As a New York Times best-selling author and five-time Bram Stoker Award winner, Jonathan Maberry is an encyclopedia of knowledge when it comes to the storytelling business. He’s written comic books, magazine articles, plays, anthologies, novels and more. And while he wouldn’t call himself a screenwriter, this writer does have onscreen projects in the works. V-Wars, based on Jonathan’s best-selling franchise by the same name, is headed for Netflix this year. And Alcon Entertainment just bought the TV and film rights to Rot & Ruin, Jonathan’s young adult zombie fiction series.
We had the privilege of interviewing Jonathan at the Central Coast Writer’s Conference. He offered up tips specific to authors, but applicable to screenwriters as well, including an answer to one of the most common questions we hear: how do I get an agent? Watch his response below and consider using the same technique in your screenwriting representation search.
“Finding an agent is a little tricky, and there’s a lot of ways to do it wrong, and there are a couple of ways to do it right.
The simplest way, would be to subscribe, let’s say, to publishersmarketplace.com. It’s pretty much the only site for writers I agree with. But it tracks almost all of the deals in publishing, and each deal listing lists the agent who represented it and the editor who bought it. And their names are clickable links. So you can do a keyword search: say you wanted to write an action western, you can search action westerns and you can find out who’s representing those types right now, who’s buying them right now, and you can go click through to their sites and see what kind of books they’re looking for, what their submission guidelines are, and so forth and so on. That’s probably the most effective way of finding an agent, is to create a targeted list, as opposed to this scattershot approach. It allows you to be precise and not waste your own time, so it helps your career advance a lot more quickly.”
And we all want our careers to advance more quickly, right?
For screenwriters, we’d recommend using Jonathan’s approach with a slight tweak: find the people who are making the movies that are most like your story ideas. Find writers who are like you – in style, genre, experience - and see who’s representing them. IMBd Pro is a great resource for tracking down this information.
Best of luck with your search,
Courtney Meznarich, Director of Community Outreach