So you finally put the pen to paper and completed your long-awaited manuscript… What to do now? Should you expect literary agents to come knocking down your door? Absolutely not! If you have not yet embarked on a literary agent search, you may be surprised to find that most agents don’t want to speak to you because it is a competitive industry, to say the least.
So how do you get a legitimate literary agent fast?
- Do your research for each agent. Although this may not seem like a fast process, it will save you from chasing a rabbit trail since there are many different con artists that pose as literary agents. There are also quite a few amateur agents who don’t have the experience you need to get your book published, which will also be a waste of time. As a big warning, don’t give money to any agent as a part of your contract because it could be a scam, and you will not get that money back. Luckily, you can research easily online directly through an agent’s website, and you can also check out their credentials and feedback from other authors on websites like Preditors and Editors.
- Look for the real thing. The truth is that real literary agents don’t need to advertise because they are so swamped with all of their submissions and manuscripts. If you come across an agent actively looking for new clients, this is something that you should be skeptical of since it may be a scam. Again, it is not acceptable for any agents to ask you for upfront fees since they work in the same way as a real estate agent where their salary is based on commission. This is their incentive to sell your book for you, where they will get commission off of the top once they make the sale but not before.
- Read all submission guidelines carefully. As you start to research and delve into the agents within your genre, you do need to pay attention to all of their submission guidelines to the letter. Many agents may not be accepting submissions at the time, and other agents may only want you to send a query letter. Some agents may prefer a snail mail query letter with a SASE, while others will accept e-mail queries only. How complicated! If necessary, make a spreadsheet of all of the different submission guidelines so that you don’t make an error in your submission that will cause it to get rejected.
- Write an amazing query letter. Your query letter is your first introduction to an agency, and it will make or break whether they want to look at your manuscript. There are many tutorials for writing a query letter online, and as you do your homework, you may also find that specific agencies will list information they would like included in the query letter. Your biggest mistake would be to mass submit one query letter to several agencies because they will all be deleted!
For a great selection of the Bodum French Press, check out Bethany Ramos‘ website, The Coffee Bump