How did you decide which literary agents to send to?(5 Posts)
I have finished my first novel in my early forties (not counting all the dreadful stuff I wrote as a teenager!!). I have redrafted a few times, edited and re-edited multiple times. Tested it on a variety of different honest friends and taken feedback on board. I am almost ready to send it to agents now (once I finish the blooming synopsis). My question is: how do you pick which agents to send it to?
I have looked at the Writers' and Artists' years book and got a feel for which agents might like the genre; looked at the agents' websites to see who else they work with; looked at submission requirements. But it's hard to decide beyond having a 'feel' that I like the look of someone or don't. Feels a bit subjective.
Any tips from those of you who have been there?
Firm - by picking one of the bigger, larger, older ones in the writer's home market first.
Within firm, agent - by reading the biography on the firm's website and seeing which agent is open to submissions in the relevant genre/audience age.
Also by keeping an eye on recent deals and Twitter to see which agents are active.
I wouldn't send to more than a couple of firms at a time so that any feedback can be taken into account. If a blanket submission is sent out and any agents give feedback, it can feel awkward to resubmit a redrafted to the same agents (though creative use of new pseudonyms and titles can help).
I got started by looking at who represented successful authors in my genre. Not necessarily the big-money writers (although if that’s your aim then look for that!), but the people securing deal after deal for their writers and helping them build a real career.
Beyond that I lightly stalked them on the agency websites and social media to see if they were my kind of person. The agency website almost always has a blurb which can tell you quite a lot, but also take a look at interviews on YouTube or on blogs - there’s usually loads of info about.
I chose from agencies I knew represented my genre and then went for a couple of big ones and some smaller boutique agencies. I thought possibly smaller ones may be more likely to be building a list. Then looked at bios for each agent to find any who were a better 'fit'. And also followed them on Twitter and looked to see if they'd been interviewed on any blogs etc. Then shut my eyes and just sent it out hoping for the best!
Another thing you can do is look at which agents represent authors you like and whose work you think bears a resemblance to yours. Sometimes, of course, that will be super-agents with closed lists, but not always.
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