Bio Bejazzled

Isn’t this just the best example, like EVER, of how to approach an agent?

Dear Agent       [I haven’t got time to find out your name but if you could just pass it on that would be great]

I have written a fabulous novel called ‘It’s All About Me’ which is about 90,000 words long (I haven’t bothered to check but that’s about the usual length, right?) anyway, I thought I would give you first refusal as you are first in the book and I’m going through it alphabetically.

My book is my own life story which is absolutely fascinating; my mum says so. My main reason for writing the book is because I want to make lots of money and as such I am sure you want to as well, which would be a really good reason not to miss out on the chance of signing me.  I would be looking for a three book deal with a large advance.  I’m not really into giving interviews and I don’t use social networks but to be honest, I can’t see that to be a problem, after all, my book is so great everyone will just want to read it. I don’t need the extra publicity personally, but I can see how it would benefit you and your agency.

I have a very impressive writing history. I had a poem published in the school newspaper when I was 12 and I wrote lots of stories, none were taken on by the magazines but my mum said they were really good and she couldn’t understand what the problem was.

I’ve enclosed the whole manuscript as I am sure you will want to read it all. If you could get back to me within the next three weeks that would be great – after that I cannot guarantee I would be able to accept your offer. I am approaching as many agents as possible and if necessary you can enter a bidding war for the publishing rights.

As my mum says, my book is fabulous so please don’t waste any time, I am a really busy person.

Yours sincerely

Jay Kay Roley


What do you mean, no?

Having recently been on a writing workshop run by the lovely Julie Cohen, we touched on the subject of approaching agents and what we should put in a letter.  I think it’s fair to say that the above example, is not the way to do it.

Everyone needs to be able to bejazzle their bio/letter but there are no doubt more subtle ways.
Has anyone got any tips for approaching an agent they could share?

Thanks, Sue x

8 thoughts on “Bio Bejazzled

  1. Hahaha, I would say first and foremost stick to the submission guidelines on the site! And if you’re not clear what they are, don’t be shy of picking up the dog & bone (Cockney rhyming slang at 9.17 in the morning, aces!) and finding out. Plus if they have a list of agents find out which one is suited to your genre and make sure you highlight that’s why you’ve chosen them, don’t aim blindly. Make an effort, you’ll be respected more for it and they’ll know you’re serious and worth working with.

    • Thanks Yasmin, that’s a really good tip about highlighting why you’ve chosen a particular agent to approach. I’ll keep that in mind, thank you.

  2. Be professional. Approaching an agent is like a job interview – they need to know why they should take you on, above all the other candidates, so you need to show that you are the best person for the job; one who can commit, work hard and stay with the job for a long time. When you write to approach an agent, read over your letter before you send it as though you were reading an application for a job – would *you* employ you?

    • Hi Jane, another cracking bit of advice. Hadn’t thought of it like that before, would I employ me? Thanks for taking the time to comment, much appreciated.

  3. The commissioning ed at Choclit read out some howlers at a recent RNA meeting! Honestly! I’ve asked my agent to do a blog post – see if I can get her to find some ‘howlers’ also.

    • I shall very much look forward to that post then Carol. I suppose it’s like those insurance claims or witness statements, you can’t actually believe people say some things. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. As I haven’t an agent yet this was hilarious and I also learned a lot talking to an editor at the literary festival.
    So I’m also interested in how to?

  5. Good advice, don’t have an agent. But Sue, where did you get my letter from!!
    Lorraine x

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