Want to get a literary agent fast? Then you're in the right place. Agent Hunter is the UK's most comprehensive online directory of agents with by far the best tools for searching out the ones who'll suit you best. And getting started is easy: just do as follows
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Once you've got an account, you can start to search the system: browsing agents, sorting through the database, seeing who's who. As a non-subscriber, your access will be somewhat restricted, but you'll easily get a feel for all the site has to offer.
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Our top tips on how to get a literary agent
Getting a literary agent is simple enough assuming that your manuscript is strong enough to sell. Just follow these rules:
- Use Agent Hunter to select a shortist of 8-10 agents
- Those agents should all have an interest in your genre
- They should be open to taking on new clients. (Agents marked "Keen to Build Client List" are actively eager for new writers.)
- Ideally, you will also find agents that have some particular point of contact with your work. For example, if your work is set in Ireland, you might find an agent who loves all things Irish. Or if you are a particular fan of the work of a particular author, you might look for an agent who mentions that author as an inspiration (or, indeed, lists him/her as a client.)
- Then write a covering letter introducing yourself and your work. If you do have a particular point of contact with an agent, then mention it. (See more tips.)
- Prepare a synopsis - that is, a simple summary of your story. Don't let this run to more than 1,000 words, and anything in the 500-800 range zone would be better. (Get more help)
- Most agents want you to send them the covering letter, synopsis and the first three chapters (or approx 8-10,000 words) of your manuscript, but do check individual requirements. Agent Hunter gives you the basic info, but it's always worth double-checking against the agent's own website, as they do sometimes change the guidelines without alerting us first.
- Then send your work out. It's OK to indulge in any superstitious rituals that appeal to you, but we're not sure we know of any that have a 100% success rate . . .
If your work is genuinely strong enough to be marketable, then this approach will almost certainly ensure that you get a literary agent without further ado. If it doesn't, then:
- You can think about a rinse-and-repeat approach. Basically, use Agent Hunter to pick another 8-10 names and repeat the process above. This approach is certainly worthwhile if you've had real encouragement from agents thus far. (eg: you've had multiple requests for the whole MS or any rejections were somewhat regretful in tone.)
- Otherwise, it's better to go back to your manuscript and figure out why agents weren't scrambling to pick it up. You can do that on your own, but the gold-standard approach is to use an independent editorial service such as that provided by our friends over at the Writers' Workshop.
Happy hunting and good luck!