Finding a literary agent
was a time when you went straight to the Writers' and Artists'
Yearbook and flipped to the section on literary agents and
read the relevant blurb for information on manuscript submission.
This was, after all, the prime directory for all things related
to the publishing industry and therefore the best way to find
a literary agent.
things have changed, and the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook
has lost relevance. Why? Primarily because of the internet.
As with a domestic phonebook, much of the information is out
of date by the time it comes off the printing press. Many contemporary
literary agents are living month to month, if not minute to
minute. Ditto for publishers. Which means that if you want to
keep abreast of what's going on, you need to get online too.
the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook still has a place. But
you can't trust it for relevancy.
serious about getting published, you need to create your
own directory and update it regularly. This means making
a list of the top 50 or so literary agents and methodically
researching them before even considering submitting your manuscript.
Favourite authors and
literary agent blogs
Who are literary agent?
Where have they come from? Which books are they representing?
What are their professional quirks (and they all have those,
believe me)? And where are their soft spots?
read it right. I'm talking about the things that get literary
agents personally or professionally excited or interested or
even frothing at the mouth. And those things might be anything.
Favourite authors (usually literary). Labradors. Hobbies. Colours.
Films. Cars. Shoes. Ice cream.
list is endless.
information is often also available on the net in the shape
of remarks and comments tossed out in interviews or blogs. You
need to collect all this stuff and collate it into your working
file. And often, you'll be following new threads leading you
to other industry professionals. All this is potentially useful
information that you can exploit when you feel you've got a
coherent picture. And those soft spots can be used when writing
submissions queries or synopses or whatever.
for instance, your manuscript has a hero with an Alsation dog,
you might consider switching it to a Labrador if you're pitching
to an agent who you know favours that breed. You might, alternately,
look at the agent's name and see how you can contrive to give
your lead character a similar name. Or use an agent's maiden
name, where applicable.
of agents have biographies on the net. So read them, study them,
act upon them.
it is. Welcome to the publishing industry. In fact welcome to
the world of advertising, or politics, or any other industry.
It's all sly and manipulative. You either get on board,
or get off the train. It's your call. But if you really want
literary agent representation, you need to throw away the rule
book and think tactically.
Want to read more?
There are over 25,000 words of
writing tips and advice on my website. I've spent months
writing these pages, and years refining them. I'm happy to
share my professional knowledge with you. But like everyone
else, I need to capitalise on my skills and efforts.
For just £1.99 I'll send you my entire
MR EDIT'S WRITING ADVICE FOR AUTHORS as a .pdf file. Just follow the link below, or above, and you'll be taken to PayPal. You don't need an account; just a credit card or a
You'll generally receive my writing
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from PayPal delay this for up to 24 hours.
Either way, you'll receive 25,000
very helpful words that will make you a better writer, will
give you fresh insight into your work, and
will improve the chances of a literary agent or publisher
accepting your manuscript.
Meanwhile, here are
some of my You Tube videos that might be of interest to you.
Hope you enjoy them.
Mr Edit. Let's talk about dialogue
Mr Edit. Pitching fiction to a literary
Mr Edit. 5 Minute Fiction Fix.
Mr Edit. Let's talk about tautology.
Links for writers
& Editors. Here's where you can check out the credentials
of literary agents and publishers. A must for any writer.
Helpful resource for the creative community. Articles, links
Writing Blog. Lots of useful posts on all aspects of writing,
both for print and online, plus a guest post for anyone who
wants to make a contribution. Check it out.