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Use This 5-Point Checklist When Finding a Literary Agent

Trying to find a literary agent to represent you in the publishing process? First, make sure you have the basics down: research the agent and the types of books he or she represents, follow the agent’s submission guidelines, and, of course, spell the agent’s name correctly. Also be sure to use the proper format when crafting your query letter.

Finding an agent is an arduous process, but our five-point checklist below will guide you through it. And remember, the best way to promote your manuscript is to hire the professionals to write a customized query letter.

1. Format the letter correctly.

Most literary agents expect query letters in a standard three-paragraph format. The first paragraph is used for the salutation, the second to describe your book, and the third to introduce yourself, the author. This is the best approach if you’re new to finding literary agents, but if you’re already experienced, feel free to mix it up and get creative.

2. Explain why your book is right for the agent.

Finding a literary agent entails a significant amount of research. Why did you decide to pitch to this particular agent? This is your chance to explain your reasoning and let the agent know why you’re a good fit. For example, you could mention some authors you admire who the agent has previously represented.

3. Succinctly outline your book.

During your search for a literary agent, you’ll probably discover that most agents don’t want a full plot synopsis in your query letter. In this section, simply explain the basic story arc and identify the main themes of the book. It’s like an elevator pitch or a thesis statement for your book.

4. Talk about yourself.

Tell the literary agent a bit about yourself, but keep it short and sweet. Your bio should be one to three lines. If you want to secure yourself a literary agent, impress him or her with your publication history, academic prowess, or life experience, but make sure the information is relevant to the book and the agent’s interests.

5. Give your contact information.

This is a crucial step that, surprisingly, many people overlook when trying to find a literary agent. Of course, it’s up to you what sort of contact information you provide, but at the very least, you should list your email address and phone number. That way, agents can easily contact you to express their interest and ask questions.

It’s not easy to find a literary agent—we know. It’s an exhausting and time-consuming process, but if you take the right approach, you can save yourself significant time and effort. If you make sure your query letter is properly formatted and contains the right information, the search for a literary agent will be significantly easier. Want to simplify the process even further? Order a professionally written query letter today.



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