, prepare a two sentence blurb that you can rattle off at any time (in the elevator, after a workshop, in a pitch session - whatever). Know your word count and your genre (and subgenre) and practice reciting these things out loud. (Example "FRANK is a completed historical romance at 100,000 words. It's about a hero who is driven to shun society at the impetus of a mysterious and sexy bar wench.") (I just made that up, no laughing please.)
2. Have access to your work. Who knows, I may be impressed with your pitch (the one you've just successfully rattled off to me while waiting in line for coffee). If I ask for 30 pages, it would be great if you could say - "heck, I have them right here on my iPhone - can I send them to you?" Have two versions ready to send electronically - the first 30 pages as one document (labeled with your name, the title of the work, genre, word count and your contact information including email address). Also, have the full manuscript ready to go (with same info attached at the beginning of the document). Save them and have them in microsoft word format (no pictures, no headshots, no weblinks) and at the very least have access to them in your hotel room.
3. Update your writer website and blog before the conference and include the addresses of those tools in anything that you submit. Yes, that means you should have a website and a blog - make sure they are professional, accurate and engaging. An update doesn't have to be fancy - just make sure you have a recent blog entry (example, "I'm off to RWA - looking forward to finding an agent for FRANK") and that your website mentions your writing (better yet, there is a blurb on your completed manuscript already loaded and accessible!)
I am looking forward to this year's conferences. I enjoy meeting and talking to writers and am actively looking for new talent to represent!
Associate Literary Agent