Literary agents

Does anyone know how I could find a good literary agent? I’m looking to get published and I heard you need one (unless you self-publish).

Is there a specific genre you’re thinking of?

You could begin what is likely to be a long and wearying search at or at


I am writing a fiction book.

The advice I’ve seen from published writers* to unpublished ones is overwhelmingly on the side of: finish a book, or 3. Learn your craft and hone it, maybe try publishing a few short pieces if you want to write anything that short, and then, when you’ve got an novel edited and polished… THEN you go searching for an agent.

Typically, submission guidelines are going to be for you to submit a query letter describing your book and a little about you, and then the first X number of pages of your finished manuscript. If they are interested, they’ll say so, otherwise, you may or may not get a rejection note. If you’re doing well, there will be feedback, or even encouragement if they would take you on except for circumstances that prevent them from doing so. If you find a reputable agent who likes your work, they’ll likely ask for the rest of the manuscript. You should be prepared to send the finished book to them at a moment’s notice. When you do, they’ll probably take some time to evaluate it while they represent their other authors and negotiate their deals. If, at the end, they think they can sell your work to a publishing house, then they’ll offer to represent you.

This is different from an established writer’s relationship with a publishing house, who may or may not give him an advance on a story idea and an outline, with the expectation that he will finish the first draft by a specific deadline. That’s not how it will work for an unpublished author.

I could be very wrong on any one of these points, and I speak only as an observer; I am not published, and probably won’t have a manuscript ready to submit to potential agents for quite a long time.

Good luck with your agent search!

  • Disclaimer: I am not a published author myself; I just have been following a few of my favorite author’s blogs for years, and have gleaned advice from them and from people they link to on the subject.

Thanks for the advice. I will do more research on this. Has anyone on here gone through this process and want to offer some input?

dear lestat

yes, of course. of course. i note you are looking to write in the very competitive genre of ,fiction, so i would offer you the following advice…

1, listen to rdg and have a finished manuscript before you do anything
2, be absolutely brilliant
3, be original with a refreshing unique voice

you will of course want to secure the services of someone who can look after your interests in all the markets you wish to operate. therefore someone with an international portfolio to cross,sell your work to different countries translated into 140 languages is advisable. you will also need an agent with experience of selling movie rights. no doubt you will also want to play the lead character in the movie so look at the cross,talent agencies that also cover actors directors and other startlets.

one word of warning… keep your powder dry, as they used to say in the olden days, until you are ready. agents are like elephants… they have long trunks.
which they fill with notes to compensate for their poor memories.

remember also that literary agents like to share their opinions almost as much as unpublished authors do, so many have blogs full of advice. jenny bent of the bent agency in new york is one of my own favourites.

Well my voice is very certainly unique. I’m not sure If I can call myself brilliant. I guess that’s for someone else to decide. I have a very original idea and will follow the advice about waiting til I have a finished manuscript. I have a small intro posted in the scrivenings section asking for a critique. Would some of you guys read it and tell me what you think?

My wife runs a literary agency in Sydney, Australian Literary Management, or ALM, and has decades of experience. You might find it useful to look through their website at

The main danger to avoid is sending your work out to twenty or so publishers, then trying to link up with an agent. As the ALM site says:

"…if you have already sent your manuscript to the major publishers in Australia, and they have all said no, please don’t send it to us as a last resort. Publishers generally refuse to read a manuscript twice, so we would have no chance of interesting them in your book if they have read it once and said no.

Hint: find an agent first, not last."