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

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Lucy O'Callaghan

Lucy O’Callaghan

Finding the right literary agent is one of the most important things you will do as a writer. This is the 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. I have put together some articles and podcasts that I hope will help to guide you in finding the right agent for you.

  1. https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-find-a-literary-agent#quiz-0

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. https://nybookeditors.com/2018/10/tips-for-finding-a-literary-agent/

If you want to catch the eye of a traditional publisher, you need to be represented by a literary agent. But how do you find an agent— and not just any agent, but the right agent? Firstly, the article explains what a literary agent can do for you, and then most importantly tells us not to attempt to find a literary agent until you have finished writing your book and edited it! Researching agents is important and following the submission process is key. Bracing yourself for rejection is also part of finding an agent; be patient and keep going. There is someone for everyone, and that extends to literary representation too.

  1. https://blog.reedsy.com/how-to-get-a-literary-agent/

This article begins with what genres need a literary agent; not all do, for example, poetry or academic often can submit directly to a publisher. It then explains how to find a literary agent in 5 simple steps including researching agents and making a short list, rating each agent’s suitability, and being sure to personalise each query letter.

  1. https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/advice/10-steps-getting-literary-agent

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. https://thejohnfox.com/2017/03/how-to-find-a-literary-agent/

This article shares strategies for getting a literary agent and real stories of how other writers have found agents. Number 1 is not to just look at agents that might be the right fit but look at the agency as a whole. An agent is only as good as the people who support them. John Fox tells us not to focus on getting an agent but focus on selecting one, and to bear in mind that you want a long-term agent, not one invested for a single book.

Podcasts

  1. https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9hcHAua2FqYWJpLmNvbS9wb2RjYXN0cy8yMTQ3NDk2OTY0L2ZlZWQ/episode/S2FqYWJpLTIxNDc3NTk0MTc?hl=en-IE&ved=2ahUKEwixp4DE8JH5AhVVQ0EAHSE6ABMQjrkEegQIBxAI&ep=6

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. https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly90aGVhdXRob3JpbnNpZGV5b3UubGlic3luLmNvbS9yc3M/episode/NmI5NDc3Y2YtNmQ5OS00YmYxLWI5NDktNjAzZGUxMjMzNTZl?hl=en-IE&ved=2ahUKEwixp4DE8JH5AhVVQ0EAHSE6ABMQjrkEegQIBxAO&ep=6

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. https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuc3ByZWFrZXIuY29tL3Nob3cvNTAzNTM5MS9lcGlzb2Rlcy9mZWVk/episode/cHViZGF0ZXBvZGNhc3QucG9kYmVhbi5jb20vYWUzMjhmMDgtNTFhOC0zODAxLThjY2QtNTg3NjZmYThkZjZj?hl=en-IE&ved=2ahUKEwixp4DE8JH5AhVVQ0EAHSE6ABMQjrkEegQIBxAX&ep=6

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. 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, she is currently editing and polishing her debut novel.
Follow her on Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31. Facebook and Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

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