Writing to an agent can be a daunting task. People often feel the need to give their whole life story in one cover page because they are so keen to impress (not the way to do it). Before we get into cover letters, there are a few things you should bear in mind. First of all, check the agents website to find out if their books are open, and how they like to be approached. In most cases you will write to them by email.
I’ve learned a lot speaking to and interviewing agents and this is what they say:
Agents are busy
Agents likely already have full books
Agents receive tons of submissions every day
You likely need the agent more than the agent needs you (supply and demand)
With that in mind, when writing your covering letter or email you need to keep it brief. There’s no need to include all your experience in your cover letter (they can read your cv/resume). Instead, you want to highlight certain points that will peak their interest in you.
Things you should say:
That you are seeking representation and why you chose them (I saw your website, I’ve heard good things about you etc.). Also, why you are seeking representation (new graduate, new to the city, changing agents, etc)
Your key selling points: I’m a high tenor, I play 6 instruments and I’m a strong dancer (this is important because they may not have a lot of people on their books who fit that criteria.
Sign off with “I look forward to hearing from you” and of course attach your cv/resume, photo and Spotlight link (if you have one).
If you have recently finished a production make sure you mention that, and include any reviews you may have.
Things not to do:
Lie about how you know about them. Don’t use a false recommendation. (they will check)
Write an essay (no one has time). Remember agents are very busy. Get to the point.
Attach large hi-res photo or video files. These take up space and can be hard to open. You need to make it quick and easy for the agent to access your material.
Finally, give the agent sufficient time to respond (2-4 weeks), before you chase them. Bare in mind you may not receive a response at all. If they respond and would like to meet you, stay tuned for my next tip ‘What to say in the Interview”.