How I got a Literary Agent

Feb 21 22:58 2007 Shalla de Guzman Print This Article

SHALLA CHATS with author Pamela Waller

First off,Guest Posting who's Pamela?

Pamela Waller writes contemporary, romantic suspense, paranormal / time travel novels. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America. She also writes romantic poetry and is a member of the International society of Poets. Her poems can be viewed at  She has received several choice awards in fiction and poetry.

Shalla: Agents, where are they and how do we get one? Joining us is Pamela Waller, a multi-pubbed author with an agent. Hi Pamela.

Pamela: Hi Shalla.

Shalla: Did you have an agent the first time you published?

Pamela: Yes, I had an agent before my first book got published.

Shalla: Once you found suitable agents, how did you approach them? One at a time? All at once?

Pamela: I approached them all at once by sending them a query letter and a copy of the first three chapters of my manuscript.

Shalla: How did you finally decide on your agent?

Pamela: I inquired about the authors she represented and manuscripts she sold to publishing houses. I even went as far as to writing emails to the authors asking them their opinion of her as an agent.

Shalla: What are the advantages of having an agent?

Pamela: The advantages would be that it does free up time for the author to write on her next manuscript. The author doesn't have to inquire about her manuscript purposal. The agent handles all of this.

Shalla: Any tips on writing the query letter?

Pamela: Someone once told me that an author has just three to five minutes to impress an agent or publisher with a query letter. So my first tip would be to make it stand out with a first line that will grab their attention. My second tip would be to make the query letter one page long. Don't go past two pages for a query letter.

Shalla: Do you have any references that can help with finding agents?

Pamela: I have been told that the RWA has a list of agents that they can give out to a writer. I went to the bookstore and bought a current book on agents.

Shalla: Do you recommend joining contests?

Pamela: Yes, I do. I entered a contest with my third manuscript and it won first place.

Shalla: Do you recommend conferences? (If yes) Which ones?

Pamela: I have never been able to go to a conference before but I have been told that they are wonderful to go to. From what other authors have told me The Romantic Times Conference and The National RWA Conference are great.

Shalla: Finally, what would you say is the best and worst reason to have an agent?

Pamela: The best reason to have an agent would be because they usually know more about the publishers and what they are looking for in manuscripts to publish. If a writer doesn't have an agent then she/he has to do all the leg work in finding out which publishing house would be suitable for their manuscript.

Shalla: Thanks so much! For more on Pamela Waller, please visit her website at:

We at Shalla Chats send you the best of luck.  I'm sure your story will be an inspiration to many aspiring writers out there.

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Shalla de Guzman
Shalla de Guzman

Shalla DeGuzman, a former writer and producer of a health and fitness cable show, is currently writing a novel. She is President of The ShallaDeGuzman Writers Group where she interviews literary agents, publishers, editors, etc. 

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