Q: I’ve been told the best time to find the agent you want is when you have an editor wanting your book. But to contact an editor you need an agent. How do those two bits of advice compute? Do they apply to already well-published writers? -Daphne
A: It’s true that agents like to hear that an editor is already interested in a project (it makes our job a bit easier, of course), but this situation is a relatively rare one. In some cases it’s the result of a writer meeting an editor at a conference, or through a mutual acquaintance–or perhaps an editor saw the writer’s work in a magazine or came across a previously published book.
If you’re a first-time author, then meeting a few editors at a writer’s conference might be a good experience, and of course it’s always a good idea to be building your resume through magazine and journal publication. But otherwise, it’s the agent’s job to know editors and be able to make those connections for you, so meeting editors shouldn’t be your primary concern.