Whilst I am a massive fan of the self-publishing route, I get many requests from authors for advice on finding a literary agent.
A literary agent is a professional agent, who works on behalf of authors in dealing with publishers and promotional work. If you wish to become a truly successful author, then finding the right literary agent is very important. In this blog, we’ll show you how to go about finding the right agent for YOU.
Why do I need a literary agent?
Finding a literary agent is very important for a numbers of reasons. Firstly, the best literary agents have great connections.
What this means is that by hiring the right literary agent, you will significantly improve your chances of it being read by a bigger publisher.
As you will probably be aware, it’s incredibly hard to get your work noticed or recognised by top level publishers – as they receive hundreds or even thousands of manuscripts every single day. Most publishers won’t even look at unsolicited manuscripts.
Therefore, any edge you can take is a huge advantage. Secondly, literary agents have a fantastic understanding of the publishing industry as a whole. While you are the expert on writing your book, agents are the experts of promoting, selling and marketing it; and therefore can provide you with invaluable advice and guidance.
How To Find A Literary Agent
So, how do you go about finding an agent? Let’s take a look at the steps required:
-Step 1. Write your book. The first thing you need to do before you can start looking for a literary agent is to actually write your book. The reason that you need to do this first is that when you are advertising or trying to sell yourself to agents, you’ll need to provide them with a part of manuscript.
This will allow them to see what type of work you write, and whether you are of the quality or standard required for them to work with you. Remember the agencies get sent hundreds of manuscripts per day, from authors desperate for guidance. This means that your work needs to be at its best for when you send it in.
-Step 2. Find an advertiser. The next step is to find a reputable site or agency, with a verified list of agencies. Sites such as Agent Hunter are a great way to do this, and contain a whole database full of professional agents. You can filter agents via detailed categories, including level of experience, genre, personal preferences and more. Our advice is to select 5 agents from a list, and then arrange them into order of preference.
-Step 3. Write a cover letter and book synopsis. Once you’ve selected your agents, the next step is to write up a cover letter and book synposis for your manuscript. As we’ve explained, agents can sometimes get sent hundreds of manuscripts per day. What this means is that they will need to be persuaded to read yours. The best way to do this is with a cover letter and book synopsis. For advice on how to write these, check out our blog on the subject.
-Step 4. Rejection hurts. It’s hard to find an agent, but be patient. Almost every writer will face rejection at some point in their career, whether that’s from agents or publishers. What’s important is that you realise this, and carry on regardless.
Don’t be put off by getting rejected, because it will happen, you just need to carry on regardless. If the first 5 or 6 agents on your list reject you, send the work off to the next 6, and then the next 6 after that.
-Step 5. Meet your agent. Once you have secured 1 or 2 offers from agents, it’s time to meet them. This is the part where you decide which agent is the best for you/whether the agents have replied are the right fit.
This is the easy part of the process, as it can be conducted in a warm and friendly environment, and you’ll be able to make decisions which benefit the promotion of your book.