Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Agents: Interview #4 with Mette Harrison

I'm sad to say this is my final interview with Mette. Read on to learn her tips for finding and acquiring an awesome agent. And don't forget to follow the link at the bottom for a chance to win one of her books!

4. Agents
How did you get an agent?
I have a post on questions to ask an agent here:
How many agents have you had?
My agent is Barry Goldblatt of He is awesome. He is Libba Bray's husband (and agent), Holly Black's, Robin Wasserman's, Cassie Clare's, Shannon Hale's, and on and on. He should be high on anyone's list.

What are the advantages of having an agent?
Um, no more time spent figuring out where to send something, I suppose. You save some money there. But really, an agent is there to protect you when things go wrong. You think they won't, but they will. A contract gets canceled, an editor leaves a publisher, or any number of problems. You want someone who has your back. Also, international sales are a good thing. I couldn't do those on my own. My agent also helps a lot in terms of building community with his clients. He has a retreat every year where we get together and he can tell us all what he thinks we need to know about the changing business and also where he can ask certain experts to talk on topics of his choice. Mostly we just have fun and help each other out.

What should a writer look for in an agent?
A Mensch. Someone who is passionate about books, and about your book in particular. Also someone with a vision not just of how this book will be marketed, but how your whole career will look. Someone with big dreams, as big as yours. Also, it doesn't hurt for you to have some crossover book loves.

What questions should a writer ask an agent before signing on with them?
I have a post on questions to ask an agent here: that says just about everything I have to say about agents.

What is the best way to find an agent?
A personal recommendation is nice, but it's not a necessity. I would say query just about everyone you can find who doesn't charge a reading fee. You can find agent names sometimes in acknowledgement pages of books. Surprisingly, I have found I often turn to this page first when I read a book. Though I never write such pages. I believe they are cursed!

Tips for querying an agent.
Make your query letter short. Cut out the parts comparing your book to someone else's and about your credentials. It doesn't matter. Your writing is the only thing that matters. Don't waste the agent's time.


I hope you've enjoyed and learned as much as I have from Mette's vast wisdom on agents. Now, make sure to go to and listen to my writer's group podcast interview with Mette on writing romance, and comment on her interview for a chance to win her book Tris & Izzie!


  1. I attended a conference where Barry Goldblatt was a speaker a few years back, and he was very passionate about his clients. Loved it! :)

    Thanks for the advice!