Stellar advice from literary agent Dorian Karchmar of William Morris
Stumbled upon this fantastic interview on the Guide to Literary Agents: Editor's Blog, which includes the following spot-on advice for writers:
Don’t give in to internal and external pressures to try to find an agent before you’ve matured as a writer. The book business is very difficult and not getting any easier; most books that are published don’t sell well, and many careers end practically before they start.Can I get a amen? Read the rest here.
Write a book that only you could write, and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Be more patient and more honest with yourself than you ever thought you could be.
Find a couple of writers who you think are better than you are, ingratiate yourself with them, and start reading and workshopping each other. And ask them—beg them—to be merciless. Be humble and quiet while they give you feedback. Be prepared to cut, delete, throw away, put in a drawer.
Only when you’ve got your best possible work—something that can stand up there with the best of whatever genre you’re working in—should you start looking for the right agent to represent you. If you’ve got a terrific book, you should end up with plenty of good agents from which to choose, so don’t jump at the first person who says “yes.”
Put the good of the work before the good of your ego as much as you can.