Finding the Right Agent for You: Really Useful Links by Lucy O’Callaghan

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Lucy O'Callaghan

Finding the right literary agent is one of the most important things you will do as a writer. An agent is a person who will champion your book and sell it to a publisher; it is imperative that they are the right fit for you. Sending your writing to every agent listed in the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook just won’t work; you need to do your research. Agents only get paid when they sell your work, and they receive a 15% commission on both your advance and royalties. Avoid agents who want to charge you a joining fee or any other charges before your book is sold.  I have put together some articles and podcasts that I hope will help guide you in finding the right agent for you.

  1. How to Find a Literary Agent: The Strategy That Works For My Clients — Tiffany Hawk, Writing Coach

It’s important to maximise your efforts by sending to agents you know are most likely to be a good match for you and your book. This article works through a strategy of six steps and goes into great detail in each section. The steps include identifying how your book fits into the publishing world, finding agents who are looking for books just like yours, refining your list of target agents, personalising your query letters, sending your queries in batches, and being sure to follow up.

  1. 10 Steps To Getting A Literary Agent | Writers & Artists (writersandartists.co.uk)

10 steps to getting a literary agent are discussed in this article. The most important steps are the novel writing ones. If an agent likes your sample, they are going to want to read the rest so it must be ready! Not only must an agent represent your genre but they must have a track record. Look for a reputable agency that has a great sales track record. Also, be sure to follow agents on social media and take note of what kind of books they like and other interests that they may post about.

  1. How to Find a Literary Agent: 3 Tips for Finding an Agent – 2024 – MasterClass

There are plenty of agents out there, but many of them won’t be the right agent for you. Masterclass shares a few tips on how to find one, including researching them thoroughly and creating a wish list of the ones that you think would be the best fit for you, checking agent listings, and starting querying.

  1. Getting an agent (penguin.co.uk)

Getting an agent may seem like an intimidating process, so we’ve broken down exactly what a literary agent is and what they’re looking for. It also shares some top tips for how to find the right one for you, as well as how to pitch your book to them.

  1. How to Find a Literary Agent for Your Book | Jane Friedman

Most books sold to publishing houses are done through literary agents. Agents are the experts in the publishing industry and represent the interests of their authors. They have inside contacts with specific publishers and know which editors are most likely to buy a particular work. Most importantly, agents can secure the best possible book deal for you, negotiate a fair contract, protect your rights, ensure you are paid accurately and fairly, and run interference, when necessary, between you and the publisher. The best agents are career-long advisers and managers. This article discusses how to find agents, what to submit to them, and how to choose the best agent for you. It advises you to consider the agent’s sales track record, if their communication inspires confidence, and their level of enthusiasm. Jane Friedman moves on to discuss what to expect from a good agent.

Podcasts
  1. Lit Match – Quick Query Tips: 3 Strategic Ways to Research Literary Agents (google.com)

This episode from the podcast Lit Match discusses Quick Query Tips: 3 Strategic Ways to Research Literary Agents. Abigail turns the focus from interviews with literary agents to the research and submission process.

  1. The Author Inside You – 4 Ways To Find A Book Agent (google.com)

It’s not uncommon for writers to dream about having an agent help sell their manuscript to a big publishing house. What is the best way to find an agent for your book? On this episode of The Author Inside You podcast, they interview literary agent Lucinda Halpern who shares great advice on how to find an agent and what you can expect them to do for you.

  1. Pub Date Book Publishing Podcast – Ep. 32: How to Find and Work with a Literary Agent with guest Wendy Keller (google.com)

The topic in this episode from the Pub Date Book Publishing Podcast is how to find and work with a literary agent. Listen in as they discuss with guest Wendy Keller, the importance of having a solid platform, what authors should be doing before reaching out to an agent, and the things you should be mindful of as you grow your audience.

It is important to remember that if an agent says no, they aren’t saying no to you personally but it is just that your work isn’t the right fit for them. By doing your research and sending out queries in small batches you are more likely to find that special literary agent that gets you and your work and wants to champion you to publishing houses. It’s not an easy task and it takes time and effort. I hope that this week’s column has been helpful and that you now have a good idea about how to go about finding the right literary agent for you. As always, if there are any topics you would like me to cover then please get in touch.

(c) Lucy O’Callaghan

Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31.

Facebook: @LucyCOCallaghan

Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

About the author

Writing since she was a child, Lucy penned her first story with her father called Arthur’s Arm, at the ripe old age of eight. She has been writing ever since. Inspired by her father’s love of the written word and her mother’s encouragement through a constant supply of wonderful stationary, she wrote short stories for her young children, which they subsequently illustrated.
A self-confessed people watcher, stories that happen to real people have always fascinated her and this motivated her move to writing contemporary women’s fiction. Her writing has been described as pacy, human, moving and very real.
Lucy has been part of a local writing group for over ten years and has taken creative writing classes with Paul McVeigh, Jamie O’Connell and Curtis Brown Creative. She truly found her tribe when she joined Writer’s Ink in May 2020. Experienced in beta reading and critiquing, her debut novel, The Lies Beneath is out now, published by Poolbeg.
Follow her on Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31. Facebook and Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

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