How to find a great literary agent?

Literary agents are people who will not only help you improve your manuscript so that it is of a publishable standard, but they will also help your pitch your manuscript to publishers and negotiate deals on your behalf. Literary agents usually have a lot of experience in the industry and understand all aspects of the publishing process.

How do you find a good agent?

Find a book that is similar to yours and go to the imprint page (the page which outlines the copyright details). Sometimes the author will say who their agent is or sometimes they will recognise their agent in the acknowledgement section. Once you find their name, do some research and determine whether they have had success working with your style of book. Hint: don't go to literary agents that don't do your style of book.

How do you make contact with them?

Normally you will call them or check out their website. Also most countries have ‘Literary Agent Associations' that list numerous agents with their contact details.

What do you send them?

Ask them. Like publishers, different agents request different things, so you will have to ask them. Usually they want a letter, a synopsis, and three chapters (sometimes the entire manuscript).

With many publishers choosing to not accept unsolicited manuscripts, agents are becoming a popular tool to assist in getting published. However, like publishers, agents will only invest in you if they think your manuscript will have a big return on investment.

This is important because agents will usually not charge upfront, but will take a percentage of your profits after your book is published. On average it is about 15%, however, sometimes this can be more or less. Literary agents are not essential, but they can be a great asset if your find the right one.

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Dale Beaumont is the author of this article. He is an internationally renowned book publishing expert, the author of 16 best-selling books and the creator of the Get Published Secrets Program.  

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