UK Literary Agents: A Complete List – Jericho Writers
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UK Literary Agents: A Complete List

UK Literary Agents: A Complete List

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.



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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:

  1. Understand what an agent does
  2. Know your genre
  3. Decide who to approach
  4. Create a shortlist
  5. Write a synopsis
  6. Write a query letter
  7. Look at our Frequently Asked Questions

    And finally…
  8. 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 genre
  • Welcome 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 submissions
Red: Rejection
Yellow: Full request
Green: 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.


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.

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