If you are interested in publishing your book with a traditional publishing house, you need the services of a literary agent. Most publishers only accept submissions from agents, which makes attracting an agent integral to acquiring a publishing deal.
In January 2022 published author, Cherie Jones, delivered “Tips for Attracting a literary Agent” to a captive Writers’ Clinic audience. Aspiring writers who attended the workshop benefitted from the wealth of information shared, including the following five tips.
1. Finish before you start
Do not submit a query letter to an agent before completing your manuscript. If you have successfully written an enticing letter, the agent will likely request that you submit additional chapters or the entire manuscript. It is therefore imperative that you have these chapters ready and available at a moment’s notice. You run the risk of losing the agent’s interest altogether if you seem unprepared.
2. Do your research
When querying an agent, research is essential. Find out which agents represent the type of work that you are producing. Many agents only accept work that fits within specific genres. This information can be found on the agent’s website. Take a look at the types of work that he/she represents and determine whether this agent would be the right fit for your book.
Research the agent’s track record. Has he/she had much success in the publishing industry? It is important to know these details before you sign on the dotted line.
3. Write an excellent query letter.
This is your opportunity to sell your book to an agent. Use those lines wisely. A strong query letter that piques the reader’s interest through a captivating hook can open the door to further discussions.
Include comparable titles that have achieved success in the industry. This implies that your book will attain similar results.
Highlight your accomplishments. This shows that you are a writer with a proven track record.
Include a summary of the plot that will encourage the agent to read more.
4. Follow submission guidelines.
Visit the agent’s website and follow the submission requirements to the letter. Do no submit what they did not ask for. Read the instructions carefully and comply.
5. Know your place.
Present yourself in a professional manner. Respond to communications promptly. This may include requests for edits. The relationship between an author and an agent is a pivotal one. It is therefore important to make a good impression.