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Literary Agents

edited May 2014 in Writing
HI Has anyone here ( well some of you must have) landed an agent and how did that happen?

I've queried dozens after properly researching who might be interested in my genre and type of writing, I followed all of their rules and submission guidelines and even put together great 'elevator pitches' to try and grab their attention but to no avail - seems they are incredibly picky - but I'd like to know from other's how they got an agent and what value they have brought to your writing??


  • Wish I knew. A friend got an agent when her husband was taking the dog for a walk at five in the morning and got chatting to a woman over the park. I don't think this works for everyone though.
  • Lol I love that Casey I think I might start prowling around the local parks at 5am - I might see a few things even if I don't bag an agent!!! Lol
  • I got an agent a few years ago by submitting in the usual fashion. She read my book in a sitting, she said she couldn't put it down, and we signed a contract.
    She couldn't find a publisher.
    Half the time it's down to sheer luck, in my opinion, and I'm still searching.
  • Ditto, Lizy. Submitted to lots, caught the interest of 5 I think. One signed me, then she couldn't find a publisher. The value was, I felt validated, I got my work on to the desks of the big houses and had great feedback from them. In the end I found a publisher myself.
    I think it's worth paying for a professional critique. They can tell you if you're ready to submit. If you are then keep plugging away.
  • Are you a member of Absolute Write, datco? They have a system whereby you can critique other authors' pitch (or query, they call it over there), and when you've proved your worth by logging up 50 (!) you can put in your own queries for others to criticise. They say that the process of doing that many teaches you how to write a great query, because it's only after you've scored a hit on that element of a submission that an agent will turn to your MS and start on your story/voice, etc.
    Just a thought.
  • Hi Dwight - no I haven't I will give them a shot - I find writing query's actually very difficult so worth it. I have got a book coming out this year a romantic comedy called 'Love Byte' with a publisher called buried river press the brand new paperback imprint with Robert Hale - signed 2 book deal with them - they are very keen on it - but still no agent it really is harder to get a publisher than an agent!!
  • I registered with them for updates when they launch - didn't realise you were the chappy I've been reading about!
  • Hi baggy - didn't know they'd said much - buried river all seems a bit low key for something they are obviously hoping does well - maybe they'll ramp it up this month - website not even working yet. Ps they are all very posh lol
  • edited May 2014
    I came across you on the novelicious.com site - they mentioned you and there's a cover of your book on show.


    Buried River Press are on Twitter, but they don't have much to say...yet.
  • Looks good, datco! If it's similar to P.S. I Love You, it would be my cup of tea!
  • Hi Dwight - no I haven't I will give them a shot - I find writing QUERY'S actually very difficult so worth it.
    Do you think it might be because of mistakes such as that?

  • Book looks good, datco - hope it does well.
  • Lol thanx Liz - I do check spelling when writing important stuff forum spelling hi
    Operculum not a deal breaker xx
  • Damn auto text -she'd have read forum spelling not operculum!!
  • The last 2 entries were shocking not sure what was going on using my iPhone whilst with kids so I'll blame it on that lol
  • We have judged you on those two sentences, datco. Future posts are entirely in vain!
  • Putting in my penny's worth re an agent, I must have approached over 14 before landing up at Sheil Land Associates- which happens to be one of the top London agencies representing the likes of Melvyn Bragg and Prince Charles. That came about by networking. I asked a local well established novelist who I'm acquainted with, as to who was her agent. It happened to be Sonia Land, so I emailed her dropping the name of this author. She replied saying she didn't like my genre of writing BUT passed me on to a colleague in the agency who happened to strike a chord with my humorous style. Ironically though I signed up with the agency I'd already got the interest of three small publishers so it made the agent's job easy - though to give him his due he did test the market with some of the big publishing houses who weren't interested.
    And of course it's always wise to keep alert as to new agents on the block (and indeed new small publishers) as they're keen to build up their client lists. You should study an agency's website and read the CVs of the agents there so as to assess what they would like to see and also how long they've been with that agency. Often they'll say they're keen to build on their list so approach those people with a personal email. It all helps to get your head above the slush pile.
    Incidently, WN can be invaluable in making you aware of new agents and publishers.
  • Thanks Welshman,

    At my current stage of development I probably don't need an agent it's not as if I'm negotiating a multiu-million pound film deal or anything - but it seems everywhere you read up on stuff it says you 'need an agent' to progress as a writer (they could all have been written by agents I suppose).

    And actually thinking about it in order to progress as a writer you just need to write and get feedback and you don't need an agent or even a publisher for that really.
  • If you have a ready-written book, datco, the next stage to my mind is to apply to agents, because of all the things they can do in the industry that you can't. Not least, taking your book on the rounds of the publishers they know will most likely want your kind of book. They are seasoned experts. I'm sure you know that this is an industry, not a pastime. Let an agent pedal your book in the various international book fairs they frequent and seeing to the author's rights on your behalf. In the meantime, do what you should be doing, which is getting on with writing your next book.
  • Hi I'm janland, new here. Could anyone tell me anything about Austin Macauley please?
  • Janland, if you put Austin Macauley into the search box-above where it says start discussion- and press go, it will bring up a number of threads relating to them. You can then work through them at your own speed.

    And hello and welcome to Talkback.
  • Well done M.Welshman, out of interest is there a website showing new publishers and agents? I would be interested to find out just as an extra source of info. also saves keep buying each new Artist & Writers year book.
  • I think the amount of time that A&W Yearbook put into their research each year to enable them to list all the new ones and the difference in the old one's desires probably answers the question as to why here is no website doing the same thing for nothing.
  • I did not think A&W list that many new publishers until time reveals what they have to offer in the way of reputation. I have a few A&W's and they do not change a great deal. they seem to list new agents rather than new publishers.
  • I did not think A&W list that many new publishers until time reveals what they have to offer in the way of reputation. I have a few A&W's and they do not change a great deal. they seem to list new agents rather than new publishers.
  • Was It Me or was I seeing things, the forum seemed very slow to load then it showed my profile pic as a green frog like the one Liz has but with a black background. and before anyone says No not been on the drink.
  • now it has posted the same post twice but showing a different times strange
  • edited November 2014
    Usually the double post appearing sorts itself out. It seems to be an occasional glitch, happy_author.

    I suspect the fact that there aren't many new publishers listed is because they are few and far between currently.

    Newer and smaller publishers (that survive) expand to a certain point, then get bought up by bigger publishers- the original imprints remain but are now part of a bigger business so appear under their listings.
  • Writing magazine often has news of new publishers though, and news about updates as to whether a publisher is now seeking submissions...
  • edited November 2014
    I've heard good things about Agent Hunter (http://www.agenthunter.co.uk), a website run by (among others) Harry Bingham. You can sign up for free, although to get the most information you need to join - and subscriptions start from just £5 for a month's access (a full year is only £12, so a little cheaper than the W&A Yearbook).

    I've not joined as I'm not quite ready to start looking for an agent, but a friend of mine was given a free trial and wrote a review, if you're interested: http://teresa-stenson.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/agent-hunter-review.html

    As the name suggests, it is more about agents than publishers, but might be worth taking a look at.
  • Re agent hunter - I'm sure I wrote something about this before - not sure where but I like the site as it is updated more regularly than the artists and writers yearbook. As agents tend to move about more than my 3 year old after a handful of blue M&M's that can be useful.
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