Jericho Writers
4 Acer Walk , Oxford, OX2 6EX, United Kingdom
UK: +44 (0)345 459 9560
US: +1 (646) 974 9060

Our Articles

Literary Agent Etiquette

Good News From An Agent Some time ago, a writer called Chloe wrote this to me: I had two full manuscript requests for my novel this week (I gave it to both agents non-exclusively). One of the agents has now offered to represent me. I plan to tell him that I’d love to meet up and discuss it, etc., etc. I also plan to tell the other agency that I’ve had this offer (I think it’s polite and professional – is that right?). I’ve been trawling around trying to find out what agents expect in this situation and the etiquette. I don’t want to offend the agent that’s made an offer by looking like I’m holding out for another one, but I also want to make sure I’m with the right agent. Anyway, the bit of etiquette I can’t find an answer to is whether I should tell the three other agents I’ve submitted my partial to, or not. At the moment, presumably, my MS is sitting on their slush piles. Should I tell them that I’ve got an offer? Should I just tell them if/when I sign to an agency? They may well not be interested – I’ve had one other rejection already – but I want to be polite and do things “properly”. (By the way, my first attempt at novel writing was critiqued by you and, although I didn’t find an agent for that, I learned so much from the critique. … Thanks very much!) First off, congratulations to Chloe. Woo-hoo for her, and I’m delighted that we played an important role in the early part of her journey. Seeing someone make this huge leap from unrepresented to represented (or published) writer always the most thrilling aspect of what we do. But what about this question of etiquette? What do you say to agents if you’re in Chloe’s fortunate position? It\'s Not Tea, It\'s Business Let\'s start by dropping the idea that etiquette has anything to do with it. You’re not going to tea at the Ritz; you are about to enter one of the most important business transactions of your life. Naturally, because you’re a good sort of person, you will behave truthfully, courteously and professionally at all times -- but you will also look after your own interests with fierce single-mindedness. This is your career, and it matters! So of course you want to do what you can to maximise the chances of securing multiple offers of representation. That way, you can meet the various different literary agents and see who you feel most comfortable with. It’s like getting quotes from different builders – the only difference being that this relationship will likely last longer, have more influence on your career, and (you hope) be of greater financial significance. Suggestions For How To Respond I\'d suggest that you try this. With the agent who has your full manuscript, you drop a note saying something like this: “I’ve had an offer of representation elsewhere, but I don’t want to say yes or no to that offer until I’ve heard whether or not you might have an interest in this MS. If you do, I’d love to talk to you. Is there any chance that you might be able to read the manuscript within the week and let me know your thoughts? If that was feasible for you, it would be wonderful for me.” An email along those lines is truthful, polite, a tad flattering – and it will serve your interests very well. In the meantime, it’s best simply to tell the agent who has made you the offer that you’d love to come in and see him but, gee, the next few days look difficult, is there any chance of coming by a week from Thursday...? Agents are much more used to competing for authors than you might think -- so while no agent wants the competition, they’re unlikely to be offended. What About Agents With Partials? Then there’s also the question of what to do with those literary agents who have partial manuscripts, but not full ones. I would definitely try to loop those guys into your ring too. I would simply send an email – with the full manuscript attached – saying: “I’ve had an offer of representation, but don’t want to commit to it until I’ve heard back from you. I know that you may have a lot on your reading list, but if there was any chance of moving this manuscript up that list, I’d be delighted.” That might sound pushy to you, but really, an email of that sort is welcome to most agents. After all, at the moment, they’ve got 100 manuscripts in the slushpile at their elbow. They know that they might have a real decision to make about 1, maybe 2, manuscripts in that pile at most. By sending the email I suggest, you essentially save a mountain of work for them, by alerting them to precisely the manuscript that is likely to be of most interest to them. And when you do accept that sweet offer of representation from an agent, be sure to write to everybody and let them know that you\'ve accepted representation elsewhere! You don\'t need me to remind you that tastes differ, and the market is hard. What boils one person’s kettle may leave another’s stony cold. But the fact that things are difficult and unpredictable only means that you should look after your interests as carefully as you can. These things matter and are for the long term. I’ve had at least eight editors in my life as a writer, not to mention numerous publishers and more publicists than I can shake a manicured fingernail at. But I\'ve only had two literary agents, and I’d be quite surprised if I don’t stay with my current one until one or the other of us retires. Best of luck, Chloe! If you’re also searching for agents, this may help, as may this. Happy writing! 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 I Query US Or UK Literary Agents? (A Simple Guide)

International writers often have to make choices about which literary agents to approach. Here’s a quick guide to help you make a decision. (If you’re unsure about what literary agents do, then have a quick read of this first.) US Vs. UK Agents- Which To Choose? On the whole, it’s simple. British authors write books. They send them to UK literary agents – often ones based in or close to London. A British agent finds a British publisher. Then, once that first crucial deal is in the bag, the process of international sales begins. For US authors, it’s the same. You find a literary agent, often one based in New York. They find a US publisher. You sign your US book deal, and off they go to see what you can get overseas. There are countless complications, though. What if you’re Irish? Or Australian? Or South African? Or Canadian? Or of dual citizenship? Or resident in one place, but citizen of another? There’s no easy way through such complexities. It all depends on your situation, the book you’re trying to sell. International Agent Submissions: The Basic Rules To start off super-simple, American authors (when resident in the US) will almost always seek a US literary agent in the first instance. British authors, resident in the UK or Europe, will almost certainly seek a British agent. So: Rule #1 In general, authors in the two largest English-speaking publishing markets should seek an agent local to that market: American agents for American writers, British agent for British writers. Easy. It’s not much more complicated if you are Irish or Canadian (or Aussie, or whatever) and writing a book of strictly local interest. So it’s pretty clear that The History of Kilarney Castle will have its best market in Ireland. Likewise, How To Care For Your Moose is likely to have a better market in Ontario than Orlando. In these cases, again, you can just play it simple. Rule #2 Authors in smaller publishing markets writing books of strictly local interestshould query local agents (if there are any) or just submit directly to local publishers, who will be happy to receive submissions. But of course plenty of Irish and Canadian authors are writing books with obvious international sales potential. So Colm Toibin and Tana French (both of Ireland) are great examples of smaller-market authors with terrific international sales. I’m reasonably confident that Margaret Atwood and Yann Martel (both of Canada) have sold a book or two in their time as well. This type of author has a choice. In the case of Ireland and Canada, these are both obviously satellite markets orbiting a much larger one right next door. So, one way or another, authors from these countries need to find a way to access that much bigger market Rule #3 Canadian authors with international sales potential can approach Canadian agents or US agents. Either way is fine. Likewise, Irish authors with international sales potential can approach Dublin-based agents or British agents. Either way is fine. If you’re opting for a locally based agent, you probably want to check that the person involved has a decent track record of sales into the larger market . . . but those checks are almost certainly going to come back in the affirmative, because Irish agents would struggle to live on sales into the local market alone. The same goes (if rather less emphatically) for Canadian literary agents. For more distant locales – South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, or anywhere else come to that – you need to play it a little bit by ear. UK literary agents tend to be more naturally international, and UK publishers have closer connections with the Commonwealth (which, in publisher-land, includes Ireland but not Canada). Overall, writers from the Commonwealth will naturally knock on a London door first, but there are exceptions. If I were an Aussie sci-fi writer, for example, I might well be attracted to the US market, because of its depth. So, our (slightly fuzzy) fourth rule runs as follows: Rule #4 International authors from Commonwealth countries should probably query UK literary agents in the first instance.International authors from non-Commonwealth countries should probably query US agents. But this rule is fuzzy, because US agents would be perfectly happy to receive a great submission from India / Singapore / Nigeria / Australia. Likewise British agents would be perfectly happy to receive a great submission from Argentina / Japan / the Philippines. Often when (say) a Nigerian writers does choose to query a US literary agent as a first step that’ll be because they have some kind of connection with the US that makes it a natural thing to do. So when Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie chose to seek US representation for her first novel, she did so because she was studying in the US. She felt part-American. She was resident there. For her, it would have been unnatural to query an agent in London, simply because Union Jacks once flew in Lagos. You can apply the same basic tests. Truth is, no one cares too much. And if your manuscript is absolutely amazing, then no one will care at all. But what about if you were an American living permanently in the UK? Or a Brit living permanently in the US? Well, our even fuzzier fifth rule is: Rule #5 You probably want to prioritise residency over passport when it comes to querying agents.(But no one really cares.)(So you can go either way.) As a matter of fact, if the circumstances of your life are such that you can provide plausible sounding reasons for submitting queries to both major markets, then our (whisper it quietly, tell no one you’re doing this) sixth rule is: Rule #6 If you want to query agents in both markets . . .And you’ve got reasonably plausible reasons for choosing either market . . .And you don’t tell agents, “Hey, I’m just querying everyone,” . . .Then you’ll probably get away with it. After all, it’s not like anyone checks. Or cares that much. You’re not breaking any rules. There’s one curious issue, though, to which there’s no good answer. Bestselling thriller writer (and one of our Festival of Writing speakers) R.J. Ellory writes very good US-set thrillers, but he’s British . . . and for a long time he struggled to find an agent. UK literary agents were reluctant to take him on because his books sounded like they’d been written by an American. US agents were reluctant to take him on because he was British, without representation in London or a UK book deal. That meant that American agents, even if they liked his work, felt kind of suspicious. How come this guy hadn’t got local representation? It sounded like there might be a catch somewhere. In the end, he was so good that he was taken on (in Britain, first). His career took off. This story brings us to our seventh rule, the super-essential Ur-rule for all agency submissions: Rule #7 Write a super-incredible dazzling book. If you obey that rule, then the truth is that nothing else really matters. Any agent from anywhere will want your work. Where Do You Find A List Of International Literary Agents? Why, you find it here, of course. On Agent Match. Agent Match here on Jericho Writers is a complete, searchable, database of literary agents. It\'s the biggest agent database on the planet, covering nearly every literary agent active worldwide. And it\'s not just a comprehensive database, it\'s a smart one. Let\'s say you wanted to search for: “Literary agents in the USwho are open to historical fiction submissionsand who are currently seeking new writers” . . . well, you could perform that search in about twenty seconds. And get a complete answer. And a complete set of agent profiles for absolutely everyone on that list. I mean, maybe you’d prefer to spend a week on Google (and get a slightly worse set of answers), but it’s totally your call. Access to AgentMatch is restricted to members of Jericho Writers . . . but since membership of JW confers an awesome cornucopia of writerly fabulousness, you probably want to consider membership no matter what. Which leads us to a bonus rule, rule number eight... Bonus Rule #8 Find out more about Jericho Writers! You’ll be rootin-tootin glad you did. I do hope you come and join us. We’d love it if you did! Any more questions? You can contact us here. 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 Agent Fees (What You Need to Know)

How Much Do Literary Agents Cost? And Are They Worth It? One thing that puzzles a lot of writers about literary agents is their fee structure. Can you afford an agent? What do they charge? How much do literary agents actually cost? The answer is mostly good news . . . with a little bit of bad news thrown in. The good news is that literary agents charge absolutely nothing upfront. Not a penny. They don’t charge fees down the line either. I’m Harry Bingham. I’ve been a professional author for twenty years. I’ve sold a lot of books and been paid a lot of money for them. And I have never once been given an invoice by my agent. Too good to be true? Well, there’s a catch of course, and it’s this: Literary agents charge commission. That is, for every $1000 they get you in advances or royalties or overseas sales or film rights, they will take their cut. If they earn nothing for you, they will charge nothing. If they sell your book for a lot of money – well, they’ll be doing well for themselves as well as you! The brilliant thing about this arrangement is that your agent’s financial incentives are almost perfectly aligned with your own. That means, when the agent is querying different publishers, or reviewing contracts, or hassling over hiccups in the publication process, their financial goals are exactly the same as yours. For that reason, authors tend to be very close to their literary agents . . . and are often rather less close with their editors! 1) Literary Agent Fees Typical commission rates for literary agents Typically commissions work as follows. Your literary agent will take: 15% of all sales made in home markets (ie: the US if you are working with a US agent; the UK if you are working with a British one.)20% on overseas sales, and20% for sales of film and TV rights. Some agents may vary from this, but these rates are increasingly standard. They are not compulsory however, and if you are bold enough to negotiate, there’s nothing wrong with that. (And indeed, top authors often don’t pay full whack. They don’t have to.) Literary Agent Commissions: An Example Let’s say you’re a Brit and you sell your book to: a UK publisher for £10,000, anda US publisher for $25,000 then your agent will take 15% of £10,000 (so £1,500), and20% of that $25,000 (so $5,000). There would also be fees for any foreign language sales and for film or TV sales. In practice, film & TV deals are relatively rare and generally a lot less lucrative than the newspapers would have you think! 2) Royalties When you sell a book to a publisher, you sell it for an advance against royalties. So let’s say you sell your manuscript to a publisher for $10,000, but that book goes on to be a bestseller. You will be entitled to a per book fee on every copy sold (that’s called a royalty, and the actual calculation of those things is a bit complex.) But, to simplify, let’s say that over the first two years of sales, you earn $110,000 in royalties. The first $10K of that is set aside – your $10,000 upfront advance was an advance against royalties, so you can’t claim it twice. But the other $100,000? Yep, that’s yours, and you will start to be paid that money via six-monthly instalments, depending on sales. Be aware, though, that your literary agent is also entitled to their fees on those earnings (because they brought you the deal that turned your book into a bestseller). So minus your literary agent\'s fees, what you would actually get in this example is: 85% of your $10K advance (your agent gets the other 15%)85% of your $100K royalty earnings (again, your agent gets the remaining 15%) Again, be aware that good agents will press for the highest advance they can get away with, so you can easily, easily earn a living as a professional author and not see a royalty check from one year’s end to the next. 3) If You Move On From Your Literary Agent If you decide to fire your agent, or otherwise move on, then your agent is still entitled to any commission due following deals that they signed. And that makes sense. If you get rich because of a deal done by your agent, then your agent should be entitled to their share of the fruits of that deal, no matter how far down the road. In practice, most client-agent relationships are quite long term, and if you have signed a book deal successful enough that it’s still pumping out money, then you’re not likely to split with your agent. But still: the possibility is there, and it’ll be carefully covered in any contract or letter of engagement you have with your agent. So read that letter or contract – and if in doubt: ask! 4) Are Literary Agents Worth Their Fees? Yes. Was that emphatic enough? I don’t think it was. So one more time, with feeling: Yes, yes, yes!Get an agent!They will make you much more money than they will cost you!It is the best career move you will ever make! A good agent will do the following for you: They’ll make sure that your manuscript is right for the market. That may mean that you need to tweak the book, but those tweaks are intended to get it just right for publishers in today’s market.They’ll approach the right editors at the right publishing houses. That means having impeccable contacts and staying current. (That’s also why, by the way, nearly all agents are based in New York or London. They need to be close to the publishers, and those fine cities are where the publishers hang out.)They’ll run a proper auction. That’s the salesy bit of their job, and most agents are very good at it.They’ll negotiate a proper contract for you. Publishing contracts today are typically up to twenty pages long (in the UK and US, though European ones are shorter). Contracts are full of abstruse terms and royalty rates, and you need to be an industry insider to navigate them properly. It’s not a task you can do yourself. I am a very experienced author myself and (because of my role in Jericho Writers) I am exceptionally well plugged into the wider publishing industry. But you know what? I still use an agent, because I make loads more money that way. And save myself a ton of hassle. And can draw on a ton of expertise that I couldn’t easily access any other way. So get an agent. Pay their fees. Write well. Be happy. 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 Literary Agent In 8 Simple Steps

Do you need a literary agent? Are they worth having? And how do you actually maximise your chances of getting a literary agent? Getting a good literary agent and avoiding dozens of rejection letters may feel impossible, but it really isn’t. In our comprehensive guide on how to query agents, we will be talking about what makes a good agent, how to find the right literary agent for you, and how the publishing industry works. So get ready to discover your first agent. This may well be the blog post that changes your writing career! Find A Literary Agent In 8 Simple Steps Whether you\'re writing literary fiction, or a commercial genre novel (such as science fiction or historical fiction), to get in front of traditional publishers - especially the big four, such as Penguin Random house or Harper Collins - you need a literary agency to represent you. Here\'s our very simple 8 point checklist which we will go into detail further along. If you can get past point 1, then you\'re good to go! Write a wonderful bookHave realistic expectationsPrepare your manuscript properlyResearch agents with careSend out simultaneous submissionsPrepare for agent rejections – it happens (a lot)Review your progressGet out there But before we run through the list, let\'s answer some urgent questions. Do I Actually Need A Literary Agent? The answer to that question depends on who you are and what you are writing. You definitely DO NOT need a literary agent if: You are self-publishing your work on Amazon. You can just upload your material for free without anyone’s permission or approval. The only time you would need a literary agent as a self-published author is if you sold a lot of copies in the English language, and you needed an agent’s help with foreign language sales, audio sales, film/TV rights, and the rest.You are approaching independent publishers. Some smaller indie publishers don\'t require you to have an agent. They may not pay a big advance (or any, in fact) but if they cater for your target audience and specialise in your preferred genre, then you may be happy to work with them direct.You are writing poetry or flash fiction or other non-commercial art forms. Agents are there to make money. If your work is art-for-art’s-sake then (a) great for you, but (b) forget about an agent.You are writing niche titles that won’t attract significant advances. Let’s say, for example, you are writing a book on “How to Care For Your New Alpaca”. I guess there IS a market out there for alpaca owners who need that kind of book, but most agents want to make money and that book won\'t sell the kind of numbers they need. You DO need an agent if: You\'re writing commercial fiction. A traditional publishing house (ie the kind who dominate book stores and trade press) only takes submissions via literary agents. You won\'t even get close to them without the right agent.You\'re writing a children’s novel. Read the paragraph above. Every word of that applies to you too.You\'re writing narrative non-fiction. Walk into a large bookstore and look around at the front tables bearing non-fiction. Ask yourself, “could my book live here?” If the answer is YES, then you need a literary agent for the exact same reason the writer of that book has one (because they will do).If the answer to the question is NO (probably because the book you’ve written is too niche to appeal to the general reader), then it’s doubtful whether you need an agent . . . or an agent needs your business. There are, of course, always exceptions. Many commercial fiction authors are very successful working directly with digital first publishers, such as Bookouture, who you don\'t need an agent for. Or they may already have a good relationship with an editor. Other writers with a large and established following (ie celebs or experts in something), may also be sought-after directly by a publisher. The best rule of thumb before starting your agent search is think about what authors you want to emulate and see how they got there. Do you need an agent? How Much Do Literary Agents Cost? This is a very easy answer. NOTHING. The only money you pay an agent is commission – typically 15% of any income earned on home sales and 20% of anything earned on overseas or film/TV sales. So if they don’t make money for you, they don’t make money for themselves. Never ever pay an agent upfront, not to read your manuscript or to submit to editors. If that is what they\'re asking, then they\'re not to be trusted. Are Literary Agents Worth It? Let\'s see what you get: Access to publishers who would otherwise not take you seriously – and those are the publishers with the huge sacks of money availableAccess to the best editor for your work (because it\'s an agent’s job to know who’s who in the publishing world)Someone with a great track record of conducting auctions for books like yoursSomeone who can organise the exact same thing globally. And where your agent doesn’t know the territory themselves (Bulgaria, say, or South Korea), they’ll work with a trusted counter-party who doesSomeone who has trodden the book to film route before and can guide you through that (most treacherous) mazeSomeone of real editorial acuity who, most importantly, knows the market for your book and how to optimise your writing for that target audienceSomeone whose financial interests are exactly the same as yours (ie you both want this book to sell) Is an agent worth it? If you want your book to become a Sunday Times Bestseller, be in a book shop window, feature in the press, reach your ideal audience, be translated into other languages, be made into a movie, and make you money - then yes. You need a literary agent. But how do you find these most elusive of angels? Let\'s start with the hardest part... 1. Write A Wonderful Book The bad news is that the best agents want the best books. Each submission is a long shot, but there are no shortcuts! And the right agent doesn\'t just want a great book, they want one that is easy to sell to an editor, who they will be able to sell to bookstores, who they can sell to the public. See where this is going? Debut authors who are about to start querying often call literary agents \'gate keepers\' like it\'s a bad thing - but it\'s not. They are the filter between books the public are most likely to buy, and books (no matter how brilliant) that probably won\'t sell. So how do you write a book that will grab an agent\'s interest? Look at what sells: You can\'t easily pre-empt the market or trends, but if it\'s easier to find agents with a romance or thriller (rather than your horror book featuring cowboys and unicorns) then look at changing genre Know your comps: If your books is unique yet still sits comfortably between two best sellers in its genre, then use them as comparisons Get your pitch ready: If you can\'t get a potential reader excited about the premise in less than a minute then an agent with 300 manuscripts to read in their inbox won\'t give yours any more time either Learn to write: This may seem obvious, but you can have the best premise, but if your sample chapters are littered with bad grammar and clunky prose then no good agent will take it on Get an editor: This may seem counter-productive, many agents work with writers to strengthen their story before submission. But have a professional editor look at your work first will ensure that at least it won\'t be the writing, language, pace or plot stopping your work from being taken on. Details of where to find this level of support can be found right here. Write a wonderful book! 2. Have Realistic Expectations Literary agents spend most of their time handling existing clients. A typical agent might take on just two new authors a year, and most agents receive around 2,000 manuscripts a year. That means, inevitably, they reject most submissions. This is disheartening, of course – but it’s not about odds. Finding a literary agent is about: Quality. If your book is strong enough, it will sell. At Jericho Writers have virtually never seen an exception to that rule, and we have handled thousands of client manuscripts over the years. Professionalism. Even when you get a no, keep it professional and courteous. Publishing is a small industry and you will cross paths with all these people again! Faith in yourself. We’ve had clients who have sent their (very good) manuscripts out to 2-3 agents. They didn’t get a positive response, so they gave up. I once encountered such a client at a crime writing festival. We\'d helped edit her manuscript, so I asked how she’d got on. She’d been to three agents, hadn’t got anywhere, and shelved the manuscript. I pretty much yelled, \'you can’t do that!\' I told her she needed to reach out to at least a dozen agents in total before drawing any final conclusions. So she did, she got an agent, and then a book deal! Persistence. Let’s say you take your first book out to 12 agents. No one offers you a deal, but you get back some encouraging comments. What then? If you quit - you are not a writer and never really were one. That’s when the real writer keeps going. You might write another book. You might take your existing book and get editorial help on it. Or you rework your book and take your original idea down a different and more exciting road. After a long time in this game, I can tell you that persistence wins every single time. 3. Prepare Your Manuscript Properly Agents see hundreds of manuscripts, so don’t miss out because you didn\'t follow their submission guidelines. Even the font and size matters. Check! Also, eliminate spelling errors and don’t rely on a computer spell check (bee shore of what ewe right). Lay your manuscript out like a book, not a business document, which means no space between paragraphs, and with the first line slightly indented. Every page should be numbered, your title and your name in the header. You do not need to worry about copyright, either. Making a fuss about it marks you as an amateur. Pro tip. Don’t name your documents for your convenience; think about your agent instead. So whereas you are unlikely to be confused by a document called novel.doc on your computer, that’s of no help to an agent sifting through 30 unread manuscripts on her e-reader. So call your manuscript, for example, A Farewell to Legs, Maggie Mildasmilk, First 10K words. doc. That’s cumbersome from your point of view – but amazingly helpful to the agent. And it’s the agent you’re trying to impress! Select an agent with care 4. Select Agents With Care Time to research literary agents! Remember many take up to three months to get around to reading your book (even though most know within a few pages if it\'s right for them). Therefore send your submissions out in batches, much like applying for many jobs, because even agents don\'t expect you to wait for their response before moving on. The Simplest Way To Find An Agent You can Google search for days, hunt through Twitter, and look at the acknowledgement pages of your favourite books - or you could become a member of Jericho Writers. Our AgentMatch tool is quite simply the best way to find a literary agent, and we often run free trials! In one easy search you\'ll be able to find all the UK and US agents you need, listed by genre or agency size or experience. Then when you want to learn more about any given agent, you simply dive into their individual profile, where one of our native English-speaking graduate researchers (most of whom have BAs / MAs in English or Creative Writing) has put together a detailed profile, along with a ton of specific data about that agent. Find out more about our AgentMatch service here, read about specific agents via our agent blogs, or discover more about becoming a member here. Send out simultaneous submissions 5. Send Out Simultaneous Submissions Most agents have submission guidelines that require the following: Your first 3 chapters, 10,000 words, or 50 pages of your manuscript (check individual requirements)A short query letter (download our FREE template)A 500-700-word synopsis, unless agency guidelines explicitly ask for something else Most agencies take submissions by email, others provide an on-line form, so follow instructions or your query letter and manuscript may get lost or dismissed. How Many Literary Agents Should You Approach? You are aiming to generate a shortlist of about a dozen names. What you’re looking for is: Agents who are open to your genreAgents who are genuinely open to new clients (which will often mean younger or newer agents)Agents with whom you can find some point of contact. So it might be that a given agent has one of your favourite authors on their client list (in your genre or out of it), or said something in a blog post somewhere that really resonated with you, or shares a passion (for sailing say, or synchronised swimming.) Why a dozen agents? Because if you approach fewer you risk being rejected just because the agents you approached had their hands full of existing work at the time you approached them. So why not more than that? Well, OK, you could go to more. 15 would be fine, and maybe even 18 wouldn’t be too crazy. But really, as soon as you are querying 10 or more agents, one of those guys WILL ask for a full request if your book is good enough. If you send your book out to 12 agents, and get either rejection slips or silence, then you need to ask yourself why. Either the book idea is not exciting enough, or your writing isn\'t good enough (painful, but important to know). Don\'t use up your chances with other potential agents by trying to flog a dead horse, go back and look at your book proposal and see why it\'s not working. How To Write A Query Letter (ie Covering Letter) It’s not hard to write a good query letter. In fact, if you can write a half-decent book, you can unquestionably write a perfectly good query letter (download our FREE template). Here\'s an example: Dear Mr Redintooth,I am currently seeking an agent for my first novel, A Farewell To Legs. The novel (at 81,000 words) tells a love story, set against the background of a busy amputation clinic in Glasgow. I have enclosed the first three chapters plus a brief synopsis with this submission.[Then one short paragraph of no more than 100 words describing the setting / hero / premise of the book]I\'m a 30-year-old accountant from Leeds. This story arose from my own experiences during a recent trip to Glasgow. The book attempts to deal with themes of loss and suffering in an accessible, moving, and uplifting way. I was particularly keen to write to you, after your success with Goodbye, Little Ear, the biographical work by Mr Van Gogh.I very much look forward to hearing from you.I look forward to hearing from you.Yours,Ms Mildasmilk If you have completed a well-recognised MFA or creative writing course, then say so. If you are a professional writer in any other capacity (in journalism, TV, radio, etc), then say so. Ditto, if you’ve won any prize that has real merit. If you have a recommendation from ourselves or any other person or organisation likely to command respect, then you can say so too – but expect to be checked up on. But it’s really OK if you are Mr or Ms Unknown of Nowheresville. My own literary agent once had a totally unsolicited submission from an unknown Englishwoman living out in the Middle East. He liked her writing and took her on . . . and that author has gone on to write (and sell) a book or two – and win a small mountain of literary prizes to boot. ALL agents have stories like that, so you need have no anxieties about being unknown. It’s the manuscript that matters, not the person behind it. Prepare for rejections 6. Prepare For Agent Rejections – It Happens, A Lot It\'s all good knowing where to find a literary agent, and it doesn’t matter how good your book is, you will receive at least one rejection letter in your writing career. Every single successful author - from Rowling to King - have been rejected. And most of the time it has nothing to do with you, your book or your query letters! Reasons Why Literary Agents May Reject Your Work They’re busy with clientsThey’re on maternity leave/left the company/not taking anyone else on and haven’t updated their websiteThey’re overwhelmed/not very efficient and have 2,000 unopened submissionsThey have an author who is writing closely competing workThey didn\'t like itThey really liked it. They just didn’t like it quite enough This is why we recommend you send your manuscript off to five or so agents at a time (one agent per agency, to start with). Then, for each rejection you get, send another off. Keep a spreadsheet with the date, their name, agency, email address, notes and feedback - and colour code it for Waiting, Rejection, Full Request and Offer. Some authors even buy a big box of chocolates, and eat one with every rejection. Well, you may as well get some pleasure from the pain! 7. Review Your Progress If you\'ve reached the end of your list and you\'ve still had no bites, then it\'s time to look at where you\'ve gone wrong. If you’ve tried your luck with agents and got nowhere, then the chances are that one of the following apply to you: You haven’t tried enough agents (or you’ve tried the wrong ones)Your approach to agents has been howlingly badYour novel has just totally misjudged the market – for example by having a word count that is either way over or way under what agents and publishers are seeking (word count guidelines here.)Your book just isn’t good enough (YET!) If you handle your submissions process with proper professionalism – and the fact that you’ve read our monster post this far already is a very good sign! – then #4 may be the issue. So then the question is, how near or far are you from success? The submissions process itself should give you some clue: You have had warm, personal and encouraging rejections. That’s great. That means you are in the zone. You just need to identify any remaining issues in your text, then nail them. If you are in this category then seek professional editorial feedback. It may simply be a matter of changing the genre or a few plot tweaks.You have had at least one request for your full manuscript. Again, if I were in that camp, I’d certainly be seeking editorial help.You have had no full manuscript requests / no warm feedback / silence / standard issue rejection slips. That means – nothing much. Your manuscript could be in the top 10-15% of all manuscripts submitted and come to that same end. You really could be a future bestseller, and still have that outcome with your first round of submissions...or you may really need to hone your writing skills. Remember I told you earlier that I rated persistence above talent? Yep. Well, this is the stage where you find out quite why that matters so much. So either get professional help with your novel, or write your next book and start querying that one all over again. 8. Get Out There: Go To Events And Meet Agents Finally, if you want to meet agents in person and get feedback from them directly, you can. Our Festival of Writing brings committed writers face-to-face with agents every year. You’ll get direct feedback on work and, just as useful, hear agents talk about the realities of their industry, what they’re looking for, any tips and advice they can give. (Joanna Cannon is one author who signed with her agent just after the Festival.) Through our in-person and on-line events, you’ll meet agents, editors, and publishers – plus it’s uplifting to realise the industry is warm, welcoming, and always open to new writers. Frequently Asked Questions How do you get a literary agent for a screenplay? Much like authors, screenwriters also need agents. Here is everything you need to know on perfecting your screenplay and finding representation. You can also take advantage of our screenplay and script coverage service. How do you get an agent for TV? There are two ways of seeing our story come to life on the big screen. If you\'re a screenwriters, see above, or choose an agent for your novel with experience in film rights (then hope your book gets optioned). Most agencies either have an in-house agent who specialises in film rights, or they work with a partner agency. Who are the literary agents looking for new authors in 2022? The best way to know who is looking for what this year, is to take part in our Agent Match free trial. Alternatively, for a comprehensive look at the top 400 UK literary agents looking for new talent this year, check out this article. And for the US you can click here. How do you get an agent for poetry? Most agents take on commercial fiction, genre fiction, children\'s literature, and non fiction - but there are a few who are interested in poetry. The easiest way to discover which agents are looking for poets is to visit our Agent Match page and search via genre. If you\'re not a Jericho Writers member then look out for our free trial and discover a whole world of agents around the globe! Find The Agent Of Your Dreams! Lengthy as this guide is, we know that some of you will still have questions. For that reason, we’ve put together our jumbo literary agent explainer – a kind of FAQ for all things agent. You’ll probably want to take a peep at our Getting Published guide as well. You can get that here So off you go, get that literary agent of your dreams, and don\'t forget to visit our blog for further research. The best agents, top traditional publisher, and best deal is out there waiting for 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. 
Page 2 of 2