OK, so you’ve written and rewritten and rewritten your query letter, and you’ve done your research into other query letters, especially ones that have resulted in request for the entire book (at this stage, that’s gold).
Now it’s time to send out that gem-like prose, your query letter. But to whom? No publisher will read queries, manuscripts or even Post-It notes that come in “over the transom,” as the saying goes. To get your book directly to a publisher, you will have to have a friend or client at the publishing house.
That’s why you need an agent. They are the middle-men and (mostly)-women who have relationships with publishers, and who can get your book in front of an editor, with luck, an editor the agent knows is right for your book.
Now it’s time to find that agent.
You want to find an agent who represent your kind of book. If (like me) you’ve written a YA, or Young Adult, novel, you’ll want an agent familiar with that market. Likewise for thriller, romance, picture books or self-help. Google something like “the top [your category] agents.” Google will oblige you with any number of lists. Here are a few sites I’ve found useful:
You can also learn about other writers’ experience with these agents at:
It’s time to do more research: visit the agencies’ websites and read about each agent on your list. Sometimes you’ll find that:
- the agent you’re interested in is no longer at the agency in your list, or;
- they are not open for queries, or;
- they only read queries recommended by current clients.
You will be collecting a lot of information. The way I handle it is with a spreadsheet. More on that next time.