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Getting Rejected By Literary Agents? Here’s What To Do Next

All writers face rejection. But what if you’ve sent your book to well over fifteen literary agents or small publishers and still aren’t getting anywhere? What do you do?   As a writer who has faced exactly this MANY times, I want to let you know that this doesn’t mean it is over. Not by any means. There are things you can do to continue working towards publication, even if that doesn’t feel possible right now.   So – let’s look at the options available to you.   Option 1: Edit The Crap Out Of This Book So maybe you have an idea here that agents seemed to be excited about, but you were getting feedback on something like ‘unlikable characters’, or ‘lack of voice’.  Fortunately, this is something that can be fixed with some hard work and perhaps even a bit of help from other people.   The first thing to do is to identify what parts of your book as it stands aren’t really working. This can be difficult in itself because a lot of agents don’t have the time to deliver feedback. You could be getting standard rejections, with no idea why.   This is where something like a Manuscript Assessment might come in handy. An experienced editor will read your entire book and give you a detailed report on what is working and what isn’t. You can then use this as a base to look at your book as objectively as you can, and ask yourself if that is something you are able, or willing to fix. This is a REALLY IMPORTANT QUESTION that we’ll explore a little more in the next section.   But let’s say your feedback is mainly that your idea is brilliant, but your execution needs work. And you think you are able to do that work. What next?   Now, the real work begins. And it’s worth knowing from the off that re-writing a book is hard. First drafts are a doddle compared to it, because you have a blank page and a whole world of opportunity to write something awesome. So my personal tip for big re-writes is exactly that – start a new document. Learn from your old draft (and copy/paste some sections if they are working), but give yourself the space to write the book you are trying to write, rather than getting bogged down with what you already have.   There are people who can help at this stage, too. JW\'s brilliant Self-Edit Your Novel course was created specifically for this purpose. You can work with a tutor and a small group of writers in the same boat as you to identify and fix the issues with your book. With 1-in-5 alumni now published, it’s fair to say that it works!  Once you have something you are pleased with, send it out again to new agents, or any agents who have asked to see any changes again. You can also test it out with some competitions and see how far you get this time! Or if it\'s help with your submission pack that you\'re looking for, then try our agent submission pack review. Option 2: Write Another Book   This is my personal favourite option. I found myself in this very position three times before my debut novel was published, and I 100% stand by my decision to ditch every single one of those three books.   The thing was, that although each of those three lost books were good, they just weren’t good enough. The writing in my first book was dire – but then it would be – I was completely new to writing and I hadn’t learned the basics yet. My second book I think might have been a masterpiece, but wow – was it problematic. That book will never find a publisher because it couldn’t be marketed. And my third novel was fun, but I knew before I’d even finished that it just wasn’t special.   Your book needs to be absolutely mind-blowing to stand a chance in this market. It needs to have an original concept, brilliant characters, a striking voice and a plot that will keep readers turning pages. Nothing less is good enough.   I mentioned earlier that there was a REALLY IMPORTANT QUESTION you needed to ask yourself. And that is: ‘Is this book really good enough? Or can I write something better?’   I know it can be hard to say goodbye to a project without really seeing an end to it. But it isn’t wasted time. Every book you write will take you one step closer to one that will launch your author career. So write another book. And if that’s not right, write another. And know that once you get published, you will keep needing to write, write and write some more – it never stops.   But that’s okay. Because we’re in this because we enjoy it, right?!  For anyone wanting to write another book and ensure their idea is marketable right from day one this time, then I recommend joining the Ultimate Novel Writing Course. This is ultimate for a reason.   Option 3: Self-Publish  Now this one comes with a big BUT. Self-Publishing IS an option, BUT it is NOT a last resort because you couldn’t get a traditional publishing deal.   Self-publishing takes a great deal of time, passion and dedication if it is going to work. It only works if you are willing to write book after book (preferably in the same world/series) and you accept the fact that you probably won’t sell any of this first book until after your third or fourth have come out.   To self-publish properly, you need to be a writing machine. You also need to learn everything you can about what it takes to become an indie author. You need to invest time and money into it, and so you need to be 100% sure that you are willing to do that.   If you are, then great. This is a fantastic option that should have perhaps been your option 1. You’ll earn more money from your books, have more of a say in how they are presented and engage with your readers in a way traditional authors can’t. Whatever option you choose, know that rejection doesn’t mean the end. If publication really is something you want, then get ready to roll up your sleeves and work for it. Read everything, learn everything and write the best book you possibly can. If you want it, you’ll get there.   Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Literary Agents For Travel Non-Fiction

So you’ve written a travel memoir and want to find an agent to represent it? Easier said than done, because there are so many agents, with so many preferences and requirements, so many different sites to explore and notes to take. If you’re writing a travel tome, it also needs to set itself apart. Think about what makes books like Into the Wild, Eat Pray Love, or Under the Tuscan Sun appealing to readers. We’ve at least made your agent search easy through AgentMatch. Agentmatch And How To Use It On AgentMatch, there are plenty of travel-loving agents, and you won’t want to approach them all. The best way to develop and refine your own shortlist of likely targets is to visit our page and use the search tools on the left to make your selection. You can select by genre (e.g. travel) but you can also select by the agent’s level of experience, their appetite for new clients, and very much more. Our database is completely comprehensive and it’s really, really easy to create the searches you want. This site is designed to give users a good feel for the data and functionality for free, but the real riches of our site are available only to members. Become a member. Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

US Agents For Romance

From Jane Austen and onwards, romantic fiction is one of the most popular of all genres. There are plenty of romance-loving agents but finalising your agent shortlist can be a painstakingly long, dull task. Unless you’re using AgentMatch, that is.   After selecting your country (we advise that US based authors should query US based agents), genre or non-fiction subject areas, you’ll receive a personalised list of suitable agent profiles. You can save your search results and work through them one by one, at your own pace. We’ve done all the work for you: scoured the four corners of the web for every interview, interesting fact, and noteworthy quote, it’s all there.   So, if you want to get to know the agents below (as well as the other 900+ literary agents!) a little better, then take out our 7-day free trial and get searching.  Jessica Alvarez Rachel Beck Beth Campbell Susanna Einstein Thao Le Nikki Terpilowski Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein  Need more information? We break everything down in our guide to finding a literary agent – it’s invaluable for all querying authors! Agents Looking For Romance Authors Although Romance is a popular genre, it hasn’t necessarily always got the respect it deserves. Romance is generally used in modern publishing to distinguish between ‘women’s fiction’ (this is fairly literary, upmarket and serious) from ‘romance.’ A term normally associated with happily mass-market brands such as Mills & Boon and Black Lace, as well as fun, frolicky romances from big publishers.  As the genre is so broad, it’s not enough to simply look for agents with an interest in women’s fiction. You need to find those who are expressly interested in fiction at the more commercial end of the market. You can find the agents interested in representing Romance here, on AgentMatch. Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

How To Get A US Agent For Your Crime Thriller

There’s a common misconception that if you’re a crime or thriller writer you need an agent who focuses solely on those genres. But agents typically have eclectic tastes and like to diversify their list. If you go to a leading crime agent, you may just become one in a number of crime authors. But, if you find an agent who appeals to you and whose client list is a little light on crime titles, then your book could be just what they’re looking for. US Crime And Thriller Agents There are plenty of ways to figure out which agents represent your genre but finalising your shortlist can be a painstakingly long, dull task. Unless you’re using AgentMatch, that is.   We’ve done all the hard work for you: scoured the four corners of the web for every interview, interesting fact, and noteworthy quote, it’s all there. So, why not take out our 7-day free trial to get complete access to all the US literary agent profiles. After selecting your country (we advise that US based authors query US based agents), genre or non-fiction subject, you’ll receive a personalised list of suitable agent profiles. Save your search results and work through them one by one, at your own pace. Here’s a few crime/thriller agents to get you started: Jessica Alvarez Amelia Appel Noah Ballard Rachel Beck  Danielle Egan-Miller  Donald Mass  Evan Marshall  Kiana Nguyen Joy Tutela Need more information? We break everything down in our guide to finding a literary agent – it’s invaluable for all querying authors!  How To Target Submissions It’s important that you find an agent that is interested in representing crime or thriller novels. A little targeting of potential agents is fine, as long as you don’t overdo it. There are two things that we always advise querying authors to consider, when they’re searching for agents:  Check who represents your favourite author. Even if your favourite author writes women’s fiction or literary fiction, you may find that you and the agent share a taste for a certain kind of writing and have something in common. Research agents that represent good but lesser known authors in your genre. If you were to query Dan Brown’s agent, for instance, that would certainly be a waste of time as his desk would undoubtedly be covered in various conspiracy-thriller-manuscripts. Whereas, if you find a pool of talented thriller authors that haven’t yet hit the big time, those agents are more likely to be open to seeing submissions from querying authors.  If you’re still convinced that the only way to publication is through a Very Well-Known Agent, then have a think about this:  The Very Well-Known Agent will have a long list of Big-Name clients (sometimes over a hundred!). Do you want to be the least important on that list? A Very Well-Known Agent may not be looking for debut writers at all. Any additions to their client list will likely be established authors moving agencies. Selling a book to a publisher, isn’t rocket science. If the agent is competent and can sell a literary novel, for example, then they have all the skills to sell any other genre too. If an agent’s contacts are weak in one area, then after a few phone calls that’s easily rectified. The exception being fantasy or science fiction and children’s fiction; both markets are pretty specialist. Publishers want to find wonderful, saleable books. They won’t care who the agent is that submits it to them. All that matters is that a) the editor loves the manuscript, and b) enough other people in the company love it, too. Ultimately, all that really matters is your writing.  You can read up on more tips for crime and thriller writing, here. If you’re writing a police procedural crime novel, then this article on researching those procedures is everything you need to read today!  Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

US Agents For Popular Science

Looking for an agent that represents popular science non-fiction work? Then look no further, we answer all your questions here. Plus, we’ll even introduce a few agents you should query! There are plenty of ways to figure out which agents represent your genre but finalising your shortlist can be a painstakingly long, dull task. Unless you’re using AgentMatch, that is.     We’ve done all the hard work for you: scoured the four corners of the web for every interview, interesting fact, and noteworthy quote, it’s all there. So, why not take out our 7-day free trial to get complete access to all the US literary agent profiles.   After selecting your country (we advise that US based authors query US based agents), genre or non-fiction subject, you’ll receive a personalised list of suitable agent profiles. Save your search results and work through them one by one, at your own pace. Here’s some names to get you started:  Jessica Alvarez   Danielle Egan-Miller Regina Brooks  Annie Hwang Jody Kahn  Adam Schear Frank Weimann  Cindy Uh Need more information? We break everything down in our guide to finding a literary agent – it’s invaluable for all querying authors!  The Market Authors of popular science and psychology are more popular than ever. Stephen Hawking, Oliver Sacks and Michio Kaku, to name a few.   Regardless of the ebook revolution and its impact on the publishing market, it remains the case that for countless areas of the book trade that traditional publishers still dominate. Your most likely route to those publishers will be via literary agents.  It’s important to remember that no agents only specialise in popular science. Your agent is likely to represent a range of areas including serious and topical non-fiction, fiction, as well as other lighter non-fiction subjects, too. This doesn’t mean that your agent won’t have the necessary connections. He or she will have them and will be motivated to place your work in the best (and most lucrative) place possible.  Best of luck!  Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

US Agents For Food & Cookery Books

The food and cookery market remains a dependable corner of the book market. Agents Representing Food And Cookery Books There are plenty of cookery-loving agents but finalising your agent shortlist can be a painstakingly long, dull task. Unless you’re using AgentMatch, that is.   After selecting your country (we advise that US based authors should query US based agents), genre or non-fiction subject areas, you’ll receive a personalised list of suitable agent profiles. You can save your search results and work through them one by one, at your own pace. We’ve done all the work for you: scoured the four corners of the web for every interview, interesting fact, and noteworthy quote, it’s all there.   So, if you want to get to know the agents below (as well as the other 900+ literary agents!) a little better, then take out our 7-day free trial and get searching.  Rica Allannic  Jennifer Chen Tran  Mark Gottlieb  Sandy Lu Amanda Jain   Deborah Schneider Need more information? We break everything down in our guide to finding a literary agent – it’s invaluable for all querying authors! THE MARKET This is an area dominated by full-colour, hard-copy books. The ebook revolution has done little to change the basic market. Which is good news.  The bad news is that this means the market dynamics are very challenging for debut authors in this area. A sure-fire way to get a cookbook published is to have a TV show first. Or a column in a national newspaper. Or, you’re a celebrity. But for ordinary cookery writers, it is hard to get published. It’s hard to get publishers interested enough to invest in a book, not only because the high production quality means that a book needs to shift a lot of copies to break into profit.  There are still opportunities for new debut writers. Especially if you are an expert in an under-explored area of food and drink.  Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

UK Literary Agents: Links To Over 300 Of The Best

Congratulations! You\'ve finally finished your manuscript and now you\'re looking for a literary agent who represents authors just like you. So where do you start? Perhaps, like most writers looking to submit their book proposal, you\'ve heard of a few well-known agencies. Perhaps you\'ve been on Twitter or read the trade press and seen references to Curtis Brown, Darley Anderson Literary, Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency, Peter Straus, Juliet Mushens, Soho Agency, the Bent agency, Marsh Agency, or Eve White. These are all big names in the book world, literary agents and agencies who have achieved some great deals over the last few years for many award winning authors. It makes sense you would start there. But then, perhaps you\'ve looked at their websites, been overwhelmed by the established writers they represent and the bestselling authors they\'ve achieved huge advances for, and started to lose confidence. Or, as is often the case, seen that your favourite agent is no longer accepting submissions and you\'ve given up. Never give up! There are hundreds of literary agents in the UK, and this article lists the top (and best) agents. So if you\'re in the UK and looking for a UK-based agent you\'re in luck, because this is the only article where you\'ll find up to date links of every single one of the UK\'s best literary agents. For FREE! Find your perfect UK agent Literary Agents: All You Need To Know In this article we\'re going to guide you through everything you need to know about finding a UK literary agent - from agent submission guidelines to fiction submissions, how to write a covering letter to understanding genre when it comes to choosing your agent. Here are the 8 simple steps you need to take when searching for a UK literary agent: Understand what an agent doesKnow your genreDecide who to approachCreate a shortlistWrite a synopsisWrite a query letterLook at our Frequently Asked QuestionsAnd finally...Check out our links to the UK\'s top agents and start making notes! And if you actually want a list of US literary agents, then you need to be here instead. What Does An Agent Do? Literary agents are the gatekeepers of the book world. This can be a bitter sweet reality because, although they weed out books that aren\'t a good fit for traditional publishing, they are also the people standing between you, a top publishing house, and your dream of becoming a bestseller. When it comes to traditional publishing - especially the Big Four (Penguin Random House, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, and the Hachette Book Group) - no editor will look at an author\'s book proposal unless it comes from one of many reputable literary agencies. So if you have fantasies of your novel making it to Waterstones shop window, or for sale in supermarkets and airports, or if you want to be a Sunday Times Bestseller with your story turned into a movie via a film agency, then you will need to be with a big publisher. And if that\'s the case, then you need an agent. Literary agents are salespeople - they take you on (not just for this book but YOU as an author) and they cheerlead you all the way to the editors who they feel will suit you and your work best. The idea is that they will help shape your career, you will work together for many books to come, so this relationship needs to work! But before you decide who to approach, you need to understand why book genres matter, and why you need to know how to sell your work - whether it\'s literary fiction, science fiction, or narrative non fiction. Why Are Genres Important When Choosing Literary Agents? Genres are the themes and categories in which a book is placed. All debut authors will tell you that you can\'t sell a book to an agency without knowing where your work fits in terms of positioning (ie where would a bookseller will place it on their shelves). What you write matters when it comes to finding the right agent, because each one represents authors and books from specific genres. The quickest way to get a rejection is to approach an agent who isn\'t looking for a book like yours. Let me break this down some more... If you write YA fiction (ie young adult fiction) you may find an agent who could also represent your graphic novel, middle grade book or picture books, as they may specialise in a diverse range of children\'s books. Many authors write books for children of all ages. Same goes with commercial fiction, such as psychological suspense, crime fiction, and thrillers. This genre (along with romance) is one of the best selling genres, so you will find agents who only specialise in those kinds of books. Likewise, if you write historical fiction, that agent may also represent a broad range of books generally enjoyed by a female demographic across many genres, such as reading group fiction and women\'s fiction. There\'s plenty of cross-over there, which gives an author flexibility when it comes to writing more than one type of book during their writing career - lessening the chance of having to look for another agent in the future. So make sure you know what type of book you have written (and intend to write in the future), what books and authors it could be classified alongside (these are called \'comps\'), and who the audience is. If you don\'t know that from the onset, not only will you struggle to find the right agent but you will also struggle writing your submissions to them. How Do I Know Which Literary Agents To Approach? The fact that there are over 400 literary agents in the UK can be overwhelming. Where do you begin? You can jump straight to our list of agents or keep reading. The simplest place to start is dismissing the ones that are not right for you. But don\'t get too worried about finding ones near to where you live. Most UK agencies have a London office - because that\'s where most publishers are - but with Zoom and the like, you will still maintain a great relationship with them from wherever you are in the country. Get Filtering By using our AgentMatch service (or a good old fashioned pen and paper), filter out the agents who represent your genre of book, who have an MS Wish List that sound like your book, and who are open to submissions (many get so inundated they only accept applications in short bursts). Once you know who you want, then let\'s take a look at the ones who may want you... Find UK Literary Agents Who Want You You need to approach literary agents who are keen to hear from people like you. It’s pointless wasting your energy on the rest. That means you want UK literary agents who: Are open to submissions in your genreWelcome submissions from new writers via their slushpile (this sounds scarier than it is, it just means adding your submission to their large pile of other unsolicited applications) That’s a good start, but most agents are interested in reading a diverse range of books, so now your longlist is, like, 100+ names long. Yikes! So let\'s whittle it away further... Find UK Literary Agents YOU Want Take your longlist and pick out any UK literary agents that you especially like the sound of: Maybe they represent some of your favourite authors in your genres.Or they represent a favourite author in a different genre.Or they don’t represent a particular favourite writer of yours, but they have commented admiringly on that author.You have particular reason to like or admire the agent’s literary agency.They share a passion of yours.They made a comment in a blog / on YouTube / at our Festival of Writing / or anywhere else . . . and for whatever reason that comment struck a chord in you.And it’s OK if your reason is dumb. Maybe you like an agent’s face (never underestimate a gut instinct)! Really, you’re just looking for points of contact that make sense given your (relatively scant) information resources. You are looking for about 12 names in total. Get Matched With Your Perfect Agent At Jericho Writers, we\'re the only membership group where members get access to the very best literary agents around the world. All are vetted, all information is up to date, and you can even book to speak to them one on one and ask them your questions. This article is just a little taster of how easy to can be to find the best literary agents for you with a Jericho Writers membership by filtering via genre, experience, size, location and name. Get matched with your perfect UK agent Draw Up A Shortlist Of Your Chosen Agents The best number of agents to focus on, at the beginning, is 12-15. Why? Fewer than that you\'re not giving yourself a chance (some agents may LOVE your book, but it may be too similar to something they already have or they simply don\'t have the time). But if you keep submitting after more than 15 rejections, with no concrete feedback and no full requests, it\'s much better to re-evaluate where you went wrong and keep those other agents up your sleeve than send something that isn\'t working to your top 50 candidates. Create A Spreadsheet Keeping track of your progress is important. In your spreadsheet add the date, their name, literary agency, email address, info about them and what they are looking for, space to add any feedback or notes, and colour code it. I used to use the following: Purple: Closed for submissionsRed: RejectionYellow: Full requestGreen: Offer That way you can see, at a glance, how you\'re getting on and whether you need to make edits, amends, or start again. The Importance Of Submission Guidelines Whether you write diverse fiction or popular science, commercial or non fiction, the best way to be rejected by any literary agent is to not follow their guidelines. READ THE GENERAL SUBMISSIONS GUIDELINES CAREFULLY! Most agents or associate agent ask for a Word document or pdf, many opt for Times New Roman font at 12pt. This may sound pedantic - but when you get over 3,000 manuscripts sent to you a year, you don\'t want to be reading a Powerpoint presentation in purple Comic Sans! Some will ask for sample chapters, others just the first few pages. Some are still accepting submissions via post, most are by email or their own online forms. Make sure you tick all the boxes! Write A Synopsis I\'ll keep this brief (we have many blogs on how to write a synopsis) but this is an important part of the submission process. A synopsis is a summary of your entire book, preferably on one page or 600-1,000 words. Most agents will generally ask for the first three chapters of your book / first ten thousand words / first thirty pages - along with a covering letter and a synopsis. From that they will know what you writing style is like, what the entire book is about, and who you are. If that whet\'s their appetite then they will ask for a full request - the entire manuscript. The simplest way to write a synopsis is to do so BEFORE you write your book (believe me, it\'s easier to write an 85,000 word novel based off a 600 word outline than the other way around). If not, then ensure your synopsis focusses on just the main characters, the keys beats of the plot, that it includes all twists and spoilers. It doesn\'t matter whether you write science fiction or narrative nonfiction, your outline needs to highlight the main point of your book and the order in which everything happens. Don\'t worry about it sounding boring (it\'s just an outline, it\'s not meant to be exciting) and don\'t be tempted to get carried away explaining your favourite amusing sub plot as you need to stick to the main outline. How To Write A Query Letter In short, a query letter (or \'covering letter\') is a simple introduction to what you\'re looking for, a brief summary of your book, and some info on you. Explain that you are looking for representation and why this agent is the right fit for you and your book.Add your one line book pitch and an intriguing premise. Including why you were inspoired to write it.Outline some relevant info about yourself (this is where you highlight any relevant writing experience, awards, education, background that adds strength to your writing career). For a more comprehensive guide on writing the perfect query letter, take a look here, or read our sample query letter. You can also get help on your query letter here, and your synopsis here. You can even get an overview of all your options on how to get published right here if you need it. Phew! Keep track of your agent search And if you STILL have questions... Frequently Asked Questions: UK Literary Agents How do I find a literary agent in the UK? The top UK literary agents are listed below. Keep scrolling! Or better yet, joing our AgentMatch service. How much do literary agents cost UK? Glad you asked that, because the answer is NOTHING. Never ever pay an agent out of your own pocket. They work purely on commissions (generally 15% for UK sales, 20% for film and abroad). they don\'t earn a penny from you until you earn. Who is the best literary agent for new authors? It\'s very hard to get on the books of a top agent who already represents established authors. So instead of aiming for the managing director of an agency, or literary agents who are already very busy, look at associate agents and newer names. Most have probably been trained by the big names, working at the same great agencies, but have more energy and time to focus on debut authors. How do I find a good literary agent? The answer to that is simple. Scroll down and take a look at our top UK agents.And if you STILL have questions, here is a super detailed, all you need to know about agents, article! Time to find your UK agent match Literary Agents: The Complete UK List The list below is a complete list of the top UK literary agents. Simply click on the links and discover the profile summaries for each agent. To get complete access to all data, click here and sign up for your FREE account. Sheila AblemanStephanie AdamMichael AlcockClare AlexanderJulian AlexanderDarley AndersonNelle AndrewDavinia Andrew LynchSusan ArmstrongFrances ArnoldIsabel AthertonBecky BagnellLisa BakerSarah BallardKate BarkerNicola BarrTim BatesVeronique BaxterDiana BeaumontEddie BellJune BellLorella BelliJohn BerlyneTina BettsVictoria BirkettNeil BlairPiers BlofeldFelicity BluntCamilla BoltonLuigi BonomiPhilippa BrewsterCharlie BrotherstoneJenny BrownPeter BuckmanKate BurkeJuliet BurtonSteve CalcuttRachel CalderCharlie CampbellGeorgina CapelAmber CaraveoMegan CarrollRebecca CarterRobert CaskieJames CatchpoleSarah ChalfantNicola ChangJennifer ChapmanMic CheethamCatherine ChoTeresa ChrisJennifer ChristieJulia ChurchillBen ClarkCatherine ClarkeAnne ClarkeMary ClemmeyAlexander CochranGill ColeridgeCharlotte ColwillClaire ConradKevin Conroy ScottClare ConvilleRachel ConwayJonathan ConwayJane Conway GordonGeraldine CookeGemma CooperSam CopelandJamie CowenPeter CoxNemonie Craven RoderickJulie CrispAnnette CrosslandSheila CrowleyCaroline DavidsonMeg DavisAnna DavisCaroline DawnayHilary DelamereCaspian DennisJoanna DevereuxElla Diamond KahnElise DillsworthIsobel DixonBroo DohertyAnne Marie DoultonIan DruryRobert DudleyRos EdwardsJon ElekBill EllisAnn EvansFaith EvansLisa EveleighNatasha FairweatherAriella FeinerPaul FeldsteinSusan FeldsteinHannah FergusonJulie FergussonSamantha FerrisJane FiniganEmma FinnPeter FischerJemima ForresterChelsey FoxWill FrancisLindsey FraserJulian FriedmannHelenka FuglewiczEugenie FurnissJuri GabrielNatalie GalustianLeslie GardnerGeorgia GarrettAdam GauntlettJonny GellerJames GillKerry GlencorseStephanie GlencrossGeorgia GloverDavid GodwinAnthony GoffBill GoodallAndrew GordonSophie Gorell BarnesJane Graham MawAnnette GreenChristine GreenVivien GreenLouise GreenbergKatie GreenstreetJane GregoryDavid GrossmanMarianne Gunn O ConnorAllan GuthrieCassian HallMargaret HaltonMatthew HamiltonBill HamiltonSamar HammamMargaret HanburyCaroline HardmanAnthony HarwoodJohn HavergalDavid HeadleyRupert HeathCarol HeatonAndrew HewsonJenny HewsonSophie HicksVictoria HobbsJodie HodgesHeather Holden BrownSally HollowayPenny HolroydeVanessa HoltKate HordernSarah HornsleyValerie HoskinsCharlotte HowardTanja HowarthClare HultonBen IllisJohn JarroldCara JonesRobin JonesLucy JuckesJane JuddYasmin KaneCarrie KaniaSimon KavanaghMariam KeenFrances KellyMolly Ker HawnCaradoc KingRobert KirbyPeter KnightAndrew KnightLizzy KremerLaurence LaluyauxSophie LambertLouise LamontSonia LandRowan LawtonSusanna LeaCat LedgerBarbara LevyFiona LindsayMandy LittleJonathan LloydPat LomaxLaura LongriggAndrew LownieMark LucasLucy LuckJennifer LuithlenPenny LuithlenNicky LundSarah LutyensAlice LutyensDavid LuxtonAngus MacDonaldLaura MacDougallJames Macdonald LockhartSarah MansonMatthew MarlandSylvie MarstonJoanna MarstonGaby MartinDuncan McAraKirsty McLachlanGill McLayEunice McMullenAnnabel MerulloCaroline MichelMadeleine MilburnNancy MilesRachel MillsPhilippa Milnes SmithAmy MitchellSilvia MolteniCaroline MontgomeryPaul MoretonJoanna MoultLisa MoylettIvan MulcahyToby MundyOliver MunsonJudith MurrayJuliet MushensJean NaggarKate NashRuth NeedhamGeraldine NicholPolly NolanAndrew NurnbergFaith OGradyHellie OgdenGabriele PantucciEmma PatersonPhilip PattersonJohn PawseyTony PeakeMaggie PearlstineClare PearsonJonathan PeggImogen PelhamCatherine PellegrinoNorah PerkinsFiona PetheramJuliet PickeringRichard PikeCarrie PlittKevin PocklingtonLesley PollingerAnna PowerShelley PowerAmanda PrestonAoife RiceDavid RidingRebecca RitchieGuy RoseKathryn RossZoe RossStephanie RoundsmithElizabeth RoyFelicity RubinsteinGeorgina RuffheadJonathan RuppinUli Rushby SmithGillie RussellLaetitia RutherfordJohn SaddlerDarryl SamaraweeraRosemary SandbergAlice SaundersJenny SavillMarilia SavvidesSandra SawickaRosemary ScoularRichard ScrivenerMike SharlandKate ShawElizabeth SheinkmanCaroline SheldonHannah SheppardCamilla ShestopalJulia SilkDorie SimmondsJeffrey SimmonsChristopher Sinclair StevensonDeborah Sinclair StevensonPhilippa SittersDavid SmithSusan SmithRobert SmithMark StantonElaine SteelRochelle StevensShirley StewartPeter StrausSarah SuchMandy SuhrAlex SullivanCathryn SummerhayesLaura SusijnAlice Sutherland-HawesKarolina SuttonJoanna SwainsonSallyanne SweeneyPeter TallackBecky ThomasLesley ThorneEuan ThorneycroftJon ThurleyStephanie ThwaitesAntony ToppingLavinia TrevorSimon TrewinJane TurnbullDiana TylerJo UnwinGilly VincentCharlie VineyRobin WadeZoë WaldieCharles WalkerClare WallacePatrick WalshCaroline WalshRebecca WatsonAnna WebberChris WellbeloveLaura WestIsabel WhiteEve WhiteAraminta WhitleyVicki Willden LebrechtAlice WilliamsAnne WilliamsLaura WilliamsSarah WilliamsJo WilliamsonJane WillisJames WillsEd WilsonClaire WilsonDonald WinchesterRebecca WinfieldGordon WiseCaroline WoodBryony WoodsJessica WoollardAndrew WylieSusan YearwoodClaudia YoungGeorgia de ChamberetJonathan Sissons Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer’s community. 

US Agents For Travel Non-Fiction

So, you’ve written a travel memoir and you’re ready to find an agent to represent it? There are plenty of travel-loving agents but finalising your agent shortlist can be a painstakingly long, dull task. Unless you’re using AgentMatch, that is.   After selecting your country (we advise that US based authors should query US based agents), genre or non-fiction subject areas, you’ll receive a personalised list of suitable agent profiles. You can save your search results and work through them one by one, at your own pace. We’ve done all the work for you: scoured the four corners of the web for every interview, interesting fact, and noteworthy quote, it’s all there.   So, if you want to get to know the agents below (as well as the other 900+ literary agents!) a little better, then take out our 7-day free trial and get searching.  William Clark  Rachel Dillon Fried   Wendy Levinson  Alison Mackeen  Dan Mandel  Need more information? We break everything down in our guide to finding a literary agent – it’s invaluable for all querying authors! Finding An Agent Finding an agent sounds much easier than it is. There are so many agents, with varying preferences and requirements, and so many sites to explore and notes to take. It can be a daunting task.  If you’re writing a travel book, it needs to set itself apart from others like it in the market. Take a look at Into the Wild, Eat Pray Love, or Under the Tuscan Sun, what sets them apart and makes them so appealing to readers? Bear this in mind when querying agents, and show them what makes your book unique. We’ve at least made your agent search easier with AgentMatch. Good luck! Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

US Literary Agents Representing Politics And Current Affairs

‘Non-fiction’ covers a wide range of subjects, and in this case, politics and current affairs offers a broad and eclectic market. There are plenty of ways to figure out which agents represent your genre but finalising your shortlist can be a painstakingly long, dull task. Unless you’re using AgentMatch, that is.     We’ve done all the hard work for you: scoured the four corners of the web for every interview, interesting fact, and noteworthy quote, it’s all there. So, why not take out our 7-day free trial to get complete access to all the US literary agent profiles.   After selecting your country (we advise that US based authors query US based agents), genre or non-fiction subject, you’ll receive a personalised list of suitable agent profiles. Save your search results and work through them one by one, at your own pace. Here’s some names to get you started:  Betsy Amster   Amy Elizabeth Bishop  Dado Derviskadic  Stuart Krichevsky  Rita Rosenkranz  Gordon Warnock  Howard Yoon Need more information? We break everything down in our guide to finding a literary agent – it’s invaluable for all querying authors!  If your book isn’t strictly about politics but about how society works, think Malcolm Gladwell, or similar to Michael Lewis and addresses specific aspects of how the world works, then agents within this category are likely a good match for you.  It’s important to remember that no agents only specialise in politics and current affairs. Your agent is likely to represent a range of areas including serious and topical non-fiction, fiction, as well as other lighter non-fiction subjects, too. This doesn’t mean that your agent won’t have the necessary connections. He or she will have them and will be motivated to place your work in the best (and most lucrative) place possible.  Good luck!  Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Literary Agents For Politics And Current Affairs

‘Non-fiction’ covers a wide range of subjects, and in this case, politics and current affairs offers a broad and eclectic market. There are plenty of ways to figure out which agents represent your genre but finalising your shortlist can be a painstakingly long, dull task. Unless you’re using AgentMatch, that is.     We’ve done all the hard work for you: scoured the four corners of the web for every interview, interesting fact, and noteworthy quote, it’s all there. So, why not take out our 7-day free trial to get complete access to all the US literary agent profiles.   After selecting your country (we advise that US based authors query US based agents), genre or non-fiction subject, you’ll receive a personalised list of suitable agent profiles. Save your search results and work through them one by one, at your own pace. Here’s some names to get you started:  Betsy Amster   Amy Elizabeth Bishop  Dado Derviskadic  Stuart Krichevsky  Rita Rosenkranz  Gordon Warnock  Howard Yoon Need more information? We break everything down in our guide to finding a literary agent – it’s invaluable for all querying authors!  If your book isn’t strictly about politics but about how society works, think Malcolm Gladwell, or similar to Michael Lewis and addresses specific aspects of how the world works, then agents within this category are likely a good match for you.  It’s important to remember that no agents only specialise in politics and current affairs. Your agent is likely to represent a range of areas including serious and topical non-fiction, fiction, as well as other lighter non-fiction subjects, too. This doesn’t mean that your agent won’t have the necessary connections. He or she will have them and will be motivated to place your work in the best (and most lucrative) place possible.  Good luck!  Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

List Of US Literary Agents

This post has (at the bottom) a complete and regularly updated list of the literary agents active in the United States. By clicking through to each agent, you will also find which literary agencies they belong to. Just Want A List Of All US Literary Agents? Then keep scrolling, buddy. You’ll find everything you want in the list of literary agents a little further down. If you want a list of agents active in the United Kingdom, you’re on the wrong page. Hum God Save The Queen, throw a Union Jack round your shoulders, and teleport over here instead. Want A Quick Reminder Of How To Get An Agent? Finding a literary agent to take on, edit, sell and champion your work is a career-defining moment for any traditionally oriented writer. But it’s career-defining partly because it’s hard to achieve. So let’s try to keep this simple. Here’s what you need to do to attract a literary agent: Step 1: Write a wonderful book. That’s hard, admittedly, but you’re on this page because you’re serious. Step 2: Compile a longlist of qualified literary agents. A qualified literary agent is one who is (A) in the right country, (B) open to your genre, and (C) reasonably open to taking on new work and new clients. Once you have that longlist – which could easily run to 100+ names – you can start to filter it. Our AgentMatch tool, which is a literary agent database, allows you to select agents by genre at the click of a button. You can search by literary fiction, women’s fiction, crime thriller, romance, fantasy, science fiction, non-fiction, young adult, and pretty much every other genre you can think of – including all major non-fiction genres. It\'s a great tool for helping you decide which agents to query. Learn more about AgentMatch. Step 3: Narrow down to a shortlist of 10-12 names. Once you have your longlist, you need to work to find the ones who jump out at you – normally because you find a point of contact. You’re looking for something that seems to connect the kind of reader that agent is with the kind of writer you are. A shared favourite author. A passion for steampunk. Book set in your agent’s childhood state. Shared passion for the ocean. The point of contact doesn’t matter. Just find agents who sing to you. Step 4: Write a brilliant query letter. Sounds hard, but it’s really easy. All you need to do is read our amazing query letter advice – and follow it. Step 5: Write a sizzling synopsis. Sounds very hard, but it’s also very easy. There are two big tricks to writing a successful synopsis fast and easily. We tell you what they are (and with some bonus tips included) on our synopsis page. Step 6: Give your manuscript and opening chapters a last check. Look: I’m not about to tell you how to write a book. But you probably want to check your opening chapters meet the basic requirements for professional manuscript format. You will probably also be interested to learn what we think are the most common mistakes made in the kind of manuscripts that go out to literary agents. If you want a properly complete guide to getting an agent, you can get that here. Phew! Literary Agents: All You Need To Know Agents sell manuscripts to publishersAll the agents in the US are listed on this pageYou need to shortlist 10-12 agentsWrite a synopsisWrite a query letterSubmit your work to your shortlisted agentKeep your fingers crossed How To Use Agentmatch To Find Your Literary Agent AgentMatch gives you a complete, easily searchable list of all literary agents in the US – and all those in the United Kingdom too. Our English-speaking, graduate researchers have put together profiles of all literary agents out there, making use of ALL publicly available information (not just that on the agent’s website.) Then we make it incredibly easy to search: By countryBy genreBy experienceBy level of interest in acquiring new writersSize of literary agencyAnd much else Each agent has a detailed profile, including photo wherever possible – so you can complete an entire search process in a swift and completely non-haphazard way. Sounds good right? Except presumably we’re going to ask you for a ton of money. Except – no. We’re writers too, so we offer a free trial of Agent Match . That gives you access to ALL the data, not just profile summaries. You can also get access to our search tools, which allow you to compile your agent longlist in about 20 seconds . . . and compile a really effective shortlist in the time it takes to drink a couple cups of coffee and maybe eat a croissant too. And “free trial” means just that. We don’t ask you for any payment details. We don’t restrict your usage of the site. Any data you collect, you are welcome to retain and use for your own purposes. (We’re nice like that!) You can get your free trial here. We hope you love it! Meantime, we promised you a complete list of every literary agent currently active in the United States so that you can embark on the next step of your publishing journey. So scroll on down and knock yourself out. Or actually – don’t. Knocking yourself out? Ouch. Just scroll. US Literary Agents: The List Dominick AbelLisa AbelleraLaurie AbkemeierLauren AbramoJosh AdamsTracey AdamsNalini AkolekarRica AllannicJessica AlvarezBetsy AmsterClaire Anderson-WheelerNatalia AponteAmelia AppelFaye AtchisonSteven AxelrodMargaret BailJohn F. BakerNoah BallardJulie BarerDenise BaroneAndrea BarzviAndrea BarzviRachel BeckSarah BedingfieldFaye BenderJenny BentElizabeth BewleyMatt BialerLauren BiekerVicky BijurAmy Elizabeth BishopDavid BlackLaura Blake PetersonCaitlin BlasdellBrettne BloomJanna BonikowskiEmma Borges-ScottMichael BourretBrenda BowenHannah BowmanJaidree BraddixLaura BradfordBarbara BraunRegina BrooksRachel BrooksAndrea BrownDanielle BukowskiDanielle BurbyPenelope BurnsMadelyn BurtSheree BykofskyJoquelle CaibyTess CalleroKimberley CameronBeth CampbellCynthia CannellCarrie CantorVictoria CappelloElise CapronLoretta CaravetteMoses CardonaJennifer CarlsonLucy CarsonTerra ChalbergJamie ChamblissSonali ChanchaniJennifer Chen TranMelissa ChincholloWilliam ClarkJune ClarkGinger ClarkChristina CliffordAmy CloughleyFrances CollinLeila CompoliCristina ConcepcionMichael CongdonBill ContardiElizabeth CoppsMarisa CorvisieroLaura CrockettClaudia CrossMary CummingsMichael CurryRichard CurtisJohn CusickKerry D’AgostinoLaura DailMelissa DanaczkoLiz DarhansoffArielle DatzSarah DaviesNaomi DavisLiza DawsonBrian DeFioreStacia DeckerJoelle DelbourgoStephanie Delman Dado DerviskadicSandra DijkstraRachel Dillon FriedLucienne DiverJohn DoAdriana DomínguezHenry DunowDavid DuntonJane DystelArielle EckstutLindsay EdgecombeMelissa EdwardsDanielle Egan-MillerSusanna EinsteinCaroline EisenmannLeigh EisenmannRachel EkstromSally EkusLisa EkusMatthew ElblonkEthan EllenbergGareth EserskyFelicia EthMary EvansSuzy EvansKemi FaderinSorche FairbankAlison FargisKatherine FaussetJessica FaustLeigh FeldmanHannah FergesenMoe FerraraJenni Ferrari-AdlerDiana FinchCeleste FineCherise FisherHeather FlahertyJennifer FlanneryChristy FletcherCaitie FlumJacqueline FlynnEmily ForlandRoz FosterGráinne FoxAlexandra FranklinWarren FrazierMatthew FrederickJeanne FredericksGrace FreedsonMolly FriedrichLouise FuryNadeen GayleEllen GeigerJane GelfmanJeff GereckeLilly GhahremaniAnna GhoshAlex GlassCathy GleasonStacey GlickMiriam GoderichBarry GoldblattFrances GoldinConnor GoldsmithVeronica GoldsteinJennifer GoloboyIrene GoodmanDoug GradRebecca GradgingerSusan GrahamBen GrangeSylvie GreenbergDaniel GreenbergEvan GregoryKatie GrimmLisa GrubkaRobert GuinslerKatelyn HalesJordan HamessleyFaith HamlinCarrie HanniganElizabeth HardingSandy HardingDawn HardyMichael HarriotJoy HarrisAdam HarrisErin HarrisRoss HarrisCate HartPamela HartyHilary HarwellJennifer HaskinAnne HawkinsRichard HenshawSaritza HernandezJennifer HerreraAli HerringChrista HeschkeEdward HibbertGail HochmanScott HoffmanMarkus HoffmannDeborah HofmannMichael HooglandErin HosierCarrie HowlandAmy HughesKristy HunterLeon HusockAnnie HwangJennifer JacksonEleanor JacksonAmanda JainNicole JamesAllison JaniceMelissa JeglinskiAlyssa JennetteKaitlyn JohnsonRosie JonkerRia JulienJody KahnElianna KanCynthia KaneMaggie KaneJulia KardonTrena KeatingShana KellyJulia KennyKat KerrEmily KeyesJennifer KimJeff KleinmanHarvey KlingerDeidre KnightGinger KnowltonLinda KonnerKatie KotchmanElizabeth KrachtStuart KrichevskyMary KrienkeMiriam KrissMaura Kye-CasellaSarah LaPollaNatalie LakosilSarah LandisHeide LangeKatherine LatshawJennifer LaughranDon LaventhallThao LeVictoria LeaBetsy LernerLisa LeshneAmanda LeuckJim LevineWendy LevinsonBibi LewisJudy LindonKim LionettiLaurie LissBarbara LowensteinSandy LuEric LupferJonathan LyonsJohn MaasDonald MaassAlison MacKeenJoanna MacKenzieGina MaccobyTom MackayNeeti MadanDorian MaffeiDan MandelCarol MannJillian ManusJennifer March SolowayTracy MarchiniVictoria MariniJill MarrEvan MarshallTaylor Martindale KeanPeter MatsonJennifer MattsonEd MaxwellMargret McBrideBridget McCarthyJim McCarthyCameron McClureDavid McCormickCaitlin McDonaldErin McFaddenMatt McGowanLaurie McLeanSara MegibowDaniel MenakerScott MendelPooja MenonLeslie MeredithMarianne MerolaJosh MetzlerMartha MillardPeter MillerTom MillerEmily MitchellHeather MitchellPenny MooreMary C. MooreChristine MorganEmmanuelle MorgenNatascha MorrisGary MorrisAdam MuhligDana MurphyEdward Necarsulmer IVPenny NelsonKristin NelsonDana NewmanKiana NguyenErin NiumataRenee NyenLorin OberwegerMonica OdomNeil OlsonEdward OrloffRachel OrrKathleen OrtizJessica PapinVeronica ParkElana Roth ParkerJoseph ParsonsRick PascocelloSarah PassickEmma PatersonDavid PattersonSharon PelletierTravis PenningtonKim PerelSarah PerilloLori PerkinsLara PerkinsCarrie PestrittoKelly PetersonAriana PhilipsAemilia PhillipsBarbara PoelleTina PohlmanRuth PomeranceLana PopovicMarcy PosnerLinda PrattKortney PricePilar QueenShaheen QureshiCortney RadocajSusan RaihoferSusan RamerKiele RaymondJoseph RegalJanet ReidWilliam ReissAllison RemcheckLaura RennertMaria RibasMichelle RichterRachel RidoutAnn RittenbergBJ RobbinsSoumeya Bendimerad RobertsQuressa RobinsonJennifer RoféAdrienne RosadoAnn RoseJanet RosenRita RosenkranzAndy RossGail RossWhitney RossGrace A RossStephanie RostanPeter RubieJohn RudolphCaryn Karmatz RudyKathleen RushallJim RutmanRegina RyanPeter RyanTamar RydzinskiRaphael SagalynJean SagendorphJesseca SalkySteven SalpeterStefanie Sanchez Von BorstelVictoria SandersTodd SatterstonAdam SchearSusan SchlumanKathleen SchmidtDeborah SchneiderHannah SchwartzYishai SeidmanKatie Shea BoutillierWendy ShermanJeff SilbermanErica Rand SilvermanMeredith Kaffel SimonoffTricia SkinnerVictoria SkurnickLatoya C SmithSarah SmithKaren SolemAndrea SombergKelly SonnackKerry SparksElaine SpencerLauren SpiellerJessica SpiveyAnna Sproul-LatimerRebecca SteadStephanie SteikerUwe StenderMyrsini StephanidesJenny StephensJL StermerPaul StevensDoug StewartRosemary StimolaAdriana StimolaSam StoloffRobin StrausMarlene StringerRachel SussmanKari SutherlandMargaret Sutherland BrownDanielle SvetcovEmma SweeneyEmily Sylvan KimAlice TasmanBrent TaylorNephele TempestCraig TenneyNikki TerpilowskiKate TestermanHenry ThayerMeg ThompsonJohn ThornSuzie TownsendSteve TrohaElizabeth TroutJoy TutelaAnn Leslie TuttleJennifer UddenCindy UhJennifer UnterLaura UsselmanEmily Van BeekMonika VermaChuck VerrillRachel VogelLiza VogesJoanna VolpeChristopher VyceElizabeth WalesMaureen WaltersGordon WarnockMitchell WatersKira WatsonMackenzie Brady WatsonJessica WattersonCarlisle WebberElisabeth WeedFrank WeimannJamie Weiss ChiltonJustin WellsVictoria Wells ArmsJennifer WeltzMarcia WernickPhyllis WestbergPaige WheelerMelissa WhiteEugene WinickElizabeth Winick RubinsteinCaryn WisemanMichelle WitteChristine WitthohnSally Wofford-GirandTim WojcikKent WolfLaura WoodMonika WoodsJoanne WyckoffMaximilian XimenezSarah YakeHoward YoonLaura YorkeKieryn Ziegler Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Agents For Women’s Fiction

Are you predominately writing for women or about women, and in need of an agent? Then look no further, we answer all your questions here. Plus, we’ll even introduce a few agents you may like to query!   There are plenty of agents looking for women’s fiction but finalising your agent shortlist can be a painstakingly long, dull task. Unless you’re using AgentMatch, that is.   After selecting your country (we advise that US based authors should query US based agents), genre or non-fiction subject areas, you’ll receive a personalised list of suitable agent profiles. You can save your search results and work through them one by one, at your own pace. We’ve done all the work for you: scoured the four corners of the web for every interview, interesting fact, and noteworthy quote, it’s all there.   So, if you want to get to know the agents below (as well as the other 900+ literary agents!) a little better, then take out our 7-day free trial and get searching.  Betsy Amster Rachel Brooks  Jennifer Chen Tran  Jessica Faust Jennifer Jackson  Donald Mass  Quressa Robinson  Latoya Smith Need more information? We break everything down in our guide to finding a literary agent – it’s invaluable for all querying authors! Women’s Fiction Women’s fiction is a rich and broad market. It covers many sub-genres: romance, domestic noir, and literary fiction, for example. A literary fiction novel need not cancel out that the novel may also be classed as a romance. Nor does a sub-genre like domestic noir mean that this is a genre read only by women, even though the publishing world tends to market the genre as such.  So, it’s important to be careful how you choose your book genre. Is it really a book club type of novel (i.e. accessible and literary)? Is it romance? Erotica?  Just because your book may be about a woman and her relationships (not necessarily a romantic one), it doesn’t mean that you should be describing your novel as women’s fiction. Instead think more about what kind of book it is and what type of agent you’d like.  Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

How To Find A US Literary Agent For Non-Fiction

Looking for a US literary agent that specialises in non–fiction? Here’s your guide to finding an agent; learn who they are, what they’re looking for and how to hook them.  Non-Fiction Literary Agents There are plenty of ways to figure out which agents represent your genre but finalising your shortlist can be a painstakingly long, dull task. Unless you’re using AgentMatch, that is.   We’ve done all the hard work for you: scoured the four corners of the web for every interview, interesting fact, and noteworthy quote, it’s all there. So, why not take out our 7-day free trial to get complete access to all the US literary agent profiles. After selecting your country (we advise that US based authors query US based agents), genre or non-fiction subject, you’ll receive a personalised list of suitable agent profiles. Save your search results and work through them one by one, at your own pace. Here’s some non-fiction agents to get you started: Rita Rosenkranz   Andy Ross  Sam Stoloff  Howard Yoon  Anna Sproul-Latimer  Scott Hoffman  Elisabeth Weed Dawn Hardy  Matt Bialer  Michael Bourret  Need more information? We break everything down in our guide to finding a literary agent – it’s invaluable for all querying authors!  What Are Non-Fiction Agents Looking For? Ultimately all literary agents are looking for a saleable manuscript. While non-fiction subjects can be varied, agents are generally interested in:  Celebrity-led projects, anything written or endorsed by a celebrity Strong and compelling memoirs Exotic travel stories, whether they’re funny or moving Popular science Narrative-led history Biographies, especially if the subject is well-known Major new diet or motivational work Strong and quirky one-off pieces LGBTQ+ themes.  The important thing to remember, is that unfortunately, no one is looking for niche. Anything specific with a narrow market, like local history books or biographies of unknown subjects, aren’t traditionally sought after by agents. You may find that your work might be picked up by the right publisher, but it’s unlikely you’ll get an agent for these types of projects.  You’ll notice that specialist and academic non–fiction isn’t listed here, either. That’s because your best bet would be to write up a book proposal and pitch directly to publishers who specialise in your subject area. You don’t typically need an agent for these.   Few agents focus solely on non-fiction projects. Most agents will build a fiction and non-fiction list, just as they would cultivate a literary and commercial list. The important thing to remember is that it’s the quality of the agent that really matters, not whether they specialise in a particular genre.  Having said that, there are some exceptions. As a general rule:  Authors of cookbooks, health and diet, or a how-to book may want an agent who does specialise in these areas. It’s definitely not an easy genre to break into, though. If you’re looking to work with a ghost-writer to help tell your story, then you’ll want to find an agent that has experience working on similar projects. But beware, very few personal stories warrant the cost of a ghost-writer. If you want to publish your story, then it’s worth writing it yourself – with our help, of course! Don’t forget you can research agent’s interests by either searching the relevant agency website, or by simply using our database of US and UK based literary agents, AgentMatch, to help narrow down your search.  How Do You Know What Literary Agents Want? This can be split into three categories: first, know what you need to query agents with.  For fiction submissions, you need to have written the whole book before querying agents. With non-fiction submissions, you can often get away with sending a book proposal, which is basically an outline of the book you intend to write, first.  If your book is story-led (think memoirs), then it would be worth writing the whole book before you submit to agents.  But if your non-fiction is subject based, then it‘s fine to start with the book proposal.  Secondly, deliver a saleable manuscript.  As I mentioned above, the only thing agents are really looking for is a manuscript that will sell well and make money. This means you need:  Strong, popular, entertaining writing – even if your subject is interesting, if the writing is poor no one’s going to want to read it! To write for the market. Obvious, yes, but a surprisingly high number of non–fiction authors don’t know who their intended market is. So, if you don’t know yours, then go to a bookstore or local library and find out.  And finally, get professional help. If you keep getting agent rejections or just want to perfect your manuscript first, then it’s time to ask for help. There’s lots of information out there. We’ve helped non-fiction authors in their writing journeys, and we can help you too. So, get in touch.  Best of luck with your submissions; and remember, let us know how you get on!  Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Literary Agents For Crime, Thrillers And Action Novels

Written a thriller or work of crime fiction and need a literary agent? You’re in the right place. AgentMatch has a complete list of every agent in the UK with full detail about who they are and what kind of work they represent. So here’s what you do. Head over here.Click on the “select genres” box and choose “Crime & thrillers” from the pop-up list.You’ll find that there are a huge number of agents who represent work in this area. (Basically: most of them will happily represent crime; there are just about no agents who specialise only in that area.) So you’ll need to filter your list some more. Use our other search tools to bring your selection down to a manageable total.Then dive into individual agent profiles and read what each agent says about themselves.Make your final shortlist selection The twist in the tail All you need to access all our lovely data and search functionality? Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

US literary agents for Historical Fiction

Looking for an agent that represents historical fiction? Then look no further, we answer all your questions here. Plus, we’ll even introduce a few agents you may like to query! Best US Literary Agents Seeking Historical Fiction To Get You Started Publishers of historical fiction often prefer that your novel comes via an agent, and there are plenty of agents to choose from, but finalising your shortlist can be a painstakingly long, dull task. Unless you’re using AgentMatch, that is.     We’ve done all the hard work for you: scoured the four corners of the web for every interview, interesting fact, and noteworthy quote, it’s all there. So, why not take out our 7-day free trial to get complete access to all the US literary agent profiles.   After selecting your country (we advise that US based authors query US based agents), genre or non-fiction subject, you’ll receive a personalised list of suitable agent profiles. Save your search results and work through them one by one, at your own pace. Here’s some historical fiction agents to get you started:  Josh Adams   Natalia Aponte   Julie Barer   Joelle Delbourgo  David McCormick  Kristin Nelson  Steven Salpeter   Mitchell Waters   Need more information? We break everything down in our guide to finding a literary agent – it’s invaluable for all querying authors! The Market The historical fiction market is a wonderfully diverse and rich genre to be writing in. It is comprised of award-winning authors like Hilary Mantel, upmarket commercial talents such as Kate Mosse and Phillipa Gregory, and the thrilling talents of Conn Iggulden and Robert Harris. This includes crossover books, which pair historical fiction with literary fiction, young adult, middle grade, and more. And let’s not forget the weird and wonderful crossovers, like Victorian-inspired steampunk fantasies, historical speculative fiction, and even historical erotica.  As you can see, the historical fiction market is brimming with vibrant, intelligent and lively books. But what does that mean for you? Well, in short, it means that locating the right literary agent to represent you and your novel will be pretty trying. After all, Hilary Mantel’s agent may not be the right person to handle that Victorian-inspired steampunk fantasy. Just a mere interest or reference to historical fiction won’t be enough of a connection.  This is why, once you’ve created a longlist of potential agents it’s important to review each agent’s profile. Find points of contact with each agent. Maybe they represent a favourite author, or list one of your favourite books, or maybe they’re Irish and your book is set in Dublin, etc. These points of contact will help you ascertain which agents you feel would be a good match, and if you mention them in your query letter could make a great first impression with the individual agent.  We hope this article leads you to your dream agent that will help you get your book in front of the perfect historical fiction publisher in the USA.  Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

US Literary Agents For Memoir, True Story, And Autobiographies

Breaking into the book market can be difficult, but luckily for you, we have all the advice you need to find the right agent for your book. There are plenty of memoir-loving agents but finalising your agent shortlist can be a painstakingly long, dull task. Unless you’re using AgentMatch, that is.     We’ve done all the hard work for you: scoured the four corners of the web for every interview, interesting fact, and noteworthy quote, it’s all there. So, why not take out our 7-day free trial to get complete access to all the US literary agent profiles.   After selecting your country (we advise that US based authors query US based agents), genre or non-fiction subject, you’ll receive a personalised list of suitable agent profiles. Save your search results and work through them one by one, at your own pace. Here’s some names to get you started:  Margaret Bail Sonali Chanchani Dawn Hardy Edward Hibbert Jody Kahn  Ed Maxwell  Neil Olson Latoya C Smith Howard Yoon Need more information? We break everything down in our guide to finding a literary agent – it’s invaluable for all querying authors! The Memoir Market The market for memoirs is easy, if you’re a celebrity that is. If you find that you’re not a celebrity, then things can prove a little harder.  You will need to show that you have been part of something quite remarkable. Not my-friends-think-it’s-amazing remarkable, but the kind of remarkable that will captivate a perfect stranger, like Cheryl Strayed’s Wild.   The ability to transform those remarkable experience into excellent prose is another must. To hook an agent, you need to be able to bring to life the things you’ve seen and done. Masterpieces like The Hare With Amber Eyes and Empire Antartica are also great examples.  Gripping stories like these are rarer than you’d think.   Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

US Literary Agents For Erotica

Finding Erotica Fiction Agents Are you looking for a US agent that represents erotica? Then look no further. We have all the information right here, at your fingertips. Oh, and we’ll also introduce a few agents too. There are plenty of ways to figure out which agents represent your genre but finalising your shortlist can be a painstakingly long, dull task. Unless you’re using AgentMatch, that is.    We’ve done all the hard work for you: scoured the four corners of the web for every interview, interesting fact, and noteworthy quote, it’s all there. So, why not take out our 7-day free trial to get complete access to all the US literary agent profiles. A great step on the way to getting your book published. After selecting your country (we advise that US based authors query US based agents), genre or non-fiction subject, you’ll receive a personalised list of suitable agent profiles. Save your search results and work through them one by one, at your own pace. Here’s a few names to get you started: Steven Axelrod  Lucienne Diver  Danielle Egan-Miller Ethan Ellenberg  Sarah Megibow  Lori Perkins  Our Guide To Finding A Literary Agent Not too long ago finding an agent for erotic fiction was close to impossible. Agents were snobby. They were worried that erotic manuscripts were not saleable and feared that the erotica genre simply wouldn’t pay.  Then came E.L. James. After her huge success with the Fifty Shades of Grey series, agents and publishers have learnt the value of books in this genre, which has certainly been aided by social media. Even quite highbrow agencies are now open to submissions of erotic fiction.  So, if you’re thinking about querying agents, then you need to read our guide to finding a literary agent – it’s invaluable for all querying authors!  Best of luck! 

US Literary Agents For YA

In recent years, young adult (YA) fiction has become a competitive and super selling genre. There are plenty of agents that represent young adult fiction to choose from, but finalising your agent shortlist can be a painstakingly long, dull task. Unless you’re using AgentMatch, that is.     We’ve done all the hard work for you: scoured the four corners of the web for every interview, interesting fact, and noteworthy quotes, it’s all there. So, why not take out our 7-day free trial to get complete access to all the US literary agent profiles. After selecting your country (we advise that US based authors query US based agents), genre or non-fiction subject, you’ll receive a personalised list of suitable agent profiles. You can save your search results and then work through them one by one, at your own pace. Here’s some agents to get you started:  Ben Grange  Leon Husock   Sarah Landis  Thao Le   Kiana Nguyen   Quressa Robinson  Cindy Uh  Need more information? We break everything down in our guide to finding a literary agent – it’s invaluable for all querying authors!  Books like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series have made it acceptable and popular for adults to read and enjoy children’s fiction. What followed was a number of spectacular authors, such as Anthony Horowitz, Suzanne Collins, Melinda Salisbury, and many more.  The fact that the YA fiction market has been so successful means that agents are inevitably interested in the area and keen to take on outstanding work. So you’d better get started! Best of luck! Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Agents For Paranormal Romances

Looking for an agent that represents paranormal romances? Then look no further, we answer all your questions here. Plus, we’ll even introduce a few agents you may like to query!  There are plenty of agents looking for the next top-selling paranormal romance but finalising your agent shortlist can be a painstakingly long, dull task. Unless you’re using AgentMatch, that is.   After selecting your country (we advise that US based authors should query US based agents), genre or non-fiction subject areas, you’ll receive a personalised list of suitable agent profiles. You can save your search results and work through them one by one, at your own pace. We’ve done all the work for you: scoured the four corners of the web for every interview, interesting fact, and noteworthy quote, it’s all there.   So, if you want to get to know the agents below (as well as the other 900+ literary agents!) a little better, then take out our 7-day free trial and get searching.  Natalia Aponte  Jenny Bent Joquelle Caiby  Llori Perkins  Paige Wheeler  Need more information? We break everything down in our guide to finding a literary agent – it’s invaluable for all querying authors! Paranormal Romance And The Market The success of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight created a huge sub-genre in paranormal romance. Having said that, authors like Anne Rice have been writing in the genre for a long time and clearly point to its longevity.  It is a genre tailor-made for the ebook generation, and has inspired a number of films and TV series, covering the whole nexus of paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and YA dark romance.  So, to join the ranks of the paranormal romance market, your novel must:  Offer good, clean, readable prose. Have a twist on the basic genre that’s new and compelling. Create a romance that will capture your audience’s heart.  Once you’ve perfected your manuscript, you can start your search for the right agent, here. Best of luck! Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

US List of Science-Fiction and Fantasy Literary Agents

The science-fiction market remains as varied as it has always been, with plenty of international (and commercial) appeal. There are plenty of literary agents for science-fiction novels, but finalising your shortlist can be a painstakingly long, dull task. Unless you’re using AgentMatch, that is.    We’ve done all the hard work for you: scoured the four corners of the web for every interview, interesting fact, and noteworthy quote - it’s all there. So, why not take out our 7-day free trial to get complete access to all the US science fiction and fantasy agent profiles? After selecting your country (we advise that US based authors query US based agents), genre or nonfiction subject, you’ll receive a personalised list of suitable agent profiles. You can save your search results and then work through them one by one, at your own pace. Here’s Some Agents to Get You Started:  Tracey Adams   Julie Barer   Connor Goldsmith  Mark Gottlieb   Evan Gregory   Need more information? We break everything down in our guide to finding a literary agent – it’s invaluable for all querying authors!  Are You Really Writing Science Fiction? Although you can still write classic space opera and find an eager adult or young adult market for it, there has been an increased interest in seeing more dystopia, genre collisions, and intelligent idea-driven fiction.  As a genre, science fiction remains rich. You can even argue that literary novelists like Margaret Atwood and David Mitchell have published science-fiction novels. George Orwell and Aldous Huxley are certainly renowned for their sci-fi masterpieces. While authors like Iain Banks and China Mieville, who aren’t traditionally considered as literary novelists, have produced some excellent examples of challenging, bold, and thoughtful fiction.   As the science-fiction market is so rich and deeply varied, it’s important to ask yourself: ‘am I really writing science fiction?’  For example:   A near-future thriller about an as-yet-undiscovered virus could well market itself more accurately as a techno-thriller and be suitable for crime and thriller agents and editors. An intelligent novel, like David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, is probably better sold as literary fiction, no matter whether or not it uses sci-fi ideas and techniques.  If science-fiction is the right genre for you, then you’ll probably want to read this article on world-building.   And, if you’re still unsure about where your book will sit then try using AgentMatch, our database of all US and UK agents. Using the genre search you can peruse the agent profile pages to see what agents are looking for and find the best possible fit for your novel.  Wishing you lots of intergalactic luck!  Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Serendipity (Or How I Met My Agent)

Guest author and blogger Lexie Elliott is author of The French Girl and shared with us how she met her literary agent en route to our Festival of Writing. Find her on Goodreads, on Facebook, or on Instagram. I like contradictions. I like it when there’s a round hole and a square peg that somehow fits it, I like it when things that should be black and white have shades of grey (erm, not those shades. Unless that’s your thing, in which case go right ahead). The exception to the rule always pulls my attention. There’s a story in there, I find myself thinking. How might it unfold? And because I like contradictions, I also like serendipity. The word itself has become a contradiction: in the original tales of the three princes of Serendip, the princes achieve success not merely through chance, as the modern day understanding of the word suggests, but more importantly using logical deduction. And that’s how I met my wonderful, inspiring, supportive agent Marcy: it was serendipitous, but I’d deliberately stacked the odds. I met Marcy just as the train we were both on pulled into York. I noticed a lady waiting to exit the carriage holding some papers emblazoned with Festival of Writing, realised we were going to the same place and somehow eschewed my usual British reticence in order to make small talk. She was having difficulty with her luggage, so I helped her with that and then we shared a taxi to the venue. It was only during that taxi ride that I discovered she’s that most important of creatures – an agent, no less – and, moreover, an agent representing writers in my genre (psychological suspense, since you ask). I plucked up the courage to ask if I could send her some material. Thankfully, she liked what she read, and we started down a path that has thus far led to an enormously exciting two-book deal with Berkley and the sale of the TV and movie rights for my first novel, The French Girl. Like I said, serendipitous, certainly – but it you want to meet an agent by chance, you must surely have a far greater probability of success if you go somewhere where there will actually be agents. I count that particular Festival of Writing as a pivotal point in my writing career, and not only because I met Marcy. I also met lots of other authors, agents (I got far down the line with a couple before settling with Marcy), book doctors, presenters, panellists. I learnt a huge amount about the craft of writing (or in some areas, relearning what I had forgotten). It was a deliberate investment, both in terms of time and money, in my fledgling writing career and an important psychological step to take: just registering for the Festival of Writing felt like a public acknowledgement that I was serious about my writing. I went to York entirely on my own, which forced me to get out of my hermit-like comfort zone and actually start up conversations with people, and I was warmed to find that those people were unfailingly friendly, polite and interesting. As a writer with a young family and a part-time job, I don’t have, well, any free time at all, actually, and certainly none to spend tapping into a nearby community of writers; it was heavenly to spend time talking about writing with people who weren’t either gently bemused by the compulsion to do it (my husband) or rather miffed that my stories don’t contain sword-fighting and/or spies (my sons). I returned from the Festival with a good idea of what was wrong with my current writing project, and a decent plan of how to go about putting it right. More importantly, I returned with a better understanding of my own creative process and a renewed enthusiasm for... wait for it... actually writing. Because, a lot of times, sitting down at the laptop can feel like hard work. It’s much easier to spend that time watching Netflix, or reading the result of someone else’s hard work. Sometimes it can even be easier to tidy the house and do the laundry than to write (admittedly, those are dark days). But those bolts of inspiration, that supposedly come from the blue to strike like creative lightning in the minds of aspiring writers, don’t really strike unless your mind is open to them. You must put in the thinking time and the writing time. You must make yourself into a lightning rod. It turns out that inspiration takes work (just another of those contradictions that I like). The Festival of Writing won’t do the work for you, but it will help you figure out how to get it done. And if you already have something that’s ready for the world to see, you have a pretty good chance of finding just the person to help you get it out there. Good luck! May the force of serendipity be with you. Serendipity (noun); the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

US Literary Agents For Fantasy Fiction

The fantasy fiction market has been incredibly successful over the years, and publishers have made a lot of money from it. There are plenty fantasy-loving agents but finalising your agent shortlist can be a painstakingly long, dull task. Unless you’re using AgentMatch, that is.     We’ve done all the hard work for you: scoured the four corners of the web for every interview, interesting fact, and noteworthy quote, it’s all there. So, why not take out our 7-day free trial to get complete access to all the US literary agent profiles.   After selecting your country (we advise that US based authors query US based agents), genre or non-fiction subject, you’ll receive a personalised list of suitable agent profiles. Save your search results and work through them one by one, at your own pace. Here’s some names to get you started: Tracey Adams Amelia Appel Amy Elizabeth Bishop Connor Goldsmith Donald Maass Kristen Nelson Tricia Skinner Need more information? We break everything down in our guide to finding a literary agent – it’s invaluable for all querying authors!  There have been some excellent authors who have written in the genre, China Mieville, Neil Gaiman, and Iain Banks to name a few.  This means that there are plenty of agents looking for the next big thing in fantasy to come their way. If that’s you, then AgentMatch should be your next stop!  To make sure your fantasy novel stands out from the slushpile try reading this article on world-building. You’ll probably also find this piece by published author Geraldine Pinch on how to write a fantasy novel useful, too.  Best of luck!  Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

US Agents Representing Horror

Looking for an agent that represents horror? Then look no further, we answer all your questions here. Plus, we’ll even introduce a few agents you may like to query!  Agents Seeking Horror There are plenty of horror-loving agents but finalising your agent shortlist can be a painstakingly long, dull task. Unless you’re using AgentMatch, that is.   After selecting your country (we advise that US based authors should query US based agents), genre or non-fiction subject areas, you’ll receive a personalised list of suitable agent profiles. You can save your search results and work through them one by one, at your own pace. We’ve done all the work for you: scoured the four corners of the web for every interview, interesting fact, and noteworthy quote, it’s all there.   So, if you want to get to know the agents below (as well as the other 900+ literary agents!) a little better, then take out our 7-day free trial and get searching.  Michael Bourret Elizabeth Copps Heather Flaherty Connor Goldsmith  Caitlin McDonald Maxmillian Ximenez Need more information? We break everything down in our guide to finding a literary agent – it’s invaluable for all querying authors! The Horror Market Since Stephen King revived and expanded the genre, horror has been a reliably steady element in the book market. The emergence of teen paranormal sagas has brought new readers to the genre, as well as changing the genre’s boundaries even further. While the ebook revolution has also introduced new readers to the genre, namely young men (traditionally more reluctant book-buyers) have been more willing to purchase fiction via their tablets and smart phones.  It’s important to remember that the genre shouldn’t be seen in too restrictive terms. Contemporary authors, such as the award-winning Lesley Glaister, have added quality to the genre. While well-respected authors like Susan Hill, have actually been writing horror fiction for years, albeit not for the typical audience associated with the genre.  You might find that some crime and thriller authors also plough through the classic horror territory.  (Oh, that noise from the old stone cellar? It’s nothing. Really, nothing.)  Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

An Interview With Agents On Polishing Submissions

Having shared insights with Festival of Writing 2017 attendees, three agents – Catherine Cho, Sandra Sawicka, Susan Yearwood – sat down with us for an interview on getting agent submissions right, what they’re most moved by, and what they’re looking for in the slush pile. What sort of books do you love receiving? Catherine: I love books that are transportive; with layers and depth, with a compelling story at its heart, those are the novels that I remember. Sandra: I love reading about things I don’t know. It could be a particular setting that is foreign to me, or a character with a weird profession, or completely different set of experiences … worlds for me to explore and learn. Have you ever opened a new manuscript, read a single page, and thought ‘I’m going to end up making an offer on this’? What was it about that page which excited you? Sandra: Yes, first line in fact. It was Paul Crilley’s Poison City where a talking dog tells his owner off for not providing his favourite tipple (sherry). I immediately thought – this is mad, I need to tell everyone. Catherine: I have read manuscripts and been drawn in from the first page – usually from an incredible voice that immediately pulls you in. It’s an exciting feeling, especially after reading so many submissions and to discover something amazing, it’s a bit like falling in love. Are you most drawn to beautiful writing? Or a wonderful plot? Or a stunning premise? Or anything else? Susan: I’m drawn to writing that engages so completely that I’d rather read the submission than do anything else during the course of the day. A good plot and premise are difficult to realise fully without a good sense of place and character in any genre. Catherine: Plot and premise are very important. What I notice is that often, first-time novels don’t have a strong narrative drive, and we need that central conflict or narrative momentum to create a compelling story. Do you need good personal chemistry with your authors? Sandra: I mean, it helps. I usually meet authors before I offer to represent them, to see whether we are on the same page about the edits but also to talk about how I work. Tell us how you like writers to submit work to you and how you’d like them not to submit work? Catherine: I prefer to receive my queries by email with the cover letter, synopsis, and first 3 chapters in the body of the email. Susan: I prefer to see the initial 30-50 pages of a script (or a book proposal with a sample of writing at that length in the case of non-fiction submissions). The covering email (or letter if it’s impossible to send the submission by email) should be brief, with a line about the book, an explanatory paragraph with more detail about the script then a few lines about yourself. Do you have any pet peeves about cover letters? Catherine: I have a couple of pet peeves on cover letters (Dear Sir, in particular), and this is a personal one, but unnecessary autobiographical details. I think a novel, even if it is inspired by personal experiences, should stand for itself. The grim stats: how many submissions do you get per week (or year)? And how many new authors do you take on? Susan: I receive about 80-100 per month, depending on the month. How many new authors I take on depends on the submissions I receive. I am looking to take on more writers in adult fiction and non-fiction than I currently represent and introduce 9-12 age range children’s fiction and teen/YA fiction to my list. Catherine: As I’m building my list, the majority of my writers are from the slush pile or writers I’ve approached from anthologies and writing journals. I receive 50-80 submissions a week, and because I read them all on my own, it means that I’m constantly behind! When did you come into agenting? What did you do before? And why agenting? Susan: In 2007, I founded Susan Yearwood Literary Agency (now Susan Yearwood Agency), having spent part of the early to mid-90s at Virago Books and Penguin. I spent some time outside of publishing and came back to books via agenting to represent the type of writer I enjoyed reading, which, I feel, is the most exciting part of being a literary agent. Catherine: I came into agenting in a roundabout way. After university, I went to law school and tried working in the corporate law world. I then shifted to lobbying and worked for a lobbying firm in Washington DC. After a year at Capitol Hill, I realized that I’d rather lobby for something I believed in, and I decided to try and move to publishing. I hadn’t heard of agenting before, and I initially planned to find a job in editorial. I slept on friends’ couches in New York and had many coffee meetings with different people, and someone suggested that I try to find a job with a literary agency. It sounded like a dream job, and as a bonus, it would mean that I’d also be able to use my legal background. I was lucky enough to become a literary assistant and contracts manager at Folio Literary Management in New York, which was a great introduction to the industry. And then when I moved to London, I joined Curtis Brown as a literary assistant and have been working on building my list. If you had one bit of advice to give to new writers, what would it be? Catherine: My advice to new writers would be to keep writing! Writing and querying is a very subjective business, and the most important thing is to keep going, to keep learning and improving your craft. Read more free advice on submitting to literary agents! Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Meet UK Literary Agents At The Festival Of Writing

It’s not easy wowing literary agents. With one email, just a letter, a synopsis, and your first chapters to go on. A great literary agent submission pack makes a difference, but agencies in London are often inundated and it’s not uncommon for writers to not hear back. UK literary agents are looking for new writers, though – and you’re that bit harder to ignore face-to-face. (It’s not to say you can harass agents. You couldn’t phone an agent to ask a meeting unless you were a client – nor is it an idea to thrust a manuscript under a nose at first chance. Nor send gimmicky gifts to UK literary agents’ offices. This has happened.) What you need is a chance to connect authentically, in a professional setting. With an agent there who is open and expecting to talk to you. Here’s how to make the most of the Festival of Writing in York and meet literary agents for yourself – plus an incredible story from one author who had several UK literary agents jumping to represent her after her time at the Festival of Writing. Who’s The Festival Of Writing Really For? If you’ve got a manuscript written and want to publish – and you’re ready to talk to editors, agents and book doctors about it – the Festival of Writing is for you. And whilst you’ll find great workshops on improving writing and craft (as on publishing topics), agent 1-to-1s are part of your ticket. So the focus is on publication, whether it’s traditional or self-publishing you’d like. You’ll be a writer looking to pitch an unpublished manuscript. You’ll be able to send competition entries on time for judges to review, opening chapters in time for your chosen agent to look at before the day. It means you’ll get full value out of your Festival ticket. If you’re also pondering self-publishing (our Festival workshops cover self-publishing), professional feedback is still vital before you self-publish a book. A literary agent, book doctor or editor 1-to-1 at the Festival can give that feedback. And if you’re not from the UK – that’s okay. We’ve had many writers fly in for this event. Just bear in mind it’s literary agents from the UK you’ll meet at the Festival. If you’ve just started writing, or you haven’t got a manuscript ready, or you couldn’t get it ready in time for the next Festival, this is an annual event, and one to plan for – you’ll want to have your writing ready as it can be. It could be the sort of event to write towards in a year. And you can follow us on Twitter or join our mailing list for ‘earlybird’ updates each year, too. How Prepared Should I Be For The Festival Of Writing? On one hand – there’s no need to be worried about presenting your agent pitch. The only thing that ever persuades an agent is the quality of your manuscript. Think of the pitch simply as a gentle way of introducing the rest of the discussion. 1-to-1 sessions are also the most formal part of proceedings, but we hope you will chat to agents over tea or in the evening, as well as other writers. Some of the best contacts can be made this way. All the same, you’re investing in your writing career. Aside from 1-to-1s, you’ll enter writing competitions (deadlines before September), and shortlisted entries are read out for literary agents in the room. Past Festival visitors have been offered representation because of these things. Your agent submission packs also need to be with your chosen agents before the Festival itself, so they need time to read your work over before 1-to-1s. So it’ll help you to prepare at least a few months in advance. Be as prepared as you can, because the Festival of Writing gets you noticed – as happened for author Tor Udall. Tor came to the Festival of Writing in 2013 and A Thousand Paper Birds went on to be published with Bloomsbury. Tor Udall’s Story (Warning: Attending The Festival Of Writing Could Seriously Change Your Life) The truth is I was terrified. My comfort zone is a quiet room with only my characters and words for company, so the idea of spending three days with hundreds of writers I didn’t know felt challenging. Apart from having to face industry professionals, there was also the prospect of the Gala Dinner. When I followed participants on the forum discussing dresses they were going to wear (taffeta was mentioned), I definitely wobbled. But I was determined to do something radical. I had been writing for 15 years, been close to publication a couple of times, but the overall message I was receiving was ‘you have talent, you write beautifully, BUT…’ Hearing I had potential in my early twenties was lovely. Hearing I still had potential 15 years later was frustrating and I realised that if I was going to cross that golden threshold I had to do something different. I had submitted my third novel to 5 agents in June 2013. After receiving silence, I booked my place at York. The week before the Festival, three of the original agents got in touch, saying they were interested. So I arrived at #FOW13 on a high and had an absolute blast. I learnt so much from the workshops and loved meeting writers from other genres. The biggest discovery was that I actually ENJOYED ‘small talk’ if it was about books. I was in my element. During the weekend, I met two agents who both asked to read the manuscript. I returned from the rollercoaster, proud that I had pushed my courage to the limit, and as I sat there on the Sunday evening I had no idea that the real ride was only just beginning. The agents from the Festival read my manuscript within 24 hours and both offered representation. I then returned to the original 3 and they offered representation too. Overwhelmed, I contacted two people I had met in York: the wonderful book doctor, Andrew Wille, and the fabulous Francesca Main from Picador. Both offered advice without being directive and both suggested that I contact other agents too. This led to a ridiculous number of agents saying yes and my diary became unrecognisable with daily meetings. I was in the centre of a ‘buzz’ and I realised that people were now reading the manuscript differently with a starting point of ‘how can I help make this work?’ The doors I had been knocking on for 15 years were crashing down around me. I now had a new problem. Who was I going to pick? All the agents were smart, passionate, experienced and a delight to be with. I would have happily worked with each of them as they all brought something unique to the book and showed great insight. By this point, several successful writers were also getting in touch to recommend their agent or offer advice – and I remain stunned and humbled at the support I received from so many professionals who took time out of their busy schedules to help. But it did get to a point where I was scared to look in my inbox to see which celebrity was there that morning: ‘BOO!’ However the overall message I received was clear. I needed to listen out for that infamous ‘click’ … and to trust my instincts. When I walked into the ANA offices, Jenny Savill led me into the boardroom where I found a pictorial homage to my book spread out on the table. There were not only photographs of the novel’s location, but print-outs of music I mention and images of motifs that proved to me she understood the subtleties of what I was trying to do. She then introduced me to her colleagues and they had read the book too. Despite being in the hectic run up to Frankfurt, each of them stopped to meet me and I was so overwhelmed that I walked into a glass door. A classic Bridget Jones moment. … Had I heard a click? There had been a symphony of castanets. But still I wasn’t sure. How could I possibly turn down the others who I also adored? But I kept coming back to Jenny who had shown me that she understood the book, and what I’d been trying to do, better than I did. The key moment came when I drove past a poster of an NME cover showing David Bowie surrounded by origami birds. Both of them key motifs in the book. It was the strangest synchronous moment … and the first person I wanted to call to was Jenny. And that was that. It was hard to let the others down – all who had put so much energy and belief into the book – and of course I would have loved to mesh them into one uber-agent! But this was the real world and after all the excitement, my suitors rode into the sunset to find other books to fall in love with, other writers to court. In the ensuing silence, I was left standing opposite the one I had chosen, the two of us looking into each other’s eyes, thinking of the years and challenges ahead of us and saying. ‘Okay, let’s make this happen.’ So then I had the draft of my life ahead of me. But I was back in my ‘happy place’, playing around with words and asking these wonderful, frustrating characters to reveal themselves to me just a little bit more. And as I worked, I didn’t only have the brilliant support of Jenny … but all the agents’ wise voices in my head. And I feel hugely supported and blessed. None of this would have happened without the Festival of Writing. They were the spark that lit the fire. I also can’t thank Andrew and Francesca enough for their unbiased support – I couldn’t have got through the rollercoaster of these crazy months (or had so much fun) without them. There are still many more hurdles to jump. But I have learnt an important lesson … and ironically, it’s a lesson I needed to learn for my characters too. If you do the thing you’re most frightened of, you might just get what you want. 11 Tips For Making The Most Of The Festival Of Writing Be brave. As Tor said – if you do the thing you’re most frightened of, you might just get what you want.Make sure to locate the front desk. This is where you’ll check in and can ask your questions during the weekend.Write down your 1-to-1s and keep these with your programme. This way you have your map, timetable and 1-to-1s all in one place!Be professional. We’ve mentioned it before, but it’s very important! First impressions really do count, and although this is a fun weekend, it’s the opportunity to meet UK literary agents with whom you may want a working relationship – so don’t just thrust your manuscript at them! They are people, too, so have a chat.Make the most of tea breaks, meals and drinks. These are all great times for networking and if you’re professional and polite, industry professionals will enjoy talking to you.Bring bottled water. Although there’s plenty of tea breaks, it can get hot and you’ll be going between workshops and 1-to-1s. Make sure you’re properly hydrated!Wear comfy shoes. Between workshops, panels and 1-to-1s, there’s lots of walking around. Make sure you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing!Take a walk if you need a few quiet minutes.Bring a bag with some empty space. There’s the opportunity to buy books over the weekend and maybe even have them signed by their authors. Leave some room to take your books home!Remember to ‘dress to impress’ for the Gala on Saturday! We’ve had kilts, black ties and ball gowns. On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve also had jeans, nice shirts and tops. Wear whatever you’re comfortable in to bring a bit of sparkle to your evening.Have fun and enjoy your weekend! Find out more about the Festival of Writing! A Thousand Paper Birds (Bloomsbury) was longlisted for the Author’s Club Best First Novel Award and has been translated in six languages. The paperback was released 3 May 2018. You can follow Tor’s journey on Twitter and at her website. Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

How To Ensure This Is The Year You Get An Agent

Those first few days of January make everything seems possible. Finishing your book. Getting a literary agent. Then something will happen that will make that seem less doable. Usually something life-related, but it can also be hitting a wall with edits, or perhaps a rejection email. Ignore it. Getting a literary agent is definitely possible. And this really could be the year. How? Well, let’s say you’ve just finished the first draft of your novel. Here’s how you might have a literary agent before the end of the year. January – Read Your Novel Through. February – Re-plan Your Structure. However much you planned your novel before you started, chances are that it doesn’t look exactly the same now it’s done. That’s okay – it doesn’t need to. What your plot does need to do, is make sense. Make notes on what your plot does at the moment.Read these guides on classic plot structures – does yours match them?Identify the parts of your novel structure that aren’t working as they should.Re-plan your structure. Post-it notes can be really helpful for this part. And use the snowflake method, or you’ll probably go as crazy as a barn owl. March – Implement Your Structural Changes Until Your Plot Is Spot On. Don’t be afraid to delete scenes, or even entire chapters at this point. You can always move them onto another document for use again later, if needs be. Take each new plot point in turn and think about what needs to change with your original draft to make it fit.Make the changes to a new draft document.Again, don’t get bogged down in the details. At this point, you’re really just looking at the bare bones of your plot structure. As you swap things around, you might realise that has ramifications further on in the book – that’s okay. Make a note of them to come back to later. April – Read Your Novel Again, Focusing On Your Character Development. All novels centre around characters that change, and the successful ones emerge from intensive character development work that takes place (ideally) before you start writing your novel. What does your character want in the beginning?How does this change as they go through the novel? Is that believable?What does your character learn at the end? What is the character arc?And what about your secondary characters? If your character journeys don’t quite match up just yet, then go back to the drawing board and ensure your plot makes that happen. Remember – most stories are driven by their characters, not the other way around. Do also remember to check that your key scenes are shown, not told – that is, you need to make sure you have dramatised them on the page in (the fictional version) of real time. Third party reports of what happened aren’t nearly so enticing, to put it mildly. More on showing and telling here. May – Give Your Novel To Another Writer, Or An Editor You Trust. Once you have your structure sorted, it can be really useful to have another pair of eyes on your work. Make sure they know to read only for the plot and not the language.Ask them if they found the characters believable (yes – even elves need realistic character arcs).You don’t need to agree with every comment they make, but it’s worth asking why they made it. If they didn’t like your protagonist, perhaps you need to make it clearer why they should? Once you get your feedback – such as stunningly good quality feedback from our Jericho editors – make the changes you feel will make your novel better. June – Look At The Language. Okay, so now it’s okay to start doing a copy edit. Still, park your typo hunt for the time being and instead focus on some of the larger language issues: How are you telling the story? First person? Past tense? Is this the best way for this story to be told?Is your voice consistent? Write a set of voice rules, such as syntax and grammar. Are these followed throughout?Are your sentences as tight as they could be? Every word you use should have its place in your sentence. If you have any lines that aren’t pulling their weight – get rid of them. Our material on prose style, writing descriptions and dialogue will help remove your worst mistakes – and start giving your whole manuscript a gleam as if of gold … July – Give Your Novel To An Editor, Or Beta Readers. An editor will do wonders for your book. They will spot things you’ve missed in structure, character, dramatisation and things you probably haven’t given much thought to before. This is their job, and they’re good at it. Alternatively, sending your book to family, friends or writing groups can be a good way of getting this feedback. As before, remember that you don’t need to change everything for everyone, but it’s worth thinking about why a reader said what they did. August - Proofread. Your editor or beta readers may well have pointed out a few errors already, but there are always more, hidden away. Try printing your manuscript off. This will help your eye spot the mistakes on the page.Look for inconsistencies. Check your language rules again. Do a ‘Find’ and ‘Replace’ for any mishaps. This stage doesn’t matter as much as you might think. Of course, it’s important that your writing is of a high standard before it’s sent to agents. But it’s much more important to get the story, characters and language right, than it is spotting every typo. September – Start Putting Your Work Out There. Yes – this is the scary bit. But there are ways you can ease yourself in, first. Come to the Festival of Writing. This will tell you everything you need to know about taking this next step and even give you a little help along the way, perhaps via one of our Friday Night Live sessions, or a literary agent 1-2-1.Enter writing competitions. The Bath Novel Award, or the Mslexia Novel Award, perhaps? Even being long-listed for these awards can be a huge boost – not only to your writing CV, but also to your confidence. October – Learn How To Submit To A Literary Agent. If you came to the Festival of Writing, you might already know this stuff. Otherwise, ensure you read everything you can on the rules of submission. There are rules and you do need to follow them to ensure you’re taken seriously. Learn how to write a synopsis, and have a go at making a few of different lengths.Polish up the first five thousand words of your manuscript.Learn how to write a professional query letter. And of course, you’ll be following (rigorously!) our guide on getting literary agents … and using our massive agent FAQs for any questions you may still have. You’ll also be needing our (comprehensive and up to date) lists of US agents and UK agents. November – Submit To Literary Agents. Make a longlist of literary agents who will take your work (try searching for genre via this).Make a shortlist of agents who you like the best – perhaps because you’ve met them at an event, or because they represent books that are similar to yours.Send to the first five of these agents, making sure you follow all the rules to submission. December – Land Your Literary Agent. Sometimes, it can take a while to find the right agent for your book. When you do find the right agent though, they will often know from the very first page that they want to represent you. When this happens: Email the other agents you are waiting to hear back from, letting them know you’ve had an offer of representation. You want to be in a position to choose your favourite, if you can.Meet with the agent(s) and ask them questions about what they can do for you and your book.Sign a deal with the literary agent of your dreams. You’ve probably noticed that the majority of your year will be spent working on your novel. That’s because writing a brilliant book is the best thing you can do to ensure you land a literary agent. The rest, is really just knowing the rules of submission and getting it out there. So – are you ready to ensure this is the year you get an agent? Then let’s go. Success starts now. To see how we could help you get a literary agent this year, have a look round our site. More than ready to get the ball rolling with agents, but just need a little push? Or perhaps you’ve had a few rejections but aren’t sure why? Our Agent Submission Pack Review gives you detailed professional advice on how to perfect your submission and increase your chances of securing an agent. Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community.

Finding US Agents Seeking New Authors

How to find a good US literary agent We receive lots of questions, but two of the most common must be: how do you find a literary agent? Do you know literary agents who are taking on new, first-time writers?  There are plenty of ways to figure out which agents represent your genre but finalising your shortlist can be a painstakingly long, dull task. Unless you’re using AgentMatch, that is.     We’ve done all the hard work for you: scoured the four corners of the web for every interview, interesting fact, and noteworthy quote, it’s all there. So, why not take out our 7-day free trial to get complete access to all the US literary agent profiles.   After selecting your country (we advise that US based authors query US based agents), genre or non-fiction subject, you’ll receive a personalised list of suitable agent profiles. Save your search results and work through them one by one, at your own pace. Here’s some names to get you started:  Lauren Bieker  Amelia Appel Joquelle Caiby  Sonali Chanchani Jennifer Kim Kiana Nguyen  Quressa Robinson Need more information? We break everything down in our guide to finding a literary agent – it’s invaluable for all querying authors! How Do You Find An Agent? Nearly all agents take on new authors. If they didn’t, they’d go out of business. It might not happen straightaway, but eventually they will.  It’s important to remember that all agents need to submit to the same group of editors. They’re a small group at that: most books are pitched to 8-12 publishers in the first round of marketing. So, all agents are looking for quality manuscripts. If they find one, and love it, they’ll take it on. If they don’t, they won’t.  It’s somewhat easier to secure a new up-and-coming agent than a giant of the industry. That’s not because quality standards are different – because they’re not – but because newer agents are actively seeking submissions and are prepared to work hard to grow their client list. If you went to such an agent, with a manuscript that was dazzling but still imperfect, then they may be prepared to work with you to fix it. However, a more established agent with an already long client list may regretfully turn the book down.  If you’re looking for an agent who genuinely welcomes first-time authors, rather than just accepting them, it’s a good idea to approach those who don’t necessarily have an established client base. So, you’re looking for agents new to the role, or those who have come into the profession from somewhere else in the industry.  Don’t just query smaller agencies, there are plenty small agencies that already have an extensive client base. Also, larger agencies tend to have more new recruits hungry to build their list. Try not to rule anyone out until you’ve done your research.  As always, these guidelines should be balanced against everything else. Ultimately, you’re looking for an agent who genuinely loves your book and believes they can sell it. The fact that the agent may work for a small or large agency, or maybe new to the game or well-established, doesn’t matter.  You, the book, the agent. If these three things gel, then nothing else matters.  If you keep getting agent rejections or just want to perfect your manuscript first, then it’s time to ask for help. There’s lots of information out there. We’ve helped hundreds of authors in their writing journeys, and we can help you too. So, get in touch. 

A Rejection Letter To Avoid

In 2014, I came across a rejection letter from a, once half-decent, literary agency that ran in full like this: Dear John Many thanks for this. The writing is strong and the storyline intriguing. I have to tell you however, that agents are finding novels, even intelligently written commercial work like this, harder to place nowadays. Publishers are so subjective and only concerned with the bottom line. What I can do is to suggest an organisation who, for a reasonably low fee will make the full arrangements to ensure a full Kindle publication of your work. What is more, they will edit as well – obviously not a radically comprehensive edit – to a thoroughly presentable standard. Many Kindle books are going on at a later stage to traditional publication or Print on Demand. Their fee is just £950 and you get a free Kindle as well. Let me know if you would like me to put you in touch with them. OR There is a publisher we deal with now, (not vanity) who have taken some of my more worthwhile mss and I believe they will promote and publicise properly. They do charge a fee (£4,500 – refundable to you after sales of just 2,000) but I believe it is an acceptable deal as the writer enjoys a far better rate of royalties. One of my authors who has taken advantage of this, is Provost of one of the oldest Oxford colleges and is a knight of the realm. His work has just been nominated for an award for Political Fiction. My most recent was a High Court Judge. Let me know if you would like me to submit [novel title] to them. Very best wishes [Name] of Futerman Rose & Associates This letter was copied from Novel Rejects blog (my thanks to it for existing). I hope you don’t need me to tell to you that this is a poor letter for any agent to send. Also, do I think that Oxford Provosts and High Court Judges fall for this kind of nonsense? Lord help us all if they do, but perhaps they do. I alerted the Association of Authors Agents about this letter, and letters such as this are, in my opinion, emphatically contrary to their Code of Conduct (certainly in spirit, probably in letter, too.). In the meantime, probably useful to rehearse the basics once more. If you want to find a literary agent, you do so like this, and if you want to know what a literary agent does, they will do this. And on the question of reading fees and all that, just remember the rules of the road. These can be found over here. Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

How To Meet Literary Agents

Loads of new writers will be frustrated by the impersonal quality of the typical agent submission procedure. You send off your stuff – spend up to eight weeks waiting to hear something – then get back a pre-printed, slightly cold rejection letter. It feels so dispiriting, so unconstructive. Naturally, you can’t really blame agents. They handle a heck of a lot of submissions. They simply don’t have the time to respond personally to each one. What’s more, in the end, only one thing really, truly, absolutely matters – namely, how good your manuscript is. If your manuscript is fantastic, it will be taken on. If it isn’t, then no amount of networking will make the difference. So the first comment is a really simple one. Make sure your manuscript is as strong as it can possibly be. If that means using outside help (as for example the sort that we offer), use outside help. There’s no reason not to. Remember in particular that agents are not there to offer editorial advice (or at least, not until the manuscript is very close to the right quality already). If what you want is professional editorial feedback, then go to people who offer that as their core service. You will need to pay but you can get excellent, detailed, honest advice. It’s what you need. But assuming that you’ve done all that, making a personal connection with a literary agent can make a huge difference. But there are ways to do it and ways not to do it. Certainly, for example, you should not simply call an agent at work to request a meeting. These are busy people and you’re not a client. The agent will say no, and be annoyed at you for asking. Pouncing on an agent at some non-literary event. If you happen to have a friend who knows a literary agent, then introduce yourself when the opportunity arises. But be sensitive. Say, ‘I’m writing a book, I wonder if it might be possible to talk to you about it?’ That way, you are making it easy for the agent to say yes or not. They won’t feel trapped or pounced on. You’re giving yourself a chance, precisely by not being too pushy. But the best ways of connecting with agents is to go through the proper channels. If, for example, you are attending an event where an agent is a guest speaker, then you should certainly feel free to go up to the agent after the event and make their acquaintance. Again, be sensitive to what they want, but if they have come to this event in their capacity as an agent, they won’t be at all miffed to be approached. If you can offer to buy the agent a drink, you should do so – the nicer you are, the more they’ll warm to your ideas about your book. Better still, you should book up for an event which is all about writing and publishing – a writers’ conference, in fact. We run plenty of these events and they have been amazingly good at generating book deals. They work because agents are there to talk to writers and locate talent. If you can, make sure you go to a conference which is full board, or residential. That way, there’ll be entire days for you to meet agents, talk to them, buy them drinks, sit with them at lunch, and so on. If your book is strong, and you are charming, you have every chance that those contacts will flower into success. I hope so. Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Literary Agents For Paranormal Romances

All stories share a simple common structure, right? So the simplest way to outline your novel (or any type of story) is to use that universal template by way of scaffolding. And you do need to use some kind of novel outline before you start writing. Plotting a novel from scratch? Imagining the whole thing in your head before you start? That’s hard. Or, scratch that, it’s pretty much impossible. So don’t do it. Cheat. Use a simple, dependable template to build an outline of your novel, then slowly fill out the detail. Yes, filling in the detail can be a slow and tricky process. But you don’t care. Because if your basic outline is strong (and the idea that lies behind it is strong), you can’t really go wrong. And figuring out that template and how best to use it is exactly what we’re going to do in this post. (Or – full disclosure – it’s what you’re going to do. We’ll just help a little on the way . . .) Novel Outline Template In A Nutshell You just need to figure out: Main character (who leads the story)Status Quo (situation at the start)Motivation (what your character wants)Initiating incident (what disturbs the status quo)Developments (what happens next)Crisis (how things come to a head)Resolution (how things resolve) What A Story Template Looks Like Use a simple plot outline to get your ideas straight Let’s start simple. And that means, yep, that YOU need to start simple. Get a sheet of paper or notebook and have it by you as you work your way through this post. Ready? Pencil sharp and ready to go? So do this: Write down the following headings: Main characters Status Quo Motivation Initiating Incident Developments Crisis Resolution Simple right? And now sketch in your answers in as few words as possible. That means a maximum of 1-2 sentence for each heading there. If that seems a little harsh, then I’ll allow you 3 sentences for the “Developments” section: that’s where the bulk of your book is going to lie. But that’s all. At this stage, we don’t want complex. Complex is our enemy. We’ll get there soon enough, but for now just think, Structure-structure-structure. Too much complexity – all that intricate plot detail – just gets in the way of finding the actual bones of your novel. (Oh, and I don’t want to digress too much, but that same basic template works if you want to build a scene, or write a synopsis, or structure a key piece of dialogue. In fact, it’s just like this universal unlocking device for pretty much any structural challenge in fiction. Good to know, huh?) The Novel Template: An Example You probably want an example of what your outline should look like, right? OK. So let’s say your name was Jane Austen and you had a great idea for a story about a prideful guy and a charming but somewhat prejudiced girl. Your story outline might look something like this: CharacterElizabeth (Lizzy) Bennet, one of five daughters in Regency England. Status QuoLizzy and her sisters will be plunged into poverty if her father dies, so they need to marry (and marry well) MotivationLizzy wants to marry for love. Initiating IncidentTwo wealthy gentlemen, Mr Bingley and Mr Darcy, arrive. DevelopmentsLizzy meets proud Mr Darcy and dashing stranger Mr Wickham. She despises Mr Darcy and likes Mr Wickham. She discovers Darcy loves her and that Wickham isn’t all he seems. CrisisLizzy’s sister elopes, threatening the social ruin of her family. It now looks like Lizzy can’t marry anyone. ResolutionMr Darcy helps Lizzy’s sister. Lizzy agrees to marry him, deciding now that she loves him, after all. Now that’s easy, right? That’s the whole of Pride and Prejudice in a nutshell, and it was easy. You just need to do the same with your book or your idea, and keep it really simple. In fact, if you struggle to know everything that goes in the ‘developments’ section, you can even drop in some placeholder type comments. If you were Jane Austen you might, for example, start out by saying something like “Lizzy breaks with Wickham, because it turns out he’s a bad guy. He killed someone? Stole money? Something else? Something to think about.” And that’s fine. Don’t worry about any blanks. It’s like you’re building a tower and you’re missing one of the girders. But by getting everything else in place and putting a “girder needs to go here” sign up, the structure is still brilliantly clear. That’s all you need (for now.) Oh, and don’t bother separating those down into chapters just yet, you can worry about that later – but when you do, read this, it’s really useful! Finally, don’t complicate things if you don’t want to, but if you find it helpful to add a “character development” heading, then you should do that as well. Effectively, you’re extending your novel outline template to cover not just plot movements, but character development too – a brilliant all-in-one tool. Developing Your Story Outline Taking your template on to the next level Now, OK, you might feel that our template so far is just a little too basic. Which it is. So let’s develop the structure another notch, and what we’re going to do now is to add in anything we know about subplots – or basically any story action that you DO know about, which doesn’t fit neatly into the above plot structure. So if you were Jane Austen, and had a good handle on your story, you might put together something like this. (Oh, and we’ve called them sub-plots, but you can call them story strands, or story elements, or anything that feels right to you.) Subplot 1Jane Bennet (Lizzy’s caring sister) and Mr Bingley fall in love, but Bingley moves away, then comes back. Jane and Bingley marry. Subplot 2Lydia Bennet (Lizzy’s reckless sister) elopes with Wickham. She is later found and helped by Darcy. Subplot 3Odious Mr Collins proposes marriage to Lizzy. She says no. Her more pragmatic friend, Charlotte Lucas, says yes. Notice that we’re not yet trying to mesh those things together. In fact, the way we’ve done it here Subplot 3 (which happens in the middle of the book) comes after Subplot 2 (which comes at the end). But again: don’t worry. Sketch your additional story material down as swiftly as neatly as Miss Austen has just done it. The meshing together – the whole business of getting things in the right order, getting the character motivations perfectly aligned and all that – that’ll do your brain in. Yes, you have to get to it at some stage. But not now. Keep it simple, and build up. And that actually brings us to another point. How To Use Subplots If you’re a fan of Pride and Prejudice, you’ll know perfectly well that our outline so far still misses out masses of stuff. There’s nothing on where the novel is set. Or why or how events unfurl. It doesn’t say a thing about character relations, why each feels as they do. There’s nothing to say on character development, subtleties, supporting cast, and so on. And that’s fine to start with. It’s actually good. What does matter, however is your character’s motivation. Taking one subplot above as example, Charlotte wants security through marriage to Mr Collins. Lizzy, however, rejects her friend’s rationale. Charlotte’s marriage reaffirms Lizzy’s romantic values and, crucially, also throws her in Mr Darcy’s way again later in the book. Now that’s interesting stuff, but if a subplot doesn’t bear on a protagonist’s ability to achieve their goal or goals, that subplot must be deleted or revised. Luckily, though, our story structure template helps you avoid that pitfall in the first place. In fact, here are two rules that you should obey religiously: If you’re outlining a plot for the first time. Pin down your basics, then build up subplots and so on.If you have already started your manuscript and you think you’re uncertain of your plot structure, stop – and follow the exercises in this post, exactly as you would if you hadn’t yet written a word. And do actually do this. As in pen-and-paper do it, not just “think about it for a minute or two then go on Twitter.” The act of writing things out will be helpful just in itself. The act of writing always is. Plotting Your Novel: The Template Remember as well that every subplot (or story strand, or whatever you want to call them) has its own little journey. Maybe a very simple one, but it’ll have its own beginning, middle and end. Its own structure of Initiating Incident / Developments / Crisis / Resolution. So you may as well drop everything you have into the grid below. (If you want to adapt that grid a little, then do, but don’t mess around with it toooo much. The basic idea there is golden.) Main PlotSubplot 1Subplot 2Subplot 3Initiating IncidentMAIN PLOTCRISISRESOLUTION If you’ve got more complexity to accommodate than this allows, take care. No matter how sprawling an epic you’re writing, you need to be able to identify the essence or heart of the story you’re writing, so try paring your novel down – you can always add more details and columns after. What would your story look like, if you did this? How To Further Develop Your Plot Outline Advanced techniques for writing ninjas What happens if your plot doesn’t fit into that grid? If you give that exercise your very best go and just draw a blank? Well, no worries. The basic problems here are twofold: You don’t yet understand your plot well enough, orYou just don’t have enough plot to sustain a full-length novel. Two different problems. Two different solutions. If you don’t yet understand your own plot in enough detail, you want to use … Plot-building Tool: The Snowflake Method Seeing your own plot in detail, before you write the book, is really hard, because it’s like you’re standing on the seashore trying to jump onto Mount Everest. In one bound. Not gonna work. So get there in stages, Base Camp. Camp 1, and so on up. What that means for you, is that you use our basic template in sketch form to start with – a sentence or two per section. Then you go at it again, and give each section its own paragraph. Then you go at it again, expanding to 2-3 paragraphs, or whole pages if you want to. The same basic exercise, but getting into deeper levels of detail each time. If you want more about the “snowflake” approach you can find it right here. OK. But what if your plot outline just feels a little bit thin once you sketch it out? Answer you fix it – and you fix it NOW before you start hurtling into the task of actually writing. Here are the techniques you’ll need to do just that: Method 1: Mirroring This doesn’t mean tack on needless bits and pieces – characters shouting at each other for effect, etc. – but add depth and subplots, developing the complexity of your protagonist’s story. (Remember: if it’s not contributing to your protagonist’s journey, it doesn’t matter and you need to delete it.) To take another novel – supposing your name is Harper Lee, and your story is the tale of a girl named Scout – let’s say Scout’s spooked by an odd but harmless man living on her street. It’s fine, though there’s not yet enough complexity yet to carry a novel, so complicate it. One thought is giving her a father figure, say a lawyer, named Atticus. (Harper Lee herself was daughter of a small-town lawyer.) He’s fighting to defend a man accused of something he obviously didn’t do. Targeted for who he is, rather than anything he’s done. A black guy accused for looking different? An odd-but-harmless guy who spooks Scout? It’s straightforward, tragic mirroring. Atticus’ fight is lost, the stories interweave, and Scout learns compassion in To Kill A Mockingbird. Introducing that second, reverberating plot strand meant that Harper Lee’s novel had the heft to become a classic of world literature. Method 2: Ram Your Genre Into Something Different Another way to complicate your plot is to throw action into a different genre – such as sci-fi, fantasy or crime. So take The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. Looked at one way, that’s a pretty much standard issue romantic story, which, yes, could have sold, but could never have made the huge sales it actually racked up. But then ram that into a story of time-travel, and you have something shimmeringly new and exciting. What you had was still a romantic story at its heart – it certainly wouldn’t appeal to hardcore fans of SF/fantasy – but the novel element gave it a totally new birth. Or take Tipping the Velvet, by Sarah Waters. A picaresque Victorian historical novel . . . that kind of thing always had its audience – but that audience had never encountered a frankly told lesbian coming-of-age story in that context, and the result of that shock collision was to produce a literary sensation. Method 3: Take Your Character And Max Her Out Why was it that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo went on to get such gigantic sales across the globe? It wasn’t the quality of Stieg Larsson’s writing, which was never more than competent and which was quite baggy, to say the least. And the actual plot? Well, on the face of it, he delivered a fairly standard issue crime story. Nothing so unusual there in terms of actual narrative. But Stieg Larsson rammed that basic story with an exotic character: Lisbeth Salander. That woman had Aspergers, she was a bisexual computer hacker and rape survivor . . .and boom – vast worldwide sales resulted. Method 4: Add Edge – A Glint Of Steel A few years back, I was struggling with one of my books, This Thing of Darkness. (here) The basic plot was strong. The mystery element was good. There was at least one quite unusual element. The climax was rip-roaring (set on a trawler at sea in a force 10 gale.) But . . . The book wasn’t quite working. It was long. And it was just a long, long way from the set-up phase of the book to the denouement. My solution? A glint of steel. I took an incident from the middle of the book – a break-in, and a theft, but no violence, no real time action – and I turned that into a long sequence involving the abduction of my protagonist. That addition made a long book even longer . . . but it made the book. It’s not just that the sequence itself was exciting, it’s that its shadow extended over everything else too. Whereas before the book had felt a bit like, “yep, gotta solve the mystery, because that’s what these books have to do.” Now it was: “We HAVE TO solve that mystery, because these bastards abducted our protagonist.” Steel. Edge. Sex or violence. Those things work in crime novels , but they work in totally literary works too. Can you imagine Ian McEwan’s Atonement without that glint of sex? Would The Great Gatsby have worked if no one had died? How To Write A Plot From Multiple Perspectives If you’re eager to write about multiple protagonists, you need a plot outline, along the lines of the template above, for each one. George R.R. Martin took this to new levels in A Song of Ice and Fire, each protagonist having his or her own richly developed plot and character arc. John Fowles’ The Collector, for example, is narrated by a kidnapper and the girl he’s kidnapped. Sullen, menacing Fred justifies all he does. Miranda chronicles her fear and pity. The result is taut, terrifying. We’re engrossed in their shared experience to the end. Multiple protagonists can work in romance novels, too, even ones told in third-person narration, such as The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett, or Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. This said, managing multiple points of view, even from minor characters, can work well for thrillers, often driven by the drip-drip-drip of information release (though these things depend on story, as much as genre). The key thing to bear in mind here is that you need a mini version of your novel outline template for each of your main characters. Each one of those guys needs a complete little story of their own – and those little stories need to interweave to create one great and compelling one. More About Plotting How to write seven basic plotsHow to chart your plot mountain or plot diagramHow to fix your plot problemsUsing internal and external conflict in genre writingHow to write beginnings, middles and endsThe Power of Story and Discourse by Allie Spencer Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

9 Ways To Persuade An Agent To Take You On

I recently came across a useful article by Rachelle Gardner, an American agent, about how to get literary agents to represent you. She advertised 13 sure fire ways to get representation … but I have to say that not all of them struck me as realistic. Here’s my edited version of her list, with some comments. The good news is there are perhaps only nine things to worry about, not the thirteen Rachelle mentions. And if nine is still too many for you, the crucial point’s right at the end of this piece. Good luck and here’s how to get that agent. 1. A Fresh Idea This matters a lot, no matter what genre or market you are writing for. I was at a crime festival at the weekend where panellists complained about the glut of serial killers, weird murders and by-the-book procedurals that came out a few years ago. For sure, there are still top ten bestsellers writing exactly those kind of books. But they rose to the top, when that kind of writing still felt fresh and new. If you were a debut novelist, writing the exact same material, you would struggle to sell it today. Is that unfair? No! They wrote fresh work for the market as it was at the time. You need to do the same today. 2. Get Your Submission Right This matters, too. Look at what an agent asks for on their website and submit that exact material in the exact way specified. Even if that doesn’t seem to suit your plan or your book, you need to comply anyway. For now, you must realise there is absolutely nothing special about your manuscript and you must get in line with everyone else. Oh, and don’t muck up the covering letter or your synopsis. These things are easy to get right. We’ve got a simple guide to writing your query letter, we’ve got a sample query letter page, and we’ve got a guide to writing your novel synopsis. Simple. 3. Know Your Audience If you are writing fantasy fiction, you have to be a student of the genre. You have to know the classics. You have to know the modern twists on the classics. You have to know the market the way readers do – by reading masses and masses. The same goes for any other genre, including non-fiction. If you are writing a book about quantum theory, let’s say, you just have to know what other people have done, what approaches they took – and ensure that yours is different, new and compelling. All that starts with knowing your area. 4. Have Some Social Media Presence Here’s all you need to know about social media presence: If you have blog traffic in the 100,000s and Twitter followers in the 10,000s, and if your book is directly related to that traffic/following. (e.g.: if you’re a motorsport guru and your book is on motorsport), then your social media presence will help sell your book.If your traffic is not on that scale, then publishers won’t really care about it. Nor will they expect you to have traffic on that scale. Most authors just don’t.And if you’re writing a novel, who cares? I just don’t know how that myth gets propounded. Your agent submission, your story, is what’ll get you published. 5. Have An Impressive Platform This is true for some non-fiction authors, but that’s it. I wrote a history book without having any platform at all. No blog, no followers, no mailing list, no academic credentials in the field, not even a history A-level. That shows that, even with a serious subject, a good idea allied to good writing is all you need. That said, if you do have a strong platform (blog/mailing list/etc), it will help. Even so, this point only applies to non-fictioneers, and usually then only if the topic is of relatively focused interest, rather than broad popular appeal. 6. Include Links To Videos Where Agents Can See You Speaking Sorry, but no, this just doesn’t matter. No agent or publisher has ever asked me for this. I’ve done a few festival gigs myself, but the total book sales from those events probably numbers in the mere dozens of copies. Of course, publishers and agents would prefer a confident public performer to a stuttering, sweating wreck, but it’s just not a significant factor in anyone’s acquisition decision. 7. Show Some Familiarity With Today’s Marketing Requirements For Authors Nope, again, just not a real issue. I’ve recently published crime novels in the UK and the US. Neither publisher has asked me to tweet about the books, to do anything to support the books on Facebook, to promote them via blogs or mailing lists. I have, in fact, done a few things on those fronts, but they don’t make a big heap of difference and publishers just don’t care. It’s not what sells books. And how could it? Let’s say you have a Twitter following of 100,000 people. Let’s say you tweet about your new novel several times to those 100,000. You can’t do it more often than that because you’d look like a pushy moron. Most of your followers won’t even see your tweets, because following someone means dipping in now and again; it doesn’t mean reading every single tweet. I doubt if you would get more than 1-5,000 eyeballs maximum looking at your please-read-my-book tweet, but let’s say 10,000 to be generous. Of those 10,000, you would do very well to convert even 1% into an actual buy decision. (And that 1% is a lot higher than the average ad-conversion rate online. It’s higher by about 1-2 orders of magnitude.) So 1% of 10,000 views is 100 book sales. Great. No one says no to selling 100 books. But from a publisher’s perspective, that’s a mere dop in the ocean of what they need to achieve. So they don’t care about your Twitter following. They. Just. Don’t. Care. 8. Show A Cursory Acquaintance With The Agent You’re Pitching To Yes, kind of. It certainly helps if there’s a little personal something in your covering letter, but only a bit. And if you’re struggling to say anything, then don’t worry about it. My literary agent, Bill Hamilton, represents Hilary Mantel, and I’ll bet that a large fraction of letters addressed to him say, ‘Dear Mr Hamilton, As you’re a fan of historical fiction, such as that written by Hilary Mantel, I’m hoping that you’ll be interested in my book …’ And what does that mean, really? It means that you’ve picked one starry name from a much longer client list and that you’ve done so because someone told you that you had to find some way to personalise your letter. If there’s an angle which feels natural and authentic, then mention it. Otherwise don’t. It’s that simple. It\'s also important to visit the agent\'s blog. Very few agents in the UK have a blog, so good luck with that. Obviously, if they do, then visit it. But see my comment above: natural and authentic is good. Anything else is not. 9. Take The Craft Of Writing Seriously And lastly (but most importantly) you must be serious about the craft. That means copyediting and presentation have to be very good (but not, at this stage, perfect). It also means that you need to have structurally edited your manuscript so it is in good shape. Yes. Gimmickry or forced humour in your opening approach to agents won’t feel great in the cold light of a Monday morning. Keep it professional. The ONLY Thing That Will REALLY Get You An Agent Write the best book you possibly can! If you have a truly dazzling book you could have no social media profile at all, be all but mute in the presence of other people, know nothing about your agent, and still get taken on and do very well indeed. In the crazy world of publishing, authors have very little control or say as to what the public want to read, or editors and agents are taking on. So focus on the one thing you CAN control - and that\'s writing the best book you possibly can. Good luck and happy writing! More On Finding An Agent How to Find a Literary Agent (the Simple 8 Step Guide) Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Harry Bingham’s 45 Tips To Help You Find Your Literary Agent

If you make it as a writer, it is highly likely that your relationship with a literary agent will be the most enduring and important of your entire career – so the decisions you make at this stage really matter! The tips below won’t guarantee you that you find the right agent for you, but if you follow them carefully, they will help your chances of doing so. Keep reading – and good luck! How To Choose Your Agent Shortlist 1. Know your genre In finding agents, you need to have a reasonable understanding of your own genre. In some cases, that’s clear. (Got a detective? You’re writing crime.) In other cases, it’s not – in which case, you’re probably writing general, contemporary fiction. Which is fine. Not all work has a very specific genre. But if you’re in this broad, general category, it helps to know if your work is more commercial or more literary. If it’s in between (thoughtful, but accessible) you can describe your work as ‘suitable for book groups’. That’s a hot area for literary agents, so do use the phrase if it applies to you. (Whenever you search for agents through us, be sure to select your genre before making use of other filters.) 2. Don’t box yourself in Plenty of work falls on boundaries between different territories. For example, if you are writing a near-future thriller, you could equally well describe your work as sci-fi, or as a techno-thriller. An agent who did like thrillers but didn’t normally handle space-opera type SF might well be interested. It’s fine to approach agents who work on either side of your boundary. Other common areas of overlap might be “chick-lit noir”, so look at all the genre options. Be willing to think about agents who work in areas adjacent to your own. 3. Don’t search for specialists Most agents don’t specialise. My own literary agent handles high end literary fiction, and serious non-fiction, and popular non-fiction, and chick-lit, and crime. What’s more, he handles bestselling writers in most of those categories. The lesson for you is simple: you need an agent who is open to your genre. You do not need one who specialises in it. 4. Don’t look for an agent who is local to you Most agents work in London. Most writers live elsewhere. But agents only congregate in London because that’s where the publishers are. Since you want your agent to really, really know the publishing industry, you shouldn’t select one on the basis of how close they live to you. Truth is, you won’t see your agent face to face all that much – and when you do, it’ll mostly be because you’re seeing your publisher. The only real exception to this rule has to do with Scottish writers, who may prefer an Edinburgh-based agent, simply because travel to London is so expensive and time-consuming. Even then... all the big publishers are based in London. Personally, I’d want my agent to know those guys intimately. 5. You want an agent who wants you Every world has its superstars, and there exists a handful of superstar agents with high name recognition. But those guys have starry names because their client lists bulge with bestsellers. Realistically, those guys are much less likely to offer you representation and they will have much less time to offer you if they do. 99% of new writers (and maybe 99.9% of them) will be better off with an agent who is genuinely eager for their business. You’ll get more time and more attention. Look for agents keen to build client lists, they are more eager to find and take on new writers. View all agents here. 6. Remember that it’s publishers who create bestsellers, not agents A lot of writers will read the advice above and think, “I want my career to stand the best possible chance of success. Why wouldn’t I get the top literary agent out there?” But you don’t want the ‘top agent’. You want the best literary agent for you. That means one who has the time to take you through editorial changes, who won’t ditch you as a client if things don’t immediately go to plan, and who will argue patiently and sincerely for your merits. In short, you want one who won’t be distracted because J.K. Rowling, Ian McEwan, et al., is on the other line. And the core of any agent’s job is simple. It’s to think of 8-10 editors who might well like your work, then email it to them. That’s it. And any competent agent should be able to do that. You don’t need to be a superstar. 7. Look for points of contact When you’re reviewing an agent’s profile, look for any points of contact. “Loves rock-climbing” might not mean much in terms of literary tastes, but if you’re a keen climber, you shouldn’t scorn that potential point of contact: you’re looking for anything. And if you’re not a climber, but your book has a superb climax set in the high Alps, then thats a definite reason to reach out. 8. Look for agents who represent your favourite authors Perhaps there’s an author in your exact genre whom you love, in which case it would certainly be interesting to find out who represents that person. But you don’t really have to find authors in your genre. For example, if you are writing “chick-lit”, but there’s an agent who represents a couple more serious authors whom you adore, then that’s a meaningful point of contact – an indicator of shared taste. Just search the name of an author (surname only is fine) and their agent will appear, assuming that the agent-author relationship is public information. 9. Avoid the obvious! You’re a crime writer? Yes, you admire Ian Rankin, of course you do. But Ian Rankin’s agent will get a lot of letters says, ‘Dear X, You represent Ian Rankin who is one of my favourite crime authors...’ Do you really think that the good Mr X is going to sit up and take notice? 10. Compile a shortlist of 8-12 names, and then double-check everything We recommend a shortlist of about a dozen names, no more. Most books won’t even go out to as many as a dozen publishers and editors are even pickier than agents, which means if you can’t impress one in 12 agents, you don’t stand much hope with publishers. But don’t go to too few agents either. Approach six or fewer and you risk being rejected for essentially random reasons (too busy right now, lost your manuscript, don’t really like this kind of story, got a client who’s doing the exact same thing right now...) Once you’ve got a shortlist of agents that you’re happy with, you should double-check their websites. Our own database is as up to date as we can make it – but there are limits to our reach and you are hoping to sign up with someone for the duration of your career. Now’s a good time to double-check your facts!). So, in sum, find a literary agent in your genre, one looking for new clients (or at least open to them). Ignore location. Seek points of contact, including favourite authors. Then check and double check your shortlist. How To Write A Query Letter For Literary Agents 11. Get their name right Is it John or Jon? Is it Mr Sam Spade or Ms. Sam Spade? Don’t offend an agent with your very first words. You also need to make sure that you have their current address and other details correct. If you don’t know whether it’s Miss Jo Johnson, Ms Jo Johnson or Mrs Jo Johnson, it’s just fine to write “Dear Jo Johnson,” In fact, Dear Firstname Lastname is probably standard these days, publishing is not a particularly formal industry. 12. Re-check the basics If you’re writing children’s fiction, don’t send your work to an agent who handles only adult material. And while most agents wanta a fairly standard submission package (letter and synopsis and first three chapters), do check what this specific agency wants and follow their rules. 13. Keep it simple A covering letter doesn’t need more than a page. Perhaps if your work is quite literary and you want to expand a little on theme and your impulse to write it, you can go into a second page – but that qualification applies to maybe one writer in twenty. In other words, it probably doesn’t apply to you. 14. The first paragraph should cover the basics, briefly Your first paragraph should be just a sentence or two that sets out: (a) the title of your book, (b) the approximate genre, (c) a brief characterisation of the book and (d) a word count. Thus, for example, if I had been a new novelist seeking an agent for my Talking to the Dead, I might have said: “I am writing to seek representation for my first novel, Talking to the Dead. The book is a Welsh-set police procedural of about 115,000 words and features a young female detective, who is in recovery from Cotard’s Syndrome.” See? That’s a perfect first para because it instantly gives an agent their need-to-know info (crime novel, Wales, police procedural, word count), plus a little teaser – a reason to read-on: “Cotard’s? What’s that? Sounds interesting …” That opening paragraph is not hard to write. If you can’t write a perfectly good one, then your book is no good anyway. 15. The next paragraph can expand The next paragraph should open out a little more. So my second paragraph might have said something like this: “The detective, Fiona Griffiths, is a twenty-something junior officer, based in Cardiff. She’s highly intelligent, driven … and odd. As a teenager, she suffered from a genuine but rare disorder, known as Cotard’s Syndrome – a psychological condition in which the sufferer believes themselves to be dead. Fiona is no longer directly afflicted, but the illness continues to dominate her life and her sense of self. Then, as her Major Crimes team starts to investigate the violent deaths of a part-time prostitute and her, Fiona realises that the past feels dangerously alive again.” That’s all you need. The paragraph expands our opening teaser into something with more meat on it – something that should tempt a reader to read on. But that’s all – about a hundred words should be fine. If you’re going over the 150 word mark, you probably need to rein back. 16. That paragraph should convey your elevator pitch or USP That second paragraph has one crucial job: it’s to force the agent to turn to page 1 of your manuscript with a smidge of excitement and interest. That means you need to convey the Unique Selling Point of your book with brevity and force. Note that you should not say, “The Unique Selling Point for my book is...” That just feels heavy handed and clunky. (Want to know more about Elevator Pitches? Find out here.) 17. You do not need to summarise your plot That’s the job of your synopsis. Notice that my sample paragraph above (point #15) said nothing at all about plot. Yes, it mentioned the initiating murders, but that’s it. It doesn’t say anything about what happens thereafter. It doesn’t need to. 18. You are not writing a book blurb The blurb on the back of a book belongs on the back of the book. You are addressing a potential agent, not a potential bookshop browser. Thus the paragraph above about Talking to the Dead mentioned Cotard’s Syndrome, which no book blurb would ever do. (Because that would ruin one of the big reveals at the end of the book.) Focus on the agent and your USP or elevator pitch. The blurb will come much, much later in the process. 19. You don’t need to explain everything If you are writing about a fantasy world where – I don’t know – gravity is upside down, or England has a good footie team, or Amazon pays some tax, you can pick out anything that is key to your brief overview of the book. But you don’t need to explain every little thing. The covering letter needs to offer a glimpse of stocking, no more. The book itself will do the rest. 20. Finally: a few words about yourself And that means a few words. “I am a thirty-something mother of two. I currently work part-time as an accountant, but am retraining as an exotic dancer.” Or whatever. Unless there is a direct and important relationship between who you are and the topic of your manuscript, you don’t need more than the very briefest sketch of who you are. No one cares and no one ought to care: it’s your book that matters here; you are merely its transmission device. 21. Your website, your Twitter account, or your online footprint are much less important than you might think You will see suggestions online, including from some people who should know better, that these days agents really care about your social media profile. And that is simply not true. Yes, admittedly, if you have 100,000+ blog visitors monthly and your book is a non-fiction work directly connected to the subject of that blog, then agents will be impressed, and so will publishers. But that’s it. Blogs or sites with smaller followings don’t mean much in sales terms, and they certainly don’t mean much when it comes to promoting fiction. So you just don’t need to say anything about your current online footprint. If publishers want to discuss it with you down the line, then they will, but it’s not something to worry about for now. (And by the way, my Fiona Griffiths crime series has been published all over the world, is critically acclaimed, and has been televised. In all that time, I’ve only had one conversation in publishing about my e-footprint, and that was early on, and was never followed up. That’s how little publishers care.) 22. If you’re impressive, say so (for fiction writers) A covering letter is not the place to mention your school prizes or your work on the parish magazine, but if you have accomplished something genuinely noteworthy say so. “The maritime scenes in my novel draw heavily from my own experiences at sea: I have sailed single-handed round the world and have competed in a number of international yacht races. The shipwreck scene towards the climax of my novel is largely based on a similar accident that befell me a few years back.” A paragraph like that would do very nicely – but, if you’re writing fiction, it’s not all that likely you have a similar connection to make. In which case, don’t worry. Most people don’t. 23. If you’re authoritative, say so (for non-fiction writers) While it’s relatively rare for fictioneers to include much biography in their covering letter, the reverse can be true of non-fictioneers. For example, if you are writing a book on artificial intelligence, then you will certainly be expected to demonstrate authority. So: “I am current head of Google’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory …” Or, “I am Professor of Cybernetics at the University of Wherever …” Or, “I have worked extensively as a smart systems consultant to blue-chip companies including …” “I am the Science and Technology editor on the XYZ newspaper …” Any of those things would do just fine. “I’m a keen amateur student of these things and think the subject is really, really important” – that kind of thing would not fare so well. As a non-fiction author, you are expected to demonstrate compelling knowledge. 24. If you’ve self-published, that’s fine, but be realistic These days, agents will receive plenty of self-published manuscripts, and it’s fine if yours has already seen the light of day. But agents will only be impressed if your manuscript has seen a lot of downloads. That means 30-50,000 downloads, if the manuscript was being offered for free. And it means at least 10,000 downloads if the manuscript was being sold at a meaningful price. ($0.99 or £0.99 as an absolute minimum.) 25. Be careful about mentioning competing similar works If you are writing fiction, it’s fine to place your novel by triangulating from other authors. For example, you might say, “This is, roughly speaking, Philippa Gregory territory, but transposed to Dark Ages Mercia.” That helps an agent understand the kind of book you’ve written. (Though even in that example, it would probably be better to convey the same message without the PG reference.) On the other hand, it is not clever to say, “My book combines the philosophical grandeur of a Saul Bellow, the prose of John Banville and the compelling narrative of a James Patterson.” You’re welcome to think all those things – but don’t say them out loud. If you are writing non-fiction, a couple of references are very often useful. For example, “The book is a lively, popular account of quantum physics, in the footsteps of such texts as Quantumly Wonderful by Mr A and Oh What a Wonderful Atom by Ms B.” If you do use that kind of tactic, be very clear about how your book differs from those fine texts. 26. Don’t misspell anything Humans make typos and most writers are human. And that’s fine: a well-presented manuscript doesn’t have to mean a flawless one, but an agent submission pack is the first thing the agent reads. So no misspellings. None. No excuses. That also means you need to avoid all other hideosities. No it’s when you mean its. No references to my “fiction book”. (It’s called a novel.) No bad punctuation. You want to be a professional writer. So be professional. 27. No horrible sentences And mere tidiness is not enough. You also can’t express yourself badly. You need to eliminate any clunky, ugly, or badly phrased sentences. So don’t write sentences like this: “Emily (who is the hero in this bit) then finds herself in a dungeon which is really like the one in Game of Thrones (second series) except that my one has this big arched window really high up, which Emily tries to climb out of for an escape attempt but can’t because she slips and really hurts her ankle.” Don’t write sentences even a bit like that. Please. They make our gums hurt. In sum, keep your letter short. All you need is a couple of overview-type sentences, then a paragraph or so on your book, then a short paragraph of background about you. That’s it. Make sure that you get the basics right (spellings, punctuation, who you’re addressing) and make sure you write with economy and professionalism. How To Write A Wonderful Synopsis 28. Don’t stress Most writers stress over their synopses. They shouldn’t: the things just aren’t that important. Some agents ask for them but hardly read them. Get your synopsis right, yes, but don’t fret about it. Half a day should be easily enough for the task. 29. Keep it short, but not crazy-short Anything from 500 to 1,000 words is fine. Less than 500 words seems a little on the thin side (unless perhaps your book has a notably clean narrative line, in which case OK.) More than 1,000? No need. That’s just more words. Keep it tight. 30. Tell the story A synopsis tells the story of your novel. That’s all it does. You’re not pitching the novel. You’re not writing a cover blurb. You’re just telling the story. Which you know intimately, right? This is not a hard assignment. 31. Keep your text neutral A synopsis isn’t usually a good place for atmosphere, humour, detailed characterisation, or anything else. Those things are for your book. A simple factual narrative is fine. 32. Don’t worry about spoilers Of course there are spoilers in the synopsis, just like there’s alcohol in beer. That’s kind of the point. If you really, really don’t want to give away the very ending, you can say something along these lines: “Jones is all set to raid the warehouse, when Karen arrives with news that will devastate them both – and lead to a final, bloody and unexpected finale.” But, if you can steel yourself to do it, just tell the whole darn story including the ending. That’s what agents want. 33. Put key names in bold When you first mention the name of a key character, you should set it in bold, or even bold caps. Like this: “KAREN, a thirty-something police sergeant, is appointed to ….” That makes it easy for an agent to see who’s who and to check back if they get confused. (And synopses are confusing; that’s just the way they are.) 34. Presentation matters. So does your prose As with the covering letter, you should make sure that your synopsis is well-presented and free of horrible sentences. 35. You can briefly restate your book’s USP before the synopsis proper If you want, you can have an italicised line or two before the synopsis proper that sets out the book’s premise or broad narrative arc – anything that reminds the agent why they like the idea. So, for example, this would be nice: “Jacob is a diamond dealer in Rotterdam. When his warehouse is burgled, he wonders how the thieves got past his security system … and why his wife was driving the getaway car.” That sets up an enticing premise in slightly more than 30 words. Or you can sketch the whole story in the same kind of space: “Two brothers quarrel in the trenches of the First World War. They separate and each found a mighty oil business – one striking rich in the sands of Persia, the other sprouting up in the oil fields of East Texas. Then another war comes and the two men are obliged to confront their pasts – and each other.” That’s fifty-something words and sketches a book that is 600 pages long (my third novel, as it happens.) These introductory snippets don’t excuse you from writing a full synopsis, they just enrich the one you’ve written. So recap your story in about 500-1000 words. Put key character names in bold. Keep your prose clean and reasonably neutral. Avoid howlers. You get bonus points for a short, tempting intro. How To Prepare Your Manuscript For Literary Agents 36. Check: Are you really ready? Most writers send out their manuscript before it’s ready. That can mean anything from poor prose and a lousy concept through to a text that is really pretty good but in need of a good, hard, final edit. A lack of polish can kill your chances, so be professional. Give your manuscript another close read. Be picky: agents will be. (Not sure if you’re ready? You can get paid-for editorial advice for your manuscript. It’s very rare that writers are not helped by professional editorial feedback.) 37. Your first three chapters: getting that right Most agents ask for a covering letter, a synopsis and the first three chapters. But what do the first three chapters really mean? What if your chapters are strangely long? Or short? And should you count your prologue? The answer is that agents don’t really care about these things. Just send about 10,000 words, ending at a natural break in your text. That’ll do fine. 38. Check for common errors This post isn’t long enough to list them all, but here are the top fifteen. 39. Check spellings, punctuation, typos, prose No horrible sentences, okay? A few typos don’t matter, but good presentation is still essential. 40. Make sure that your text is properly formatted There are no strict rules here (unlike in the screenplay business), but do check that: – Your margins are normal (your program’s default settings are fine).– Your text is 1.5 or double-spaced.– Your dialogue is correctly presented.– You begin each chapter on a fresh page.– You avoid weird fonts.– You lay your book out like a book, not a business letter. That means no blank line between paragraphs, but each paragraph should be indented (anywhere from 0.2″ to 0.5″). You should set the indents with the Paragraph Format menu or with the Tab key. You should not rely on the space bar.– Either left hand justified or both-sides justified text is fine.– It’s still better to print on one side of the page only. If that offends your eco-sensibilities, plant a tree – or look for agents who take work by email: most now do. 41. Remember to insert page numbers This gets its own bullet point, because a lot of people forget, and then have to print their stuff off again. And while you’re at it, pop your name and manuscript title in the header or footer of each page. (So when an agent drops your stuff, they can put it all back together again.) 42. Nice clean title page, please Your title page should ideally contain: – Your title (in a font as large as you like)– Your name– Your contact info– A word count, rounded to the nearest 1,000 or 5,000 words– And nothing else You do not need a dedication, or an acknowledgements, or anything along those lines. This isn’t a book yet, it’s a pile of paper. Also, it’s a bit fancy-pants putting an epigram on a manuscript, but some manuscripts are a bit fancy-pants. In which case, put it on the title page, or on the page immediately following. 43. No copyright notice You don’t need a copyright notice – it’s legally meaningless and, in any case, no agent steals copyright. 44. No cover art! A publisher is not going to use your cover art. So don’t show it to agents. 45. The Golden Rule There is only one golden rule of the agent submission process and that is the hardest. You must write a wonderful book. Good is not enough. Competent is not nearly enough. Agents take about 1 in 1,000 submissions. Your work has to dazzle. Happy writing, and best of luck! More than ready to get the ball rolling with agents, but just need a little push? Or perhaps you’ve had a few rejections but aren’t sure why? Our Agent Submission Pack Review gives you detailed professional advice on how to perfect your submission and increase your chances of securing an agent. Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Literary Agents For Food And Cookery Books

The cookery market remains a solidly dependable corner of the books market with many literary agents representing the non-fiction genre. What’s more, it’s an area which is still dominated by full-colour, hard-copy books, which means that the ebook revolution has done little to change the basic market. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the market dynamics remain challenging for most potential writers in this area. The one sure fire way to get a cookbook published is to make sure that you have a TV show first. Or a column in a major newspaper. Or you’re a celebrity with some lifestyle angle to promote. For ordinary cookery writers, it is hard to get publishers interested enough to invest in a book, not least because the high production quality now expected in this area means that a book needs to shift a lot of copies to break into profit. But faint heart never won fair maid, and there are still opportunities for new, unknown writers. Especially if you can bring a particular expertise in an under-explored area of food and drink. AgentMatch has a complete list of every agent in the UK with full details about what genre they handle and much more besides. If you’re looking for an agent, then you’re in exactly the right place. You just need to become a member. AgentMatch And How To Use It There are plenty of cookery-loving agents and you won’t want to approach them all. The best way to develop and refine your own shortlist of likely targets is to visit our page and use the search tools on the left to make your selection. You can select by genre (e.g. food and cookery) but you can also select by the agent’s level of experience, their appetite for new clients, and very much more. Our database is completely comprehensive and it’s really, really easy to create the searches you want. More On UK Literary Agents UK Literary Agents, the Complete List (with Links to Agent Profiles) Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Literary Agents For Horror

Ever since the horror genre was so memorably revived and expanded by Stephen King, horror has been a reliably steady element in the publishing canon. The advent of teen paranormal sagas has brought new readers to the genre (while also altering its boundaries). The ebook evolution has also, arguably, brought new readers to the field, as young men (always more reluctant book-readers) have been more willing to purchase long-form fiction via their tablets and phones. What’s more, the genre shouldn’t be seen in too restrictive terms. Classy contemporary authors such as the award-winning Lesley Glaister add quality to the genre. And then you could also argue that such very well-respected authors as Susan Hill have in fact been writing ‘horror’ for years, albeit not for the audiences normally associated with the area. Many crime and thriller authors also effectively plough through classic horror territory. (Oh, the noises from that old stone cellar? They’re nothing. No. Honestly, nothing.) AgentMatch And How To Use It AgentMatch is designed to let you easily filter on and find the agents you need. There are plenty of horror-loving agents and you won’t want to approach them all. The best way to develop and refine your own shortlist of likely targets is to visit our page and use the search tools on the left to make your selection. You can select by genre (e.g. horror) but you can also select by the agent’s level of experience, their appetite for new clients, and very much more. Our database is completely comprehensive and it’s really, really easy to create the searches you want. All you need to do is become a member. Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Literary Agents For Politics And Current Affairs

There’s a very broad and eclectic group of books covered by this. If your book isn’t strictly about politics but is (like Malcolm Gladwell’s) about how society actually works or (like Michael Lewis’s) about specific aspects of how the world works, then you are probably still looking for agents who work in this same broad category. Do be aware that no agents specialise only in this area. You should expect your agent to represent not merely serious, topical non-fiction, but also (most likely) plenty of fiction, and plenty of other non-fiction as well. That doesn’t mean the agent concerned won’t have the necessary connections. He or she will have them and be motivated to place your work in the best (and most lucrative) place possible. AgentMatch And How To Use It On AgentMatch, there are plenty of politics-loving agents and you won’t want to approach them all. The best way to develop and refine your own shortlist of likely targets is to visit our page and use the search tools on the left to make your selection. You can select by genre (e.g. current affairs) but you can also select by the agent’s level of experience, their appetite for new clients, and very much more. Our database is completely comprehensive and it’s really, really easy to create the searches you want. The site is designed to give users a good feel for the data and functionality for free, but the real riches of our site are available only to members. Become a member. More On UK Literary Agents UK Literary Agents, the Complete List (with Links to Agent Profiles) Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Literary Agents For Romance

Romantic fiction, from Jane Austen onward, is one of the most enduringly popular of all genres. That doesn’t mean the genre always gets the respect it deserves. The way romance is usually used in modern publishing distinguishes “women’s fiction” (a loose label, which can be fairly literary, upmarket and serious) from “romance”, a term that encompasses commercial fiction (such as the happily mass-market brands of Mills & Boon and Black Lace), but also fun, frolicky romances issued by the big publishers. Because the genre is so broad, it’s not enough simply to look for agents with an interest in women’s fiction, though. You do need to find those who are interested in fiction at the more commercial end of the market. Luckily, we’ve made your agent search easy with AgentMatch. AgentMatch And How To Use It AgentMatch will help you find literary agents for romance novels. There are plenty of romance-loving agents, but you won’t want to approach them all. The best way to develop and refine your own shortlist of likely targets is to visit our page and use the search tools on the left to make your selection. You can select by genre (e.g. romance or literary fiction) but you can also select by the agent’s level of experience, their appetite for new clients, and much more. Our database is completely comprehensive and it’s really, really easy to create the searches you want. You can sign up for a week long free trial which is designed to give users a good feel for the data and functionality, but to get unlimited access to AgentMatch you can join us and become a member. Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Literary Agents For Women’s Fiction

Are you writing predominantly for women, about women, and in search of an agent? Women’s fiction is an incredibly broad and rich genre to be aware of as a publishing label. There is romance, there is domestic noir, there is literary fiction, and a novel being literary fiction need not cancel out it being a romance, etc., etc. Nor does any given sub-genre (e.g. domestic noir) mean that this is a genre read only by women, even if in the publishing world, it may tend to be marketed as such. So you need to be careful how you choose a book genre. Is it really a book group type of novel (i.e. accessible and literary)? Is it romance? Is it erotica? Just because your book might be about a woman sorting through a relationship (not necessarily a romantic one), doesn’t mean that you’ll to describe the novel as women’s fiction. Better to think more about what kind of book it is and what kind of agent you want. Luckily, we’ve made your agent search easy with AgentMatch. AgentMatch And How To Use It On AgentMatch, there are plenty of agents who love women’s fiction (including, by the way, plenty of male agents since this is not a girls’ only preserve), and you won’t want to approach them all. The best way to develop and refine your own shortlist of likely targets is to visit our page and use the search tools on the left to make your selection. You can select by genre (e.g. romance or literary fiction) but you can also select by the agent’s level of experience, their appetite for new clients, and very much more. Our database is completely comprehensive and it’s really, really easy to create the searches you want. This site is designed to give users a good feel for the data and functionality for free, but the real riches of our site are available only to members. Become a member. AgentMatch provides: A list of every agent in the UK;Masses of data on each one (photos, biographies, client lists, genre preferences, likes and dislikes, and much more);Search tools to make it easy to sort through all our goodies;Submission info for every agent;Further links to any other key information we’ve been able to locate on the web. Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Working With Literary Agents: 7 Ways That Things Can Go Wrong

We like agents. Like and respect them. Their job is exceptionally demanding: nearly all reading work is done outside of office hours and since agents read a lot, that means they’re working late pretty much every night. And they take risks. When an agent takes on a new writer, they’re committing upfront to a lot of work which will only be repaid if the agent is correct that the writer’s manuscript is or becomes saleable, with the agent’s help. Given how fierce the competition is, it’s impressive that agents have the confidence and commitment to keep fishing from the slushpile – yet fish they do. What’s more, an agent’s skills are very varied. Literary excellence lies at the heart of things, of course, but they need to be as pushy as car salesmen when it comes to auctioning a manuscript, as tough as lawyers when it comes to negotiating a contract, as silky smooth as a diplomat when it comes to smoothing ructions between authors and publishers and, of course, a good agent always has a firm strategic overview of their client’s career development. So – we repeat – we like and respect agents in general, but there are always exceptions. Agents who are no good, or decent agents who mess up now and again. We’re not going to name names in this post but there are patterns that do recur and which really, really shouldn’t. When Agents Mess Up – The Top 7 Horror Stories #1: The Three-Year-Old Goodbye Sometimes, things don’t work out. That’s fine. An agent takes on an author. Tries to sell the manuscript. Can’t. Hates the second MS that the author produces. Decides that enough is enough. That story – or variants on it – are common enough. And that’s okay. Picking manuscripts from the slushpile IS a chancy business and agents can’t get it right all the time. But it matters how an agent breaks the news. A professional client phones the author and says, ‘Look, I loved your first MS and made an honest effort to sell it. I didn’t succeed. In all honesty, I don’t like this second MS and I’m not sure that I’m still the right agent for you. I wish you the very best of luck in your future career, but I think we need to part company.’ Obviously no author loves that. On the contrary, any normal author will obviously feel upset and alarmed. But at least the conversation is direct, truthful and non-accusatory. It is, in fact, a professional way to break bad news. What we hate – and what is far, far too common – is that agents break the bad news in incredibly bad and stupid ways. The classic version of this is that the author emails the agent. No answer. Politely reminds the agent that they had a question, and asks for a response. No answer. Repeats the reminder, pointing out (still politely) that the question is (a) important and (b) still unanswered. At which point the agent tantrums back, ‘Well, if you keep hounding me like that, I think it’s pretty clear you no longer trust me as an agent, and without trust, what are we? GOODBYE!’ [And slams phone down, forever.] That’s not okay. It’s just not how any professional behaves ever. Yet we do hear stories along those lines at least once a month, and involving numerous agents, some of whom work at very well known and prestigious agencies. For sure, sometimes the author in question has been too pushy, or even crass, in demanding excessive amounts of the agent’s time. But not always. Sometimes the agent has simply failed to deliver bad news in a professional way. That’s not fine. How often does this happen? Often. It’s the complaint we hear most frequently.How bad is it? 3/5 bad, where 5 is worst. #2: Agents Don’t Communicate Key Info Agents are agents. You – the writer – are the principal. That means that while your agent may execute business on your behalf, they are only ever a proxy for you. And obviously, you’re nicely brought up and you won’t ask stupid, excessive or intrusive questions. But you do, for example, have a perfect right to know things like this: – how many publishers have seen my work?– which editors at those publishers did you send it to?– why – briefly – did you choose those editors/publishers?– what (roughly, and maintaining any necessary confidences) did those editors say in response? It’s YOUR work and you have every right to know those answers. Indeed, you shouldn’t really need to ask those questions: it should be completely routine for agents to discuss those things with you. You may, of course, choose to say, ‘Look, you know this area vastly better than I do. I trust your judgement, just go out there and do what you can.’ But if you ask the questions mentioned – or others of equal significance – then you should damn well get answers. Yet some agents are feeble about giving answers. Again, not okay. How common? Fairly common – much more so than it should be.How bad? 4/5 #3: Agents Don’t Guide You Through The Publication Process You’re an industry newbie. Your agent isn’t. So a non-negotiable part of their job is to hold your hand in your journey to publication. That doesn’t mean you get to talk over every tiny detail with them: agents have limited time and you need to be sober about how much time and attention you (and your particular project) can demand. That said, we recently heard about an author who had never been to a meeting with their publisher, and hadn’t even seen their book cover prior to publication. That’s appalling behaviour by the publisher, of course, but an agent should not have allowed that to happen. It’s not okay. Ever. Under any circumstances. How common? Very rare, fortunately.How bad? 5/5 #4: Not Properly Considering An Author’s Priorities At Auction What does an author want from a book deal? Well, publication certainly. Money, yes. But what else? Might you want a prestigious publisher? Or an editor with whom you have excellent personal chemistry. Or one who has a more holistic and flexible view of your likely career path than another. In short, you may have numerous motivations, only one of which is cash. And your agent has to respect that. He or she needs to get the best available offers, then lay them in front of you and ask: which is it to be? Obviously you’ll rely on your agent’s intelligence and advice in making that choice. You’ll want to meet, or at least speak to, your putative editor. Then you’ll make your decision taking everything into account, not just the money. Most agents we know will totally respect this. Indeed, if you probed them about it, they’d suggest – rightly, in our view – that if Publisher A offers 10% less cash than Publisher B, but is a better fit in all other respects, that ‘lower’ offer would prove more lucrative in the long run, as your career prospects will be better. So most agents will respect your non-financial motivations and will work hard to find the right fit as well as the right cash. But not all agents. Again, we heard about one agent recently who boasted to a senior publisher that she never allowed her clients take anything but the highest advance. She made that seem like a feat of machismo, of negotiating prowess. But that’s absurd. It’s terrible agenting and it betrays the client. It shouldn’t happen. How often? Hard to know. We think rare, but we could be wrong.How bad? 2/5 #5: Talking Crap In Public Most agents we know are open, approachable and warmly encouraging of new talent. That extends even to those senior agents who, realistically, aren’t going to get most of their new clients from the slushpile. But even those guys know that some of the biggest stars on their roster started out as total unknowns, and they respect the huge community of unknown writers toiling away out there. But. There are also agents who – in public, and to audiences containing wannabe authors – speak incredibly disdainfully of unpublished authors. When agents do that, it’s incredibly corrosive. The stories instantly spread on the internet and a false, but highly destructive, meme gets spread that agents hate writers. That the industry is snobby and exclusive. That agents are always secretly laughing behind the backs of the as-yet-unpublished. Our Festival of Writing is a place for agents to meet writers, offer feedback on work, mix and mingle, answer questions. That helpfulness, that warmth is the real truth about agenting, but one snobby and stupid comment can destroy those good impressions in a moment. We don’t like those attitudes and we wish they would vanish. How often? Rare, it just gets highly reported.How bad? 1/5 [It’s normally only a moment of stupidity.] #6: Consorting With Muggers Some agents have ties with vanity publishers – the old-fashioned sort who demand stupid money upfront for a product that they know damn well will never sell in any meaningful quantity. We have no problem with self-pub per se, but for almost all purposes these days the natural entry route is e-publishing. That’s cheap (or even free) and reaches a massive audience. The idea that agents, of all people, should be inviting writers to hook up with vanity publishers is simply disgraceful, yet we know at least one agent who has a habit of doing just that. How common? Not too common, thankfully.How bad? 5/5 This behaviour is utterly unethical in our view. #7: Charging Reading Fees No literary agency should ever charge you to read your book, to send it out to publishers, or levy any other compulsory upfront fee. This matters because agents are kept honest by having to work on commission. If they think your book isn’t going to make it with publishers, they won’t make money from it, so they will politely reject your work. If they could make a few bucks just by stringing you along, then unscrupulous ‘agents’ would no doubt do just that. Luckily, the practice of charging reading fees is exceptionally uncommon these days. We can think of one US-based scammer and two UK-based ‘agencies’ operating like this in the last ten years. And fortunately, the agent-as-scam business model doesn’t work: the scammers always go broke. How often? Very rare.How bad? 4/5 Oh, and we know we promised you seven ways that agents can fail, but here’s one last one: a bonus to you for reading so far. (Bonus) #8: Agents Demand Exclusivity And Then Never Do Anything Sometimes agents demand your manuscript in a burst of excitement, ask exclusivity as they read it, and then, nothing. Nothing at all. An echoing void. There’s probably not much more to that behaviour than poor time management, but it can really mess up your life. The good news here is that you don’t have to let it. First, you should never offer exclusivity for more than a week. Secondly, we’d gently suggest that you don’t offer exclusivity at all. If an agent wants your work, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t compete for it. (It’s different if an agent is working on a set of suggested editorial notes: then it IS reasonable for them to ask for something in exchange, like exclusivity.) And if you feel you’re being ignored, then don’t do nothing. After a couple of weeks has gone by, just drop a simple note that says you want to go on seeking representation and, while you’d warmly welcome that agent’s involvement, you will be going out to other parties as from Monday, or whenever. Don’t pick a fight. Just make it clear that this pause is not forever. Any half-decent agent will totally respect your right to do that, so don’t be afraid to do so. How common? Yep, pretty common, we’re sorry to say.How bad? 1/5 – you can always just walk away. The AAA (or Association of Authors’ Agents) One final point. Some writers look at membership of the Association of Authors’ Agents as being a stamp of approval. A sign that your interests will be protected. And that’s not really so. The AAA is a perfectly fine organisation, but it is an industry body whose task is to protect the interests of agents and amplify their voice. It is NOT primarily there to protect you; on the contrary, it’s primarily there to look after agents. Yes, it does have a rule against agencies which charge reading fees, but the way that rule operates disqualifies excellent agents like John Jarrold (his site) because John also works as an editorial consultant. In other words, we’re not quite sure that the one clear and useful writer-protecting rule actually functions as it ought to. When we’ve raised matters such as agents who recommend authors to vanity publishers to the AAA, their approach has been a polite shrug. It is not their policy to intervene on agent/author ethical matters except in extreme cases, and those cases apparently do not include suggesting that authors waste their money with charlatans. Again: we don’t have a beef with the AAA, and its membership includes virtually every reputable agency in London, but be aware of its limits. As a writer, you need to choose an agent you get on well with, and who likes your work. You need to work professionally with that agent and be prepared to move on if it becomes clear that the agent is not dealing with you as they should. Most literary agents are great and you are not likely to have a problem, but we hope this list gives you some idea of what to look out for and how to cope. What problems have you had? What would you want to warn people about? Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Literary Agents For Erotica

There was a time when finding a literary agent for erotic fiction was pretty much impossible. Agents were too snobby, and the erotica genre simply didn’t pay enough money. Then along came E.L. James, and after her massive success, agents and publishers learned the value of books in the genre, and even quite highbrow agencies are now open to submissions of erotic fiction. Suffice to say that AgentMatch comprises a complete list of literary agents with a mass of data about what they want. Including erotic novels. AgentMatch And How To Use It There are a lot of erotica agents and you won’t want to approach them all. The best way to develop and refine your own shortlist of likely targets is to visit our page and use the search tools on the left to make your selection. You can select by genre, but you can also select by the agent’s level of experience, an appetite for new clients, and very much more. Our database is completely comprehensive and it’s really, really easy to create the searches you want. How To Get The Most From AgentMatch The site is designed to give users a good feel for the data and functionality for free, but the real riches of our site are available only to members. Would you like to invest in your writing journey? Become a member. More On UK Literary Agents UK Literary Agents, the Complete List (with Links to Agent Profiles) Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

How To Get An Agent For Your Thriller

It’s easy to think that because you’re writing a crime novel or thriller, you need an agent who represents crime thrillers. I write crime thrillers myself, yet my agent represents Hilary Mantel, and other esteemed literary authors, authors of different genres. You’d think he wouldn’t have been the right person to represent a gritty crime thriller, yet he and his team sold my work to markets in Europe and North America. As such, you needn’t get hung up on genre. A large majority of all agents have eclectic, varied tastes. They like balance and diversity in their lists. That can mean if you go to a ‘leading’ crime agent, you may get shorter shrift than if you go to an agent whose list happens to be a bit underweight in that area – your book could be just what they’re looking for to redress the balance. Nevertheless, it makes sense to target your submissions, to know you’re writing to an agent who likes crime fiction. It’s normally fine to call up an agency to say, ‘I’ve written a book about [your subject]. Which of your agents would be most appropriate for this?’ You should keep your enquiry very brief, business-like and polite, but you may get useful information, the politer you are. (I did. My first novel was rejected by Curtis Brown. Then a receptionist told me the MD there loved my kind of book, and I resubmitted it to him, so the book was accepted almost straightaway.) A little targeting, then, is fine, just don’t overdo it. Other good tips include: Check your favourite authors and see who represents them. (Use author websites or acknowledgments pages.) This is worth doing even if your favourite author writes in a different genre from you. If you and the relevant agent happen to share a taste for a certain kind of writing, it’s a fair bet you have some overlap. Try it.Check out who represents good but lesser known authors in your category. If you are writing a conspiracy thriller and you write to Dan Brown’s agent, you’re almost certainly wasting your time, since that agent’s desk will be awash with conspiracy thrillers. Also, anyone who represents Dan Brown is likely to have the bar set high. If you find talented authors who have not yet made the big breakthrough, those agents are probably far better targets for your submission letters. If you still think that you’re somehow going to be disadvantaged if you don’t have a Very Well-Known Thriller Agent on your side … think about this: Very Well-Known Thriller Agents have long client lists (of over a hundred names) and you will be the least important person on it. Is that what you want?The Very Well-Known Thriller Agent is probably not looking for new writers at all. Most of the additions to their list will be already established writers who are moving home for some reason. Lots of ‘big’ agents take on very few genuine debut authors.Selling a book isn’t rocket science. If an agent is competent enough to sell (say) a literary novel well, they’re competent enough to sell pretty much any other sort of novel, too. It’s just not that technical. If an agent’s contacts are weak in one area, a couple of phone calls is all it will take to make the required connections. It isn’t that hard for a well-connected agent to locate the people they need to approach. (Two exceptions: fantasy or sci-fi and children’s fiction. Those two markets are reasonably specialist.)Publishers know the next wonderful book could come from anyone. When Bill Massey, my editor from Orion, opened a manuscript from Bill Hamilton (my agent), it just didn’t make a difference to him whether Bill Hamilton had an amazing track record in crime fiction. Only two things matter at that point: (1) the editor loves the book, (2) enough other people in the company love it, too. That’s it. That’s all that ever matters. The name of the agent making the submission matters for maybe half a minute. Then the editor starts reading the manuscript and the agent becomes irrelevant. All that matters is your writing. You can read up on tips for writing crime and thrillers, or more on approaching agents, but either way – best of luck. More On Literary Agents UK Literary Agents, the Complete List (with Links to Agent Profiles) Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Literary Agents: All Your Questions Answered

You have a manuscript. You want it published. You know that you probably need a literary agent. But that, roughly, is where your certainty ends. And no worries: all newbie writers are in a very similar position. So here are all the questions you’re probably worrying about right now … plus some candid and totally straightforward answers. Tuck in. Have fun. And if there are other questions you’d like to ask about, just drop us a line. What are literary agents. What do agents do? ... and what is the role of the agent vs that of the publisher? Agents are primarily salespeople: their job is to sell your manuscript to a publisher. In effect, they make their living from selling your intellectual property. The buyers of that IP – your publisher, in other words – will produce and market the book to retailers and, ultimately, to readers themselves. But though literary agents are primarily salespeople, they will also: Help you edit your book into shape prior to sale (though they will only do this if your manuscript is pretty stellar in the first place.)Figure out which editors at which publishing houses are right for your work.Figure out the best approach to selling your manuscriptOversee the publication processStep in, if and when problems ariseNegotiate additional rights sales (eg: TV and film, foreign rights, audio, and so on)Offer long term advice and career guidance Agents may work solo, but typically work as part of a larger literary agency, which may have anywhere from two to a dozen or more agents. Most agents are based in New York or London, though in the US especially you’ll find literary agents in most large cities. Are literary agents free? If not, what do they cost? Literary agents charge nothing upfront. There is no fixed fee attached to their services. So how do they get paid? Instead, they charge commission, typically 15% for sales of your work to domestic publishers and 20% for more complex sales (eg: foreign or TV sales.) The two great things about this arrangement are (A) that you only pay for an agent if they succeed in selling your work, and (B) their financial incentives are almost completely aligned with yours. The not-such-a-small downside is that literary agents won’t agree to represent you unless they think they can make money. That means getting an agent is an extremely competitive business – an agent typically takes about 1 manuscript from every 1000 that she receives. (About 2/3 of agents are women.) That level of competition shouldn\'t frighten you exactly, but it should nudge you in the direction of thinking hard about the quality of what you\'re putting out there. Is your manuscript really ready to go? Have you edited it hard? Does the story shine? The single biggest mistake you can make is to send your book out before it\'s ready. If in doubt: do more. Do I need to have an agent? Are they worth it? Most big trade publishers take work seriously only if it comes via a literary agent. That means if you are writing a novel or mainstream non-fiction, you do really need an agent. That 15% commission might sting a little, but think about it. You get a seasoned pro to sell your work, advise you editorially, assist with any problems in the publication process, sell additional rights, and manage your career. Quite likely, that 15% is the best money you’ll ever spend. If your agent can’t earn you multiples of what you would have achieved on your own, then they’re not really doing their job. If you are intending to self-publish, of course, an agent is totally unnecessary – at least for now. When your sales are massive, agents will be begging you for your business ... What are literary agents looking for? Go into any large bookstore. Look on the front tables. Ignore the work of past bestsellers and focus on books by debut or other newer authors. Those books right there are the ones that literary agents are looking to buy: the sort of commercially successful debut work that commands big bucks from publishers. To find the kind of books that are making waves in your genre, you can: Look at what books in your genre are being heavily promoted by the bookstore. (Again: ignore major past bestsellers. So Stephen King will always command massive shelf space in the “horror” section, but he does that because he’s Stephen King.)Look at what books in your genre are on sale at a major supermarket.Look at Amazon bestseller lists in your genre, ignoring ignore books by self-published authors and by past bestsellers. That’ll leave you with newer, successful traditionally published authors in your genre. In a nutshell: agents are looking for books that are the same-but-different. That is, they take an existing successful concept and give it a twist that re-energises it for the same broad audience. Another thing you’ll hear from most agents is that they’re looking for an original and compelling voice – that is, they want your writing to sound fresh and distinctive. Easier said than done, we know! Where can I find literary agents? You’re in the right place. Jericho Writers has a service called AgentMatch, which represents a complete database of all literary agents in the US, UK and elsewhere. That database allows you to sort in a million different ways – for example, “Agents looking for science fiction” or “Agents in a smaller agency currently looking to expand their list.” It’s a natural first stop for almost any writer. Go here to see what AgentMatch looks like. Go here to get your free, 7-day trial (and free means free: we don’t even ask for payment details). Easy, right? How many literary agents should I query? Because it’s hard to get an agent, we strongly recommend that writers query about 10-12 agents when they are ready to submit their work. Why 10-12? Why not more? Why not fewer? We\'ll tell you: Why not more?Realistically, there are probably only 6-10 strong potential publishers for your book. That\'s one for for each of the Big 5 publishers, maybe a couple more for leading imprints within each publishing house, and maybe one or two large independent publishers too. (ie: big publishers, but just not quite on that Big 5 scale.) And publishers are harder to get than agents. Yes, most agents will sell most of the manuscripts they take on ... but their overall success rate is still probably only 2 out of 3, or something like that. So if you can\'t get 1 agent in 10 or 12 to take you on, the chances are you won\'t find a publisher. What that tells you is you need to do more damn work on your book. Only then will you be confident of success. Why not fewer?If you only go to a handful of agents, you\'ll find that some are busy, some aren\'t quite right for your book and ... whoops. You\'ve run out of agents. And if you query 10 agents, and still get nowhere: well, you know that you need to take a further look at your manuscript. If you query 10, and get an offer of representation - then well done you! Which literary agents should I choose? Let’s say, you’ve got your manuscript into shape (quite possibly with the help of our amazing editorial services). You\'ve decided (sensibly) to look for about 10-12 agents to approach. How do you pick those dozen? How do you find the ones most likely to respond to your submission? Well, there’s no fixed rule there, but here’s what we’d suggest: Look for agents who are looking to build their list. That means looking for newer / younger agents – possibly someone who has just set up their own agency, or someone who has just been promoted to agent within a larger agency.Look for agents who are open to work in your genre – AgentMatch can help with this, but do always check back against the agent’s own site, as AgentMatch doesn’t always update the instant an agent makes a change.Look for agents where you feel a point of contact. Maybe that’s something they’ve said in a blog post or interview. Maybe that’s because they represent an author you love. Or possibly something else. But look for something that speaks to you. Those three guidelines should be your guiding principles. You\'re looking for agents who want you (ie: they want new clients and they\'re active in your genre.) And you\'re looking for agents that you quite likely have something in common with (ie: those ones with some areas of identifiable overlap.) You should be able to find these agents with a morning or two\'s search. Again, you can get your AgentMatch trial here. Now it\'s time to send your work out ... How do I query a literary agent? What an agent wants to see when you query them can be a little variable, so do always check an agent’s website for details. That said, when it comes to fiction, most agents want to see: A query letter (also called a covering letter in the UK.) Details on how to write a query letter can be found here.A synopsis. A synopsis is basically a short, neutral summary of your story. To be clear, this is nothing like the blurb you’ll find on the back of a book. More info on how to write a great synopsis here.A chunk of your book itself. Typically agents want about 10,000 words / 3 chapters / 50 pages. But again, do check the agent’s site, because requirements vary quite widely. Writing a great submission pack is absolutely essential. It’s not too much to say that the fate of your query depends on it, and nothing else. To make absolutely sure you put together a great submission pack, use the Agent Submission Builder available free right here. That tool tells you how to structure both query letter and synopsis, and explains how to provide the content that the agent is looking to find. Why do literary agents reject manuscripts? The most common reason for rejection is simply that your manuscript just isn’t (yet) good enough to make the grade. An agent, or other professional reader, can very quickly tell whether: Your writing itself is poor. (If your writing itself doesn’t feel competent and professional, an agent will say ‘no’ without reading more.)Your basic concept is flawed (for example, there just isn’t a market for eco-thrillers that include long, long explanations of why plastic pollution is bad.) That said, there are a million other reasons why your manuscript might not get an instant Yes. Common reasons are: A given agent is just too busy. Their other work with existing clients is currently active enough that they have no time to spend on the slushpile.Something random. For example, an agent is looking for new clients, they like your stuff … but they’ve just taken on something really similar and can’t handle both.You haven’t properly understood what an agent’s tastes and interests are. In some cases, that’s because agents are poor at explaining what they’re after. In other cases, it’s because the information is out there, but you haven’t properly absorbed it.You haven’t queried enough agents. As we’ve already said, you need to go out to at least 10 agents to get a real feel for the market. If you are rejected, don\'t feel too downcast. I\'m Harry Bingham and I\'ve been published all over the world, in fiction, and non-fiction, multiple times. But have I been rejected? You betcha. So many times I can\'t even vaguely remember how often. By agents. By publishers. By TV and film companies. And truthfully? I hardly care. All you need is one Yes. A million Noes are neither here nor there. What if a literary agent wants to call or meet me? If an agent wants to call you or meet with you, it’s highly likely that they are very interested in your work. Any exchange between the two of you is likely to involve as much of them marketing themselves to you, as the other way round. Great. That’s the good news. In terms of you marketing yourself to the agent, you’ve already done most of the work. Your manuscript IS your marketing tool. If that’s in really great shape, you’ve done 99% of what you need to do. That said, you can make yourself seem even better, if: You are reasonably articulate. Trad publishers may want to push you out on book tours or newspaper interviews. If you can string a sentence together when in public, that’s helpful.For non-fiction authors, indeed, this capacity can be essential. I remember one Jericho Writers client who had written a great non-fiction book that got interest from three major NY publishers. Trouble was, they all wanted to meet the guy before they confirmed their indicative offers. At meetings, he was a difficult combination of over-confident and not truly articulate. None of those three offers materialised. Whoops!You are prepared for the idea that agents may want some editorial changes to your manuscript or title. Unless you really hate the idea presented by the agent, you are strongly advised to be open to their suggestions. That doesn’t mean to say there can be no further discussion … but if you seem closed to any advice at all, an agent may think you are not going to be a valuable client. A lot of the selling, however, will come from the agent’s side not yours. After all, if one capable agent loves your work, the chances are there\'ll be another one who thinks the exact same thing.So things you want to ask include: Why did you like this book? What made it stand out to you? That’s not you seeking praise. That’s you checking that your understanding of the book’s purpose matches what your agent sees.What editorial issues do you see in this book? What will I need to work on? Most books will need further work before submission. So you better make sure that you’re going to be happy with the agent’s workplan.What is the agent’s policy on communications? Will they check a draft submissions list with you? How often would they update you with progress?If your work is rejected by publishers, will the agent still want you as a client? Another way to put this is, is the agent making the choice to represent you, or the book? How involved will the agent want to be in developing and thinking about the next book you write?How involved will the agent be during the publication process? Do they intend to accompany you to publishers’ meetings?What is the agent’s attitude to self-publishing? Will they be OK with you self-publishing some material at some point in your career? It\'s worth laying down this marker now. You may well have no current intention to self-publish, but increasingly professional authors will straddle both traditional and indie publishing routes.How are foreign rights handled?How are TV and film rights handled? That gives you a great set of talking points … but in the end, your decision will be made as much in terms of chemistry as anything else. Yes, you want your agent to give the right answers to these questions – but most agents will. If you come away from your agent feeling excited, then you’ve found a perfect match. If you come away with more negative feelings, then you really may prefer to go on looking. What do I do if a literary agent rejects me? Let\'s say you\'ve sent out your work to 10-12 intelligently chosen literary agents. Here\'s the spectrum of possible responses: An agent offers you representationAn agent offers you representation if you make certain changes to your bookAn agent gives you a warm, but reluctant, rejection after having read your manuscript in fullAn agent doesn\'t ask for your full manuscript, but rejects your submission in a warm, encouraging and clearly personal way. (That is: the email or letter isn\'t just boilerplate that goes out to everyone.)An agent sends you out a form rejectionYou hear absolutely nothing at all. Unfortunately for writers, the vast majority of responses fall into the last two categories. That\'s just the brutal fact of competition in this hardest of industries. So what do you do? Well, you can give up and play golf. But you\'re not going to do that, because you\'re a writer to the tips of your tippy toes, so you\'re going to saddle up again and try again. The options facing you are roughly these: Query more agents. Not recommended unless you had 2-3 near misses from this batch of submissions.Revise your novel.Write a new bookSelf-publish. There are virtues to all of these routes. When it comes to revising your novel, I would urge you to consider getting editorial help (of the sort that we provide, for example.) Professional, third party editorial feedback remains THE gold-standard way to analyse and improve a manuscript. That\'s why we offer the service. That\'s why so many of our editorial clients go on to succeed. If you\'ve had some near-misses with agents, that\'s a screamingly huge clue telling you not to give up. If you\'re that close already, one more heave with a top quality editor (like one of ours) may well do the trick. If you think that there may be a fundamental issue with the concept behind your book, then writing a new book can be a great idea. What I would say, is that you need to make sure that your basic skills are in shape. Editorial feedback on your current manuscript is one great learning tool. Going on a writing course (like, yes, one of ours) is also a really good step to take. And because you\'ve already written one book, you\'ll be in vastly better shape to absorb and make use of the skills transmitted. And self-publishing? Well, look, I love self-publishing. But I do think you need to attack it as a Plan A type option, not a fallback because you couldn\'t crack the trad industry. Standards in self-published books are now very high, and it\'s going to be seriously hard to build a career and a loyal readership unless your books are of a quality to rub shoulders with anyone else\'s in your genre. More than ready to get the ball rolling with agents, but just need a little push? Or perhaps you’ve had a few rejections but aren’t sure why? Our Agent Submission Pack Review gives you detailed professional advice on how to perfect your submission and increase your chances of securing an agent.   Agents + trad publishing vs self-publishing: which is better? OK, this is a real apples-and-oranges question if ever there was one. The two publishing routes simply offer very different things and require very different approaches. The books and authors best suited to trad publishing are just different from those best suited to self-publishing. That said, for a rough guide, self-publishing will tend to be favoured by: Authors with quite an entrepreneurial, small business mindsetAuthors writing genre fiction (or subject-led non fiction, for example “How to write a business plan” or “Equine Care: all you need to know about looking after your horse”.)For authors of fiction, ones who write in series, rather than standalonesAuthors who have the capacity to be quite prolific. It’s common enough for indie authors to set 20 books as their benchmark for when they can make a full-time living from writing. Personally, I think that benchmark should be set a lot lower than that – but the point about being prolific is good, no matter what.Authors who aren’t afraid of a little tech and a few numbers. You certainly don’t need to be massively technical or numerate, but you will need to deal with a few different platforms and services and you will be dealing with some spreadsheets and some dashboards. If you hate and loathe those things, you’ll never realistically make a go of self-publishing.Authors who primarily want to make a living from writing. That means that the various other attractions of trad publishing (the kudos, having your book in physical bookstores, getting book reviews in newspapers, etc) are of relatively lower value. Traditional publishing on the other hand will work better for authors who: Prefer to hand the whole publishing process over to othersWrite more literary fiction, or one-off works of non-fiction (eg: “Fear: Trump in the White House”)Write standalones rather than seriesAre not especially prolific, and who don’t especially want to beAuthors who really don’t want to get down and dirty with mailing lists and ad-tech and all thatAuthors who place a high value on the various things that tradititional publishing can offer (the kudos, your books in physical stores, the possibility of newspaper reviews, etc) Truth is, you probably already know which kind of author you are – and if you think you know, you’re probably right! Who do I need ? Literary agents vs managers vs publicists. If you have a book to sell then you need a literary agent, period. The term “manager” just isn’t really used in the literary world, but in effect your agent is your manager. They’re going to be the one making sales on your behalf, turning down bad offers, chasing good ones, advising you on which opportunity to pursue next. And because your financial incentives are highly aligned with your agent’s, you can (nearly always) rely on the basic truthfulness of what you’re being told. On the agent versus publicist question: well, this is usually asked by people who have self-published their work on Amazon, find it’s not selling, and are wondering what to do next. If you’re in that position, then you need to ask yourself, what you really want. If you want to self-publish, then you don’t need an agent or a publicist: you need a self-publishing strategy and you need to write more books. You can find our short guide to self-pub right here. But you’ll notice that guide doesn’t talk about agents or publicists at all. Those guys can’t help. A lot of writers will want to reject that advice. Their argument will be, roughly, “Yes, but I have self-published. My book exists. Now I just need to get the word out.” Hmm. Well, an agent definitely can’t help with that: their job is selling manuscripts to publishers and you’ve chosen to self-publish. You can reverse that decision and seek trad publication instead (that’s fine), but you can’t both self-publish and have a trad deal. Hiring a publicist is a very slightly better idea, but it’s still a terrible one. For one thing, a half-decent publicist will cost $10,000 or more … and for another thing, they’ll reject the assignment. A publicist needs something to work with, and “self-pub author releases new book” just isn’t a news story. There are way over 7,000,000 e-books on Amazon. What makes yours special? Why would a newspaper or radio show want to cover your book? And truthfully, even if – which would never happen – you got a 1,000 word book review in the New York Times Review of Books, possibly the world’s most prestigious review outlet, what then? The answer is you’d sell maybe 20 or 30 additional copies, then everything would go back to just the way it was. $10,000 for 30 extra sales? It doesn’t even remotely add up. That’s why no indie author that I know uses a traditional publicist in any meaningful way. It just isn’t how self-published books get sold. (What does? Well: email lists, price promotions, book discount sites, paid advertising, cross promotions with other authors … and a whole bunch of other stuff that has nothing to do with traditionally oriented publicity.) In short: either self-publish properly, or seek proper traditional publication. Attempting some mash-up of the two will be a horribly costly way to sell almost no books at all. Oh yes, and I know that’s not what you wanted to hear, so sorry! Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Do Literary Agents Edit Manuscripts?

You asked. We answered. You’ve written your manuscript. You’ve edited hard. You are now on your fourth, seventh, nineteenth draft. You still absolutely believe in your basic concept and you are certain that you have a vocation for writing / authoring. But here’s the thing: you know your work isn’t yet good enough. Maybe you know that just because you’ve got that feelings in my bones. (And believe me: I’ve been there too.) Or maybe you’ve tried actually sending your work out to literary agents and had nothing but pre-printed rejection emails. (Or, worse, but very common – you haven’t even heard back.) So what next? It feels like a Catch-22. You want expert editing to help you over the last remaining hurdles, but the people who look like they ought to be helping you – those literary agents – aren’t even replying to your emails. So now what? And do these darn agents edit manuscripts, yes or no? Well, if you want the short answer, then it’s: Yes, they do edit manuscripts, but alsoNo, no, they really don’t. If that explanation doesn’t seem totally helpful, then I’ll see if I can make it a little clearer. When Agents Get Involved In Editing And when (more often) they don’t. When it comes to your dealings with literary agents, it’s essential to remember that these guys do not charge you anything upfront. Not a dollar, not a dime. I’ve had an agent for twenty years and I have never paid even one single penny for his or (with my first agent) her services – or not directly anyway. Because the way that agents get their money is by earning commissions on sales to publishers. So if you take the first book in my Fiona Griffiths series, my agent has made sales – and earned commission – on sales to publishers in Britain, America, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and further afield. He’s also been involved in the sale of TV rights. He’s also done a terrific audio deal for me. There may be other deals down the road too. Each time one of these deals happens, I get a wodge of money arriving in my bank account, from which the agent has deducted his little (and well-earned) sliver. The consequence of this “no fee / commission only” payment structure is that agents only get paid for their time if they make a sale – and then only if that sale is for enough money to pay them back for all that they’ve done. That’s should be easy-ish if the sale is to a Big 5 publisher and brings some overseas book deals in its wake. If the only sale is to a mid-sized or micro domestic publisher, then the agent is probably (privately) disappointed. The Tottering Slushpile If the commission-only way of doing business seems challenging, that challenge is compounded by the sheer volume of submissions that literary agents receive. That total varies from agent to agent, but about 2,000 submissions per agent per year would be typical. Of that an agent may find only 2-3 manuscripts that seem destined for the kind of advances that will generate enough revenue for an agent. The result? Predictably enough, agents will reject the vast majority of manuscripts that come their way. It’s not just that they don’t have the time to deal with those manuscripts and those clients, it’s that there’s no money in them. Most manuscripts that agents receive are just unsaleable. So When do Agents Edit? Agents will get involved in editorial advice when they come across a manuscript that: Has an excellent, saleable idea.Is written with a competent professionalism.Has a strong story.Is in the top 1%, or maybe the top 0.5% of all submissions.Is not ready to be sent to publishers as it stands. In effect, when an agent offers to get involved editorially, they are thinking, roughly: “Look, if I sent this manuscript out as it is, I might get offers, but I don’t think they’d be very strong ones... and actually, I might just get fistful of rejections. And I certainly don’t want that. “Then again, I can’t helpfeeling that this manuscript could do really well, if I put in the 2-3 dozen hours needed to get this manuscript into shape. Yes, the writer themselves will be doing the actual work here – my job will be one of guidance only; I’m not going to be making hands-on changes to the manuscript myself. “But with my input, and if the writer works hard and makes the changes I recommend? Then yes, I think this could be a really profitable (and fun, and artistically rewarding) project. I’m going to reach out to this author. Yay!“ As a writer, that’s good to hear on a number of levels. You don’t want a real estate guy who just dumps your house on the market without telling you to mow your overgrown lawn and fix that sagging guttering. You want the real estate person who forces you to fix the house up for sale, in order that you get the very best price. So the fact that agents are willing to be engaged, active and intelligent in how they sell your book is great to hear. But from your perspective, as writer, there are two crucial qualifications to take away. Crucial Thing the FirstYour manuscript has to be really, really good already.You can’t just use agents as a free pass to solving the difficulties that you and your manuscript face. If you send an agent a mediocre manuscript, you stand no chance at all of engaging them qua editor. In fact, because the competition is so intense, you won’t get an agent involved even if your book is really quite good. The sad fact is that “really quite good” isn’t even close to the standard agents are looking for. Crucial Thing the SecondSome agents are really strong editorially, and love doing it.Others just aren’t that strong and don’t pretend to be. After all, an agent’s core job as is as saleswoman (or, less often in this industry, salesman.) My first agent – who was great – told me directly when I engaged her that she just wasn’t that great at editing books, but she was a powerhouse when it came to selling them. These days, I’d say that all agents have had to become more hands on when it comes to polishing manuscripts prior to sale, but there’s still a reason why editors edit, and agents sell. In effect, using an agent as an editor is a bit like using a carpenter as a bricklayer. Sure, carpenters are skilled and multi-talented. They’ll probably do a pretty good job of building that wall, but . . . If You Want An Editor, Hire An Editor! There are plenty of freelance editors around. We at Jericho Writers built our business and our reputation by offering superb editorial advice to writers just like you. Get a manuscript assessment here. And what you get is editing, editing, editing. You pay for our input, and you get our full, committed, detailed assessment of your manuscript, along with a ton of recommendations about what to do and how to do it. Now you probably think that, because we make money from editing, and because we’ve had a huge number of success stories, I’m going to tell you to rush over to us for editorial help. Well, no. I’m not. You can’t use editorial input as a shortcut. Successful writers always put the hard yards in themselves. Some writers think something like this: “Hey, I’ve completed my manuscript. I’ve done a couple of quick read-throughs for typos and that kind of thing. I’ve emailed my manuscript out to a few dozen literary agents, but no one offered to take me on and they won’t help me edit my book, even though I asked really nicely. So, OK, maybe I need to pay someone to get this book into shape.” If you think like that, then you won’t make the grade as a writer and, to be honest with you, you aren’t the sort of client that we especially love dealing with. I mean, sure, we’ll work with anyone, and we’ll do our level professional best for you. But our favourite clients? They are always, always the super-committed ones. Remember: Writing is rewriting. Self-editing is the art of sifting through your manuscript and checking it for everything. Surplus words, sentences, paragraphs and scenes. Faulty, vague or unconvincing characterisation. Weak dialogue. Weak plotting. Problems with pace or viewpoint. Basically, you need to think like an author and work these things out for yourself, as far as you are possibly able. You will benefit in three ways. First, your manuscript will get better (probably a lot better). Secondly, your own skills as an author will grow. Thirdly, your pride and confidence will – quite rightly – grow and blossom. So, OK, you do all that and then you may still need editorial help. And that’s fine. Maybe you’ll just know for yourself that your manuscript needs work. Or maybe you’ll try your luck with literary agents and not get the response you wanted. Or maybe you’ve been scratching away at a dissatisfaction with your work, and have found yourself going round in circles. If you fit into any of those categories, then, yes, you do need third party editorial help and, yes, we at Jericho Writers would absolutely love to give it. We are here to deliver outstanding editorial services to committed writers, and we would be deeply honoured to work with you. If you\'re interested in our copyediting services, please click here. In the meantime, happy writing, happy editing and (when you’re good and ready to send your work out) happy agent-hunting too! Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

The Slush Pile: The Truth Vs Myths

Slaying The Myths There are many contrasting opinions on the internet as to whether agents actually care about slushpile-type submissions. Well, no one knows literary agents better than us, so we’ll tell you straight what’s true and what’s not. And, above all, the thing to bear in mind is this: most hyper-successful authors of today were once slushpile authors, just like you. Literary agents accepting unsolicited submissions is how the majority of deals between agents and writers come about. Any agent will tell you that, yes, there is plenty of dross in the slushpile – but there are diamonds too. And most agents love that search for diamonds. So, with no more ado, here are the myths … and here is the truth. Definition: What Is The Slush Pile? What is the slushpile? It’s basically all unsolicited submissions to literary agents. And since most submissions to literary agents are unsolicited – that is, the agent doesn’t know about you upfront; there is no back-corridor of private recommendation involved – the simple truth is that most submissions to agents, the overwhelming majority in fact, are slushpile submissions. So what isn’t a slushpile submission? Examples would be: One of an agent’s existing clients recommends a particular new writer, and the agent looks at that writer’s work.An agent comes across a broadcaster or journalist with interesting things to say on a particular topic, and makes contact directly to enquire about a possible book.One literary agent leaves her firm and her clients are parcelled out to other agents. And so on. Yes, these can all be important channels of client-acquisition for an agent. And yes, more senior, more experienced agents may source quite a high proportion of their new clients through routes like these. But at pretty much every literary agency in London and New York, the vast majority of incoming submissions will come via the slushpile – people like you, packaging up their work and sending it off, with fingers crossed and candles lit. And at pretty much every literary agency in New York and London, those submissions will be sifted, sorted and taken seriously. And no wonder! JK Rowling came through the slushpile. So did Hilary Mantel. So did Dan Brown. So did … well, most authors. And that’s why, though the term “slushpile” sounds dismissive, it really isn’t. It doesn’t mean “these manuscripts are rubbish.” It means, “these manuscripts are the feedstock for our industry”. Yes, there’s trash in there, but there are nuggets of pure gold as well. So don\'t be put off; \"slush pile hell\" really isn\'t all that bad. Slushpile Myths … And Slushpile Realities Myth #1: Agents Don’t Want Slush Pile Submissions. It’s true that there are some agents who really don’t. Those would include (a) agents winding their business down prior to retirement, (b) those agents who are senior enough that they can find good new authors via private recommendations, etc, (c) those who source a majority of their new clients from the media and other ‘celebrity’ type sources. But those guys are in a minority – and are usually very easy to spot. Basically, high profile agents are usually in that category. Ditto many (but not all) older ones. Ditto those with a client list stuffed full of bestsellers. Unless you have a media/celeb background, or you have real reason to think your work is remarkable, you should simply avoid those agents. They’re probably not right for you. (After all: would you really want to be those guys’ least important client? I’m thinking not.) Apart from those guys – who account for maybe only 5-10% of all agents – pretty much everyone wants submissions. We know incredibly reputable, well-established agencies with fabulous clients who have consulted with us to discover exactly how they can increase their slushpiles. Why? It’s simple: the slushpile is where the brilliant authors lie. After all, as every literary agent knows, J.K. Rowling came from the slushpile. So did Zadie Smith. So did Hilary Mantel. (See for example this interview.) So, if to comes to that, did I, along with pretty much ALL new writers. Apart from existing celebrity and media types, pretty much every single new fantastic author emerges from the slushpile or, these days, from an out-of-nowhere self-publishing success. Because agents know that and because agents have to keep their client lists replenished with new talent, they care about the slushpile. In those hills, there be gold. Myth #2: Agents Don’t Look At 99% Of The Manuscripts That Get Submitted. They do. OK, there may be times when agents are just overwhelmed with work and things go pear-shaped, but those times are exceptions, at any rate in any well-run agency. But good agencies, nearly always, will look at everything that comes in. But notice that I say “look at”, not “read”. The truth is that about 90% of manuscript submissions reveal themselves as not-good-enough very quickly indeed. There are three basic ways a submission can fail. Those are: A writer simply can’t put a sentence together. Those famous ‘green ink’ manuscripts are actually relatively rare. They’re the smallest category we’re dealing with here. If you’re together enough to be reading this blog post, you’re almost certainly not in that category. Some agents have actually died from an excess of bad grammar.The concept for the book just can’t work. A Young Adult book that’s 150,000 words long? A cosy little book about the author’s talking parrot? A highly didactic work of fantasy-fiction aimed at teaching 8 year old kids about groundwater pollution? There are, unfortunately, books which fail before you hit the opening sentence. The most common problem is that they haven’t answered the question of what would make this book stand out from the crowd. You must have a good answer to that question.There are signs of clunky, awkward or amateurish writing on the opening page. Our friends at the Writers’ Workshop periodically run events called ‘Slushpile Live’, where (remarkably brave) writers read their opening page out to a panel of literary agents. Those agents then play Simon Cowell and say what they really think, live, with no previous exposure to the writer or the manuscript. And the good manuscripts are really, really easy to spot. Ditto the ones that are clearly not yet strong enough. That sounds brutal, but it’s not really. There’s a quality threshold to enter the industry. You have to meet that threshold. If you don’t, then no one wishes you ill, but your work is not yet ready. If your work fails any of these three tests, it’ll be rejected – and the agent may spend as little as a minute making the decision. That’s not because the agent is evil, but because you haven’t yet met the standard. If you pass the opening scrutiny (good concept, check; decent writing, check), the agent simply has to read on. If your first three chapters still glitter with promise, they have to request the rest. And if the rest of the manuscript is wonderful – well, hell, you’ve got representation. (Did we hear someone whimpering in there?) Myth #3: It’s An Agent’s Job To Deal With The Slushpile. It isn’t. Talk to any agent at all and they will tell you that their regular day job (from, say, 9 am to 6 pm) is to work constantly on behalf of their existing authors: negotiating contracts, chasing up royalties, solving problems, meeting publishers. Of course agents know that if they don’t take on new and fabulous authors, their business will slowly wither – but 99% of agents will be dealing with their slushpile material during evenings and weekends. (These guys work hard: they’re always reading.) That means you need to cut agents some slack. There just will be times when life goes crazy for them. The big book fairs (London, Frankfurt, Bologna) are always very intense. If several existing authors deliver manuscripts at much the same sort of time, the agent in question HAS to prioritise those and will simply have to neglect his growing slushpile until they’re properly dealt with. It also means you need to take care of the agent’s reasonable needs. If your covering letter is a little too long, or unclear about what kind of book yours is, or makes any of those other niggly-but-annoying mistakes that agents often talk about – well, hell, remember that the agent is probably reading your stuff at 9.30pm, after a full day in the office. That’s not a good time to start annoying somebody with trivial little details that it was your job to get right in the first place. So get them right. Myth #4: Good Agents Will Offer Feedback To Slush Pile Writers. Not true. Never true, in fact. Yes, if an agent loves a book, they might offer representation even though they know that that book will need to go through another couple of drafts. (Or more. I spoke to one agent recently who was working with a writer on his sixth draft. So don\'t be afraid to be your own editor, but also know that you can query an agent with your work before it\'s \'perfect\'.) But agents can only offer that much input to actual or probable clients. There’s no way they can get into discussions on the 999 in 1,000 manuscripts they don’t take on. (And, anyway, if a detailed editorial input is what you’re after right now, why would you go to an agent whose main job is about selling manuscripts, not editing them?) Myth #5: Agents Get Their Assistants To Do The Work For Them. This is sometimes kind of true, but the implications are way different from what you think. When you see writers on the Internet saying, “Oh, that agent, I know he never read my work because [whatever particular piece of evidence is summoned in this particular instance,” they might actually be right. Basically, as agents get more senior, they’re increasingly likely to delegate chunks of their day to day activity. So, very roughly, the picture looks like this: New/young/hungry agents: they want to actively build client lists, as they don’t have a body of existing authors to sustain them. Those guys can’t afford to delegate anything to anyone, and probably don’t have assistants anyway. Every single interaction you have in relation to these manuscripts comes straight from the agent him or herself.Established agents. These guys are still open to new clients. They might take on 1-2 new authors a year, straight from the slushpile. But a lot of these folks will have some kind of assistant, and a big part of that assistant’s role is to do a first-cut filtration of the slushpile. It’ll work differently in different agencies (one notable agency, for example, employs a reader whose only job is to reduce the slushpile). Others will use their PAs as first-cut readers. Or whatever. But even so, these people will be looking at the top 1-5% from their slushpile and making their own decisions. If you get rejected before this stage, you may well get a note from the assistant’s desk. After that, the note will more likely come direct from the agent.Senior agents. These guys may never directly read a slushpile submission, but they will have a system that places the very best-of-the-best manuscripts on their desks – perhaps at the rate of 1-2 a month. It’s unlikely that these folk ever send a sorry-but-no message, unless yours is that truly exceptional manuscript which gave them pause. Now if you get rejected by an agent’s assistant (or reader, or even receptionist) you might think that you simply haven’t had an opportunity to put your work in front of the only person whose decision matters. But that’s not true! Any half-competent agency knows that the slushpile could well contain the next JK Rowling, the next Stephenie Meyer. They can’t afford to let those gems get away – and they mostly don’t. I know one leading London agency whose receptionists are hired, mostly, for their literary skills. Yes, they need to be able to answer the phone without dropping it, but their essential function is to act as really thoughtful, careful readers of a manuscript. They are trained very carefully and supervised very closely. And they get it right! It just isn’t that hard, in truth. Most manuscripts that come to any agency are just clearly not good enough. As the quality level rises, the decisions get tougher – but those decisions are passed upwards in the chain until they reach the person competent to make the decision. But absolutely no one can afford to be the person who said no to Rowling/Meyer/Suzanne Collins/whoever, so if your MS has real merit it will come to sit on the right desk. Myth #6: Agents Only Care About Bestsellers, They’re Only In This Game For The Money. Just wrong, this one. No one goes into the literary business for money. I mean, that would be like going to the Sahara for its watersports. Every single agent I know is in the biz because they love books, love stories, love writing, love authors. They love written culture and being in the swim of its creation. I don’t know a single agent who would take on a work he didn’t like (*) just for the dosh. It just doesn’t happen. All that said, of course agents are keen to represent books that may sell a lot of copies. That’s called being a sane businessperson and doing a great job for your clients. If my agent didn’t want my books to sell by the truckload, I’d get a different agent. [David Godwin took on Pippa Middleton for her party book. Since David Godwin is noted for his high-end literary list, her addition to that list raised a few eyebrows at the time.] Myth #7: Agents Care About Your Social Media Profile. Of course they don’t. If you got a manuscript in your slushpile that was just as amazingly brilliant as Wolf Hall, why would you give a tuppenny damn about the author’s Twitter following? Answer, you wouldn’t. There are exceptions, of course, but they only work positively, not negatively. So Ben Goldacre (author of Bad Science, etc.) has a massive online presence and that presence would impel any sane agent/editor to offer hm a deal. But you need Twitter followers in the tens of thousands (ideally hundreds of thousands) to make a real difference there. Ditto, when it comes to blog followers. If you have that, great. If not, don’t worry about it. Few writers do, and very few novelists do. Myth #8: Agents Care About Who You Are, What You Look Like, How Old You Are, Etc. They don’t. Or rather, it’s the same as above. Most writers (including yours truly, Harry Bingham) are middle-aged writers of no particular beauty or celebrity, and that’s just the way it is. Which is fine. No one cares. Indeed agents will often remind you that Mary Wesley began a string of bestselling books in her seventies. On the other hand, if you are incredibly beautiful and would be wonderful on TV and have an incredible backstory, those things will help, a bit, but not much. Asked to choose between a comely author with a mediocre manuscript and a plain one with a wonderful one, every agent on the planet will prefer the latter. So will publishers. Click here for more tips on finding an agent. Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Do Literary Agents Want Self-Published Authors?

A few years ago, most literary agents were snobby about self-published work. And rightly so. A few years back, it was genuinely the case that a large majority of self-published authors wrote bad books that were poorly edited with terrible covers and sales to match. There were some breakout successes – there always have been – but they were rare enough that no agent wanted to tramp those stony fields in the hopes of finding something to grow. That’s Changed. There are, still, plenty of lousy self-published books, but the average standard has improved in almost every dimension. Book covers look vastly better, for one thing. If you go to the Amazon Kindle bestseller list (here), you’ll find traditionally published and self-published books selling alongside each other – but I defy you to guess which is which from the covers alone. And then because Amazon has made it easy for readers to complain about poor copyediting and weak storytelling, writers have responded by improving their attitude to those things too. It’s true that many of the self-pub successes (Joe Konrath, John Locke, EL James, and many others) write genre fiction aimed squarely at the lower end of the market – but they tell their stories well for the market they aim at. And it’s not as though traditional publishers are averse to those markets. On the contrary, Random House was happy to take EL James’s work and turn it into the biggest publishing event of the decade. And – no surprise – agents have noticed all this. Remember: they want any author whose work is strong and saleable. They truly don’t care where that author comes from (and don’t care much about who the author is either, for that matter.) If an author self-publishes a novel that starts to get a considerable following on Amazon, then agents will be interested. Though the hurdles are high. As a rough guide, I’d suggest that: if you are selling print copies of your book, you would need to sell 5,000+ to earn an agent’s interest. (And it would also raise the question of why you weren’t selling electronically. These days, self-pub increasingly means e-pub – not least because it’s vastly easier to accumulate sales if your novel starts to attract readers.)if you are selling e-books at low prices (£3.99 or less), you would need to sell, let’s say, 30,000 copies or so to make a persuasive case. Remember that a regular publisher may well double the price of your e-book and will probably price a paperback at £7.99 or so, which means that some of the sales achieved at lower prices would be choked off by the move to the mainstream.if you are selling your e-book as a free download, then you would need to hit 50,000 downloads before a publisher could get excited. Those numbers are broadly true of the UK market, but you can probably double them for the US market – perhaps even more than double them. And I’m assuming here that we’re talking about a real, proper mainstream publisher – either one of the Big Five Publishers, or one of the major independents (Bloomsbury, Faber, Canongate, for example.) A smaller, niche publisher might well start to get interested at volumes somewhat smaller than those I’ve mentioned – perhaps about 2/3 smaller. If you want to boost your chances still further, then it helps if you: Can demonstrate that you are energetic and resourceful when it comes to self-promotion. A good website, an active Twitter account with good followers, a decent Facebook presence: all those things can add to your look as an author who can make the most of any opportunities. Those things won’t swing a deal all by themselves, but they do demonstrate that you are a business-minded author and that will helpCan show a lot of 5-star reviews. We know of one fine author whose book generated huge free download interest on Amazon, but crucially also generated a ton of 5-star reviews. I suspect that her reviews did as much as her downloads to persuade Accent Press to take her on.Can write a lot. One of the key “how-to” titles for the self-pub market is called “Write. Publish. Repeat.” Successful genre authors on e-platforms just generate a lot of text. That means a minimum of one book per year, but in some cases it means a fair bit more (even if one of the “books” is a free novella or short story, basically given away to readers at Christmas, or whatever.) The rapid-fire approach to writing generates plenty of snobbery from more literary types, but it is a technique that mainstream publishers have experimented with and, indeed, ploughed a ton of money into at times. If you’re ticking these boxes, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t approach agents with every expectation of keen interest in you and your work. To find those agents, follow the rules that we talk about elsewhere on this site, namely: Use our search pages to locate about 8-12 agents who are active in your area and where you feel points of contact.Use our “who represents who?” function to discover agents who may have helped other self-pub authors turn traditional.Make a proper professional approach to agents using these guidelines.Do be specific about your sales and review stats. Don’t massage them into looking better than they really are: agents will want to show proof to publishers, so expect to have your figures checked up on. Anyone who succeeds in selling a lot of books, whether that’s self-pub, trad-pub, or any-other-sort-of-pub, deserves respect. It’s not easy to achieve, and if you’ve done it, you’ve done very well. We congratulate you! Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Literary Agents For Historical Fiction

Historical fiction remains a wonderfully rich and diverse section of the market. At the top, it comprises such stellar talents as the multi-prize winning Hilary Mantel. But it also includes the commercial talents of Kate Mosse and Phillipa Gregory, the bloodthirsty or thrilling talents of Conn Iggulden and Robert Harris, not to mention such weird and wonderful things as Victorian-inspired steampunk fantasies and even historical erotica. All this suggests (correctly) that historical fiction is a vibrant, intelligent and lively genre but it also means that locating the right literary agent to handle your particular novel is potentially more complex than it would be if, say, you had just authored a simple police procedural. After all, the agent who represents Hilary Mantel might not be the right person to handle your steampunk fantasy. Mere interest in history isn’t enough of a connecting line. That’s why when you have created a longlist of possible agents, you need to filter them. Try to find points of contact with individual agents. (Ah, that person represents my favourite authors, that one has an interest in all things Irish and my book is partially set in Dublin, etc., etc.) Those sorts of things give you subtle additions to your covering letter and may point to the kind of agent who will love your work. AgentMatch And How To Use It AgentMatch provides a full list of every UK literary agent, with full details of what genres they’re interested in, and details on whether they’re seeking clients or not. In short, if you’ve written a novel and you’re looking for an agent, then you’re in exactly the right place. There are plenty of history-loving agents and you won’t want to approach them all. The best way to develop and refine your own shortlist of likely targets is to visit our page and use the search tools on the left to make your selection. You can select by genre (e.g. historical) but you can also select by the agent’s level of experience, their appetite for new clients, and very much more. Our database is completely comprehensive and it’s really, really easy to create the searches you want. Become a member. More On UK Literary Agents UK Literary Agents, the Complete List (with Links to Agent Profiles) Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Literary Agents For Crime, Thrillers And Action Novels

Written a thriller or work of crime fiction and need a literary agent? You’re in the right place. AgentMatch has a complete list of every agent in the UK with full detail about who they are and what kind of work they represent. So here’s what you do. Head over here.Click on the “select genres” box and choose “Crime & thrillers” from the pop-up list.You’ll find that there are a huge number of agents who represent work in this area. (Basically: most of them will happily represent crime; there are just about no agents who specialise only in that area.) So you’ll need to filter your list some more. Use our other search tools to bring your selection down to a manageable total.Then dive into individual agent profiles and read what each agent says about themselves.Make your final shortlist selection The Twist In The Tail All you need to access all our lovely data and search functionality? Become a member. More On UK Literary Agents UK Literary Agents, the Complete List (with Links to Agent Profiles) Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Literary agents for fantasy fiction

Plenty of fantasy novels have made a lot of money for publishers. And there are a good handful of excellent authors who have written in the genre. (China Mieville, Neil Gaiman, Iain Banks, to name a few.) That means that there are plenty of agents ready to dive into the slushpile in search of the next big thing in fantasy. AgentMatch And How To Use It There are plenty of fantasy-loving agents, though you won’t want to approach them all. The best way to develop and refine your own shortlist of likely targets is to visit our page and use the search tools on the left to make your selection. With AgentMatch, you can select by genre (e.g. fantasy) and you can also select by the agent’s level of experience, the appetite for new clients, and very much more. Our database is completely comprehensive and it’s really, really easy to create the searches you want. Signing up is incredibly simple. Become a member. More On Uk Literary Agents Link to: UK Literary Agents, the Complete List (with Links to Agent Profiles) Literary Agent List For every genre

Literary Agents For Science Fiction

The market for science-fiction remains as interesting and varied as it’s ever been. You can still write classic space opera and find a market, but there’s an increasing interest in dystopia, genre collisions, and any intelligent idea-driven fiction. The genre remains rich, deep, and you can certainly argue that the literary novelists, Margaret Atwood and David Mitchell, have written sci-fi novels. George Orwell and Aldous Huxley are especially famous for sci-fi masterpieces. People like Iain Banks and China Mieville aren’t usually considered literary novelists, but they are excellent writers who write challenging, thoughtful, bold fiction. A healthy, confident market with plenty of international appeal. And AgentMatch can help you tap it. Are You Really Writing Science-Fiction? We suggest you think hard about whether you are really writing science-fiction. For example: A near-future thriller involving (say) an as-yet-undiscovered virus could well market itself more accurately as a techno-thriller and be suitable for crime and thriller agents and editors.An intelligent novel, like David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, is probably better sold as literary fiction, no matter whether or not it uses sci-fi ideas and techniques. Using our genre search along with careful use of our agent profile pages means that you’ll get the best possible fit for your novel. AgentMatch And How To Use It On AgentMatch, there are plenty of science-loving agents, and you won’t want to approach them all. The best way to develop and refine your own shortlist of likely targets is to visit our page and use the search tools on the left to make your selection. You can select by genre (e.g. science-fiction) but you can also select by the agent’s level of experience, their appetite for new clients, and very much more. Our database is completely comprehensive and it’s really, really easy to create the searches you want. This site is designed to give users a good feel for the data and functionality for free, but the real riches of our site are available only to members. Become a member. Our AgentMatch search pages can help you look for agents. Peek for the Select Genres box, click that, and choose “Science Fiction”. And the list of agents will automatically be filtered. Simply choosing agents who like science-fiction will give you a list that is too long to be manageable, though, so you will need to pare it back in some way. You can do that by: Figuring out if you would rather be represented by a large agency or a small one;Looking for agents who are “Keen to build client list” rather than “List largely complete”;Looking for agents who have been in the business a little less long, so are hungrier to attract new clients;Other uses of the search filters. You should also explore the profiles of the agents who come up to see who really is a match for your book and who really isn’t. Some agents are happy to look at all submissions that come their way, but won’t have a real keen interest in the genre. Others are particularly keen on the area and would strongly welcome your submissions. Wishing all intergalactic luck! Become a member. More On Uk Literary Agents UK Literary Agents, the Complete List (with Links to Agent Profiles) Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Literary agents specifically seeking new authors

We get asked a lot of questions over the course of a month, but perhaps the commonest questions boil down to these: how do you find a literary agent? Do you know literary agents who are taking on new and first-time writers? And the answer, of course, is yes. Nearly all agents, great or small, take on new authors. If they didn’t, they’d go out of business. Not straightaway, maybe, but out of business nevertheless. There’s a second point here, too: all agents need to submit to the same bunch of editors (and a small bunch at that: most books will be pitched to between eight and twelve publishers in the first round of marketing). By and large, agents are all looking for manuscripts that meet a certain quality threshold. If they find one, they’ll agree to take it on. If they don’t, they won’t. That’s the homily. A homily which boils down, as ever, to the first and second commandments of getting a literary agent: Write a good book.If you need help, get editorial advice where you can. It’s somewhat easier to secure a less well-established agent than a Giant of the Industry. That’s not because quality standards are lower – they aren’t at all – but because a newer agent knows he or she must work harder to build a list. If you went to such an agent with a novel that is dazzling but imperfect, they may well be prepared to put in the work needed to fix it. An agent with a longer list may (regretfully) turn the book down. That’s worth remembering. If you want to find a literary agent who genuinely welcomes first-time authors, as opposed to merely accepting them, you will do well to approach those who have been less long established in the business – basically, you’re looking for youngsters, or those who have come into the profession from elsewhere in the industry. It is not a sensible strategy simply to pick smaller agencies, because (1) there are plenty of one- and two-person agencies who have been in the business a long time, and whose lists are already amply populated. Also, larger agencies will all have new recruits who are hungry to build up their lists. You shouldn’t rule those people out from your search. With bigger agencies, it’s fine to call the switchboard and ask for suggestions about which agents might be right for a project. Not all agencies (or receptionists) will be helpful, but enough will be, to make it worth your while. Indeed, it was good advice from an office receptionist that encouraged me to approach the Well-Known Literary Agent who ended up offering to represent my first novel. As always, though, these guidelines must be balanced against everything else. You’re looking for an agent who loves your book and believes they can sell it. That’s all. If that agent works for a big agency or a small one, is young or venerable – doesn’t matter. You, the book, the agent. If those three things gel, nothing else much matters. Use our literary agent advice pages to navigate your way. Use our database for reference. And if your book isn’t taken on by the first fifteen agents, then do consider editorial feedback as an option. Writing a book is hard and few get there on their first attempt. We can help. Good luck! More On Uk Literary Agents Link to: UK Literary Agents, the Complete List (with Links to Agent Profiles) Literary Agent List For every genre

Literary Agents For Young Adult fiction

Young Adult (YA) fiction has become a super selling genre in recent years. J.K. Rowling’s books made it acceptable for adults to read children’s fiction, and then the genre hit a whole mother-lode of superselling authors, such as Anthony Horowitz, Suzanne Collins, Melinda Salisbury, and many more. The fact that so many young adult books are selling means that agents are inevitably interested in the area and keen to take on outstanding work. But that doesn’t mean that finding the right agent for you and your work is all that easy – there are just so many agents, and it’s so hard figuring out what each one wants. Luckily, we’ve made your agent search easy with AgentMatch. AgentMatch And How To Use It On AgentMatch, there are plenty of agents who love YA fiction and you won’t want to approach them all. The best way to develop and refine your own shortlist of likely targets is to visit our page and use the search tools on the left to make your selection. You can select by genre (e.g. children’s or young adult) but you can also select by the agent’s level of experience, their appetite for new clients, and very much more. Our database is completely comprehensive and it’s really, really easy to create the searches you want. This site is designed to give users a good feel for the data and functionality for free, but the real riches of our site are available only to members. Become a member. AgentMatch provides: A list of every agent in the UK;Masses of data on each one (photos, biographies, client lists, genre preferences, likes and dislikes, and much more);Search tools to make it easy to sort through all our goodies;Submission info for every agent;Further links to any other key information we’ve been able to locate on the web. More On UK Literary Agents: UK Literary Agents, the Complete List (with Links to Agent Profiles) Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 
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