How to find literary agents - the easy way
Agent Hunter lists every literary agent in the UK. We provide photos, bios, contact info, literary preferences, submission requirements and much more.
It's incredibly easy to search, save and filter our data.
All the data – Easy to search
Agent Hunter is a wholly new way to search for agents. No more flipping through phone directories. No more random Googling trying to find an agent who's interested in kind of thing you write.
We've gathered all the information you could possibly need and made it incredibly easy to search. Just drop in your search criteria, develop a longlist of agents, then explore each name in detail – and build your very own shortlist, with the confidence that you've chosen the right agents for you.
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Agent Hunter FAQ
All the questions you need answering!
Probably, yes. If you are writing a novel (whether for adults or children), then you certainly need one. If you are writing mainstream non-fiction – the sort that you might see on a front table at Waterstones – then yes, you need one.
If your book is likely to be somewhat niche in appeal (poetry, for example, or specialist non-fiction), then sales volumes probably wouldn’t justify the involvement of a literary agent, so you should either self-publish or approach suitable publishers direct.
None. Literary agents charge no upfront fees at all. They work exclusively on commission – typically 15% for UK sales, and 20% for overseas sales – which means you owe nothing if the agent fails to sell your work.
Although it can seem painful to hand over 15-20% of your earnings to a third party, do bear in mind that almost all professional authors would argue that agents add value way in excess of their fees and it’s a very rare author who would prefer to go it alone.
An agent’s primary function is to sell your manuscript to publishers. They are, in effect, specialists in selling intellectual property. A UK-based agency will typically seek to sell your work to a British publisher in the first instance, and then seek to make further sales in the US, Europe, and other major markets. They will also co-ordinate the possible sale of your work for film and TV.
But agents are there to manage your career more broadly, which means they will also supervise your publication process, mediate any problems with your publisher, advise on career direction, and much more. Most authors consider their agents to be their most long-term and trusted partner in publishing.
The single most important quality is simply enthusiasm for you and your work. You need a partner who understands what you are about as an author and who will act as a long term and genuine advocate of your writing. At the same time, you will want to check that your agent has the experience necessary to do their job properly.
Typically, agents will have had a good background in the publishing industry, or they have worked their way up the ladder within an existing literary agency. Either route is fine: and the combination of enthusiasm and knowledge should do wonders for your career.
First, register on Agent Hunter after which you can search for literary agents and then develop a shortlist of about 10-12 agents. You are looking for agents who are active in your genre and either actively seeking clients or, at the very least, open to new ones. You are also looking for a meaningful point of contact – perhaps some shared literary passions, or outside interests.
Once you have identified your shortlist, you want to approach them with (typically) a covering letter, a synopsis and the first three chapters of your manuscript (or ‘MS’ as it’s also known.) Do check agent websites for individual requirements prior to sending, as it’s important to ensure that you’re giving each agent what he or she requires.