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How to Find a Literary Agent

You have finished your manuscript and edited your book to perfection. What is the next step? Well, if you want to publish your book the obvious next step is to find a literary agent to secure that publishing deal; the difficulty lies in how to go about this. The whole process of finding a literary agent is not an easy one, especially for the first time writer. This is for two reasons: first, because where do you go to find them? How do you find reputable and trusted agents? Then second, once you have found them how do you get them to look at and be interested in your proposal?

However, do not despair; there is help out there when you are trying to secure that first publishing deal.

The most important rule is to write a good book; you are only as good as what you write and remember that literary agents will be receiving many proposals, not just yours, so you need to make it stand out from the crowd. Remember, only approach an agent once you are completely happy with your finished work. You also need to write an excellent synopsis which is basically a 1 -2 page summary of your plot. This will give the agent a quick idea of what your book is about, and this may be the only thing that they read, so make sure it is good.

One way to find a list of agents is to gather all of the books that you have loved reading and to then look for the name of the literary agent on the acknowledgments page. You can then compile a list of all the names. Once this is done, conduct an internet search of all of the literary agents that you have found and this will give you a clearer picture of who they are and if they sound like the ‘right’ agent for you. Another way of finding out their contact details is to look them up in the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook

Join an online literary agents' listings site such as Agent Hunter in the UK, as this will give you a comprehensive and trusted list. It is also a wise choice to make multiple submissions in this competitive industry. Don’t just limit yourself to one agent.

What you also need to do is check what your agent actually wants regarding your submission. Do they want a query letter, C.V, manuscript? How do they want to receive them, by hard copy or email? If you don’t follow these simple instructions to begin with then you instantly lower your chances of being accepted.

You need to present your manuscript professionally, using suggested formatting and with no typos. You must proofread and edit your work. First appearances really do count.

So find yourself a list of agents and get writing. You need to get that manuscript out there, so don’t be afraid as that book publishing deal could just be around the corner.