Wednesday, 16 March 2011

How I Got My Agent: Guest Post by Ian Bontems

Hi there.

Kate kindly asked me to visit her blog and explain just how on earth I got my agent, John Rudolph of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.

THE HOUSE OF MIRRORS was the first novel I’d ever written and I’d been querying for a month or so (and receiving a steady trickle of various types of rejections), when I decided that my query letter wasn’t up to snuff and had to be re-written. Yep, I’m a classic example of the writer that jumped the gun (but hey, at least I’d finished and revised the book I was querying, that’s got to count for something). Around about this time, I heard about a new agent, one that seemed to be exactly what I was looking for.

I got the heads-up from here: It’s a great resource to keep you informed about new agents (but take note, it’s based in the USA, and so are all the agents that Chuck mentions).

But before I sent off that spanking new query letter, I did my stalking *ahem* ‘research,’ and dug up some old interviews John did back when he was an editor for Simon & Schuster, Putnam and Penguin. John Rudolph was new, but had loads of experience in publishing as an editor of children’s books and to be honest, sounded pretty cool.

Stalking done, I shipped off my latest query on a wing and a prayer and waited.

I got a standard email back saying I may have to wait 6-8 weeks for a response. No problem, I thought and filed it away with all the others on my little query spreadsheet and carried on writing, half expecting the answer to be negative.

Colour me surprised when the request for the full came soon after.

I’d read blogs that told me to be prepared to wait months for a response to the full, but John got back to me a week later saying he was interested. We chatted via email where he proposed some very minor revisions. I agreed with his excellent suggestions and then John offered to represent my work.

So that’s my tale. I’m a British writer with an American agent who has an MG novel out on submissions and is currently writing a YA epic fantasy with assassins and female soldiers who can ignite their swords with magical fire.

Thanks for reading.

You can find out more about Ian and his writing over at Ian's blog - The Eye of a Little God


  1. Lovely post! It's so intriguing to me how people land their agents--everyone has such a different story! Congrats, Ian!

  2. I always love reading the success stories. Every journey is a bit different, but they all contain the vital ingredient--perseverance.

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse


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