Agents can help with editorial, legal, publicity, and other difficult issues.
It’s harder than ever to get into the traditional publishing industry but not impossible. For a good book to land the deal of a lifetime, it will need a literary agent to act as its guide, champion, and guardian angel.
Most traditional publishers don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts, so an agent could quite literally be the only way for you to access larger presses. More than that, agents can help with editorial, legal, publicity, and other difficult issues, so let’s take a look at how Reedsy can help you find your ideal agent.
1. Look Up Literary Agents In Your Genre
You’ll find that some genres, like children’s books and memoirs, have a larger pool of agencies to choose from, for example.
Look through Reedsy’s directory of literary agents and their details, especially the genres they accept. Compile a list of the most promising. You can also explore other platforms, like Writers and Artists, for reliable professionals.
2. Research Literary Agents More Closely
Read each agent’s policies and guidelines. See how successful their previous clients are. Can you see yourself in their shoes?
The aim is to narrow down the previous list, but you’re not just searching for the right attitude or success story. You also want to spot scammers, which is why it’s a good idea to use curated directories of trustworthy professionals.
For example, Reedsy’s article on finding a literary agent warns against services with upfront fees. Apart from immediate red flags, also look at agents’ credentials, online presence, and what people say about them in forums or social media.
You can also use networking and research tools on LinkedIn to more thoroughly research each agent’s credentials. You’ll also come across experts, fellow writers, and industry insights that could make a difference in your publishing journey on that platform.
3. Write Tailored Query Letters
Once you have a shortlist, prepare a query letter for each agent. If you want to stand out, you’ll need to ensure your letter is personalized and presented professionally. Reedsy’s service for query letter reviews can help.
First, pay attention to submission guidelines. For example, while most genres simply require an extract in addition to their letter, in nonfiction such as memoirs, a book proposal is an essential part of the querying process, as Reedsy explains.
Gather as much information as you can about the agents and tailor your submissions so they don’t feel impersonal or mass-produced.
4. Choose An Agent Who ‘Gets’ You
Wait for responses to your queries and don’t hesitate to politely follow up when necessary. After agents get back to you, sort through their offers, making sure your assessment is based on your specific needs.
Cost is a good place to start as the more responsibilities an agent has, the higher their commission might be. On the other hand, an agent with plenty of experience representing authors in your genre could make up for a higher commission fee with relevant experience.
Most of all, you want an agent who resonates with you. Whether you’re looking for someone friendly, creative, or down to business, get a feel for each person’s workflow and how well they’re likely to understand your vision.
Perfect Your Book While Hunting for Literary Agents
Seeking representation can be frustrating if you receive many negative responses, but don’t lose hope. It may be that your manuscript needs a little bit more work before it reaches its full potential, so keep fine-tuning it and consider hiring one of Reedsy’s professional editors before querying again.
Apart from a space to type out your narrative, you get tools that transform it according to publishing industry standards.
About The Author