10 Great Tips for Capturing Literary Agent Interest!

YOUR MANUSCRIPT IS AWESOME! You’ve had it critiqued and beta-read—and you’ve revised, revised, revised! But if you’re not getting the interest from agents you feel your book deserves, check out the resources below. May you discover the golden key to your success amidst these pages and pixels!

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1) Among other topics, in her article “10 Steps to Getting a Literary Agent” for Writers & Artists, Gilly McAllister talks common sense about having a complete draft ready before querying [querying fiction and memoir, that is; see number 2 if you’re writing nonfiction], what your first three chapters need to do, and what happens when you get a nibble.

2) However, if you’re a nonfiction writer, the rule about completing a manuscript before querying doesn’t necessarily apply. Instead, you might be well-served to create a fabulous nonfiction book proposal to start your agent search. In that case, you’ll find THE WEEKEND BOOK PROPOSAL (Writer’s Digest), by Ryan Van Cleave, a comprehensive guide.

3) The post “Tips for Finding a Literary Agent” on the NY Book Editors blog offers resources for editing your own work so you’re sending out the most sparkly, attractive version of your manuscript you can!

4) The always-helpful Writer’s Digest shares “11 Steps to Finding the Agent Who’ll Love Your Book,” by Chuck Sambuchino. While Chuck doesn’t shine a spotlight on much that’s new, his point about research is supported by …

5) … the Writer’s Digest’s annual GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS!

6) In addition, the ever-awesome POETS & WRITERS magazine has a free online literary agent database for your perusal. P&W says, The Literary Agents list includes agents and literary agencies that represent poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers, plus details about the kind of books they’re interested in representing, their clients, and the best way to contact them.

7) Meredith Quinn discusses the power of pitching agents at literary conferences in her article “Do You Know What Attracts Literary Agents?” for THE WRITER MAG.

8) But wait! Do you really even need a literary agent? That’s a great question! Here’s a link to Claire Bradshaw’s Writers Edit article “Do You Need a Literary Agent?” which offers some of the pros and cons of being agented.

9) Jane Friedman‘s “Should You Submit Your Work to Agents or Editors?” helps you determine whether it’s better to seek an agent or focus your sights on making a direct deal with a publisher.

10) Finally, you might want to subscribe to former literary agent Nathan Bransford’s blog. I’m pretty sure this will be the gift that keeps on giving, as Bransford consistently and reliably discusses writing for publication in helpful, bite-sized nuggets. Yum. (Thanks to writer pal Bonnie Cehovet for introducing me to Nathan’s blog!)

Good luck! May the literary force be with you!

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Thanks to U.S. Games Systems, Inc., for kind permission to use the image of the Key from the CELTIC LENORMAND.

 

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