Most writers will agree that writing a book is a fun process, with creating fictional characters, doing loads of interesting research and the whole creative process of weaving the plot in with the character's growth, but it also involves a lot of work to get it published.
One of those steps is to get a literary agent. There are thousands of literary agents in the literary world, but you do not want to go for just any agent. A writer should look for agents who specialize in books that are similar to that of their manuscripts. They have to research for the right literary agent that represents certain genres.
If you want to find literary agents that represent authors in the genre or topic that you are writing in, where do you turn to? Here are a few hints, tricks and best practices for how and where aspiring writers can find a suitable literary agent and begin their journey towards getting their book or novel manuscript.
1. Google For Literary Agents
In the world of the digital age, the first place that most new authors turn to in order to find agents is Google. Searching for the right terms will help to optimize your chances of finding an agent this way. Looking for agents with terms such as “(your genre) literary agents” or “literary agents for (your genre) writers” is one way to approach it.
Chances are that a fair amount of your results will be either lists of agents or databases. These can be helpful to browse as they will give you multiple options all in one place. But do not use only one list, get a variety of lists. Databases will be great once it becomes time to further research the agents so make sure to bookmark these when you come across them.
There is nothing wrong with this, but it can take time and you will have to go through a fair amount of search results.
2. Attend Writing Conferences
Writing conferences happen around the world every year and agents from all over attend these conferences. Taking the time to attend writing conferences is a great way to get your name out there and to meet agents. Most conferences include the ability to meet with agents to pitch your book, when it comes time to write your query letter, this pitch can be a great way to get your face in their mind.
Even if you don’t get an agent who is interested in your pitch, you are still gaining experience and networking within the literary world. Just talking with the agent will help you to learn more about your story, how to describe it to a professional, and in many cases will result in feedback from the agent to help prepare you for future opportunities. See our workshops on how to pitch your writing to agents.
3. Research Authors Similar to You
A great way to find agents who are specifically interested in writing like yours is to research authors that write in the same genre as you. Google these authors and you will be able to find their agents. Add these agents to your list.
4. Narrowing Down Your Literary Agent List
After following those three steps you should be left with a list of agents that you are interested in. It is time to take that list and break it down to find out which ones you should query. Using Google and writing databases research each agent to find out more about what they are looking for, or if they are even accepting new queries. It can help to take notes while you are researching the agents so that you can write queries that are personalized to each.
With the completion of the last step you will have a list of agents that may potentially be interested in your manuscript. Now it is time to start writing query letters to each literary agent you decide you want to reach out to. Wondering how to write a query letter? Take a look at our workshop on a query letter critique.
5. Is Your Writing Agent-Ready?
If you're convinced your writing is ready to be placed in front of an agent and you want to fast-track your submission to get in front of a literary agent and you want to 'base-jump' the queues, take a look at our Agent-Ready Boot Camp, where you submit your writing to us for feedback, we give you some suggestions for improvement, you then rework the text and resubmit it to us. When select submissions to be sent out to our large list of literary agents who are keen to see more of our submissions.