How to find literary agents

Writing a book is hard, and after laboring for what is often years to get your story completed, running the gauntlet for publishing can be demoralizing. Instead of approaching a publishing house directly or even sending your book to every publishing house on the planet, work with a literary agent to increase your chance of success. While you still will have to be patient and knock on doors, working with an agent will help to streamline the process. Today we will cover how to find a literary agent to help you get your book published.

Figure Out Where Your Book Fits In Publishing

There are a lot of different genres and knowing which genre your book will fit into best will help you find a literary agent that can help you get published. If there is a sub-genre, it is a good idea to further narrow down your choices to help find an agent to help represent you more effectively. Think about the style of your book, how you write, who your target audience is, and if there is an author that your writing style emulates.

Look For An Agent That Works With Books Like Yours

There are thousands of literary agents out there, but they are not all experts at selling every genre of book. The best way to connect and hire a literary agent is by targeting a curated list of around 20-25 agents who have worked with books from your genre or those that are similar in style to your writing. Avoid pitching to agents who only vaguely match your criteria because chances are they either won’t be interested in taking you on as a client or if they do, your book may sit in limbo due to poor marketing.

Search For Agents In The Right Place

There are a lot of different places to find and connect with literary agents, however, the best two places to look in on the Publisher’s Marketplace and Query Tracker. If you are looking for a free search option, Query Tracker is going to be your best friend, but go ahead and set some time aside to narrow down your search manually. Publisher’s Marketplace is a paid service, but it only costs $25 a month, and with the right searches you can find an agent within a couple of months making it a smart, yet minimal investment. To boost your search efforts, you can check out Writer’s Digest and Manuscript Wish List to look further into agents who make it onto your shortlist.

Create Personalized Query Letters

Your book has to give readers a good impression in order to convince them to keep reading, the same goes for attracting an agent. Think of your query letter as an introduction to both you and your writing. You have just a few lines to capture the attention of the agent, and then sell your idea, which is your book. We understand that sending out 20-30 letters or more can get pretty tedious in a hurry. While you may be tempted to send everyone the same letter, it is important to personalize the letter for each and every agent. Let them know what makes them different and why you think that their services in particular will help you reach your publishing goals.

Send In Batches & Follow Up

Send out your letters in batches of 5 or 10. Give agents about three weeks to get back to you in one way or another. If you have yet to hear anything, follow up with another letter, and email, or even a phone call. With a bit of dedicated effort and an ounce of luck, you will land an amazing literary agent that can help you get published in no time.