Friday Favorite: Literary Agent Databases

janav Friday Favorites, Resources, Writing Leave a Comment

So how the heck do you find an agent anyway? It can be daunting to figure out, among all the hundreds (thousands?) of agents out there, who would be a good fit for your book.

One way to do this is to look at books you’ve enjoyed, and see if the agent is listed in the acknowledgments in the back of the book. But for many, that might not be the best way to get to know who’s acquiring what types of manuscripts now. Similarly, print books go out of date so quickly, they are useful only in the broadest sense.

There are several online databases that can help you begin your search. They are generally searchable by keywords and genre, as well as advanced search terms. On several of them, there are also links to tons of resources on writing, publishing, community, networking, agents, e-publishing, etc. There are links to the agents’ websites, and it’s always best to go there directly to check if they are still with that agency, what they’re currently looking for, and if they’re accepting queries.

Association of Authors’ Representatives: –
The Literary Agents Database at Poets and Writers –*
The Guide to Literary Agents blog at Writer’s –

These are just a few of the resources out there, but they are a good place to start.

Obviously, you have to do a lot of research to dig down and really see what and who they agent has represented and how they work. If you’re a new author, you may want to look for newer agents who are actively building their lists, and are therefore more open. One red flag: if they ask for any money, for anything outside of a signed contract in which they agree to represent you and take a standard 15% cut, drop them.
It can be tempting to not do your homework thoroughly and just blind query a bunch of agents and hope something sticks. Don’t skip this stage! It will tell you a lot about the business, and who the big and influential players are, and what’s getting published. Every writer with aspirations to publish has to understand the marketplace and how it works, and if you’re looking to go the traditional publishing route, it starts with finding the right agent for you.

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