The following piece is a guest post from Sarah Juckes, now at Agent Hunter. Guest posts do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this publication. Read more about MediaShift guest posts here.
Most writers find they need to query a number of agents before they find the right one for them. At Agent Hunter, the comprehensive online database of UK literary agents, we’ve found a number of nifty tools to help keep you organized and prepared for your search.
Similar to our site at Agent Hunter, this website holds details of literary agents based in the U.S. The site also has some useful tips for writers starting out, and a forum to connect with others.
This was designed as a CRM tool for sales teams, but is a godsend to writers who use gmail. A free add-on, this tool enables you to track your submissions within gmail itself, adding chase dates to each email, and even letting you know when your email is being read.
S3 you’ve found twenty agents you think might like your book – which ones do you email first? Trello is a useful to-do list app that works like a virtual corkboard. Add your agent notes to one column and move them to the next as you research them, write your cover letter, pitch and review your contract!
Let’s face it – submitting to all these agencies is going to take a lot of time. By saving your submissions to a cloud-based app such as Dropbox however, you can work on them using any device on the move, so you can capitalise on your commute time. Even better, your file will update across all your devices too, so you can avoid duplicates.
Scrivener is widely regarded as the king of writing apps, helping you work on your submission in style. Add notes, divide into folders and make use of the hundreds of fancy functions available in the program.
Let’s say you get chatting to a literary agent. After presenting your perfected elevator pitch, the agent gives you their card and asks you to send your manuscript to them. Now imagine how you’d feel if you lost that card… Fortunately, CamCard is a great app for storing card details digitally on the move, using your smart phone camera to capture data. Phew!
An editing tool, Hemingway will helpfully point out any problems with clunky sentences or poor grammar in your cover letter. Just paste in your text and watch Hemingway highlight the sentences that need work. A useful start, although it doesn’t offer the level of detail that a real editor can offer.
Spotted an interview with an agent that could come in use later? Pocket saves the sites you find most interesting, enabling you to visit them later without clogging up your bookmark bar.
9. Online writing courses
Agents are attracted to writers who have invested in their craft, especially those who’ve taken time to learn what makes a good book. There are thousands of online courses for writers happening right now, such as this one from The Writers’ Workshop.
Correction: This article’s headline has been corrected.