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  • Guide to Literary Agents

How To Find A Literary Agent

11 Steps to Finding the Agent Who’ll Love Your Book

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I was ready. I had an edited manuscript. I had a tiered list of agents. I had a spreadsheet. I’d read every scrap of information about getting an agent, and I was prepared, at last, to submit my novel. The process could take months, maybe years, I’d heard. I was in for the long haul, baby. The good news is it didn’t take years to get an offer of representation. The even better news: That offer came in the form of four magic words, words I’d been told to wait for by all the experts: I love your book.

Not just a Facebook-worthy thumbs up, not a “I think I can sell this.” Love. The reason you wait for true love in publishing is because publishing requires it, and not just from the author. Remember the feverish crush that helped fuel your first draft? Your agent needs that same big-eyed reverence for your book to take it out to editors, hoping for another love connection. So how do you snag one of these lovey-doveys for yourself?

GIVEAWAY: Lori is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. Read more

How I Got My Literary Agent: A. Lynden Rolland

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring A. Lynden Rolland, author of the YA supernatural novel OF BREAKABLE THINGS. Her agent is Rachael Dugas of Talcott Notch. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent.

GIVEAWAY: Lynn is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the print book, whereas other readers worldwide can win the ebook. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: naturalred78 won.) Read more

How I Got My Agent: Steve Weddle

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Steve Weddle, author of COUNTRY HARDBALL. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. Steve’s agent is Stacia Decker of Donald Maass Literary Agency.

GIVEAWAY: Steve is excited to give away a free copy of his novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: DanielR won.) Read more

How I Got My Agent: Sara Polsky

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Sara Polsky, author of THIS IS HOW I FIND HER, and agented by Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings.

GIVEAWAY: Sara is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: momiji5 won.) Read more

How I Got My Agent: M.V. Freeman, Author of INCANDESCENT

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring M.V. Freeman, author of INCANDESCENT, represented by Aponte Literary Agency. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings.

GIVEAWAY: M.V. is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in the US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: burrowswrite won.) Read more

How I Got My Agent: Steph Cha, Author of FOLLOW HER HOME

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Steph Cha, author of FOLLOW HER HOME, a mystery. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings.

This column is written by Steph Cha, author of the 2013 mystery debut FOLLOW HER HOME (Minotaur). Steph’s agent is Ethan Bassoff of Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. Read more

How I Got My Agent: Elizabeth Huergo, Author of THE DEATH OF FIDEL PEREZ

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Elizabeth Huergo, author of THE DEATH OF FIDEL PEREZ. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings.

GIVEAWAY: Elizabeth is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: wisetraveler13 won.) Read more

The 2014 Guide to Literary Agents is Out! Here are 44 Reasons to Buy It (and a Giveaway Contest!)

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The new 2014 edition of the Guide to Literary Agents is out, all updated and packed with info. I realize there are other places you can turn to for information on agents, but the Guide to Literary Agents has always prided itself as being the biggest (we list almost every agent) and the most thorough (guidelines, sales, agent by agent breakdowns, etc.). That’s why it’s been around for 23 years and that’s why it’s sold more than 300,000 copies. It works—and if you keep reading, I’ll prove it to you with testimonials from 44 awesome writers.

THE GIVEAWAY! Comment on this post and just say anything nice about any element of Writer’s Digest you enjoy — from a blog post to a class or a book or anything else. In two weeks (Sept. 25, 2013), I will pick 3 winners randomly to win a copy of the book! It’s that easy. (UPDATE: cvanderpool, Jenxian and Justin Z. won.) Read more

How I Got My Agent: J. Kent Messum

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring J. Kent Messum, author of BAIT, a novel. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. If you have a literary agent and would be interested in writing a short guest column for this GLA blog, e-mail me at literaryagent@fwmedia.com and we’ll talk specifics.

GIVEAWAY: J. Kent is excited to give away a free copy of his novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: Glenn027 won.) Read more

How I Got My Agent: Amy Gail Hansen

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Amy Gail Hansen, author of THE BUTTERFLY SISTER. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. Amy’s literary agent is Elisabeth Weed of Weed Literary.

GIVEAWAY: Kami is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: Debbie won.) Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far: Diana Wagman

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2. Never quit for the day without being excited about what you’re going to write next. Forget finishing the chapter or getting to a good stopping place. It is absolutely imperative to stop in the middle. I get up only when I have the next sentence or event in my mind. That way, I’m anxious to get back to it. I’ll be thinking about it as I do other things (see #1 above) and the story and my characters will be calling to me. When I don’t do that, the next time I sit down I will face a blank page and I can spend the entire day wandering and wondering and never move forward. Read more

How I Got My Agent: Tiffany Hawk

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Tiffany Hawk, author of LOVE ME ANYWAY. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings.

GIVEAWAY: Tiffany is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: Marie Rogers won.) Read more

The 9 Ingredients of Character Development

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1. Communication style: How does your character talk? Does she favor certain words or phrases that make her distinct and interesting? What about the sound of her voice? Much of our personality comes through our speech, so think about the way your character is going to talk. Her style of communication should be distinctive and unique.

GIVEAWAY: Tom is excited to give away a free copy of his novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: KarenLange won.) Read more

How I Got My Agent: Tessa Harris

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Tessa Harris, author of THE DEAD SHALL NOT REST, whose literary agent is Melissa Jeglinski of The Knight Agency. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. Read more

How I Got My Agent: Dennis Mahoney

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Dennis Mahoney, author of the 2013 literary novel FELLOW MORTALS. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings with literary agents. Read more

How I Got My Agent: Lynne Raimondo

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Lynne Raimondo, author of DANTE’S WOOD. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. If you have a literary agent and would be interested in writing a short guest column for this GLA blog, e-mail me at literaryagent@fwmedia.com and we’ll talk specifics.

GIVEAWAY: Lynne is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: lanieww won.) Read more

How I Got My Agent: Cecy Robson

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Cecy Robson, author of SEALED WITH A CURSE: A WEIRD GIRLS NOVEL. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. Read more

How I Got My Agent: Nicole Steinhaus

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog. This installment is with young adult writer Nicole Steinhaus.

“… Fast forward a year, two more manuscripts, three SCBWI events, an embarrassing amount of research on agents and writing craft, and I was ready to query manuscript number three. But I wasn’t about to make the same mistakes as before. This time I queried only a few agents at a time, revised based on their feedback and queried again. This process continued for seven months before deciding the manuscript needed a complete genre overhaul. I rewrote the story from scratch, mutating it from a contemporary to a dark suspense. Just before I was ready to query again, I came across Bree Ogden’s blog where she stated she was especially interested in darker plots…” Read more

How I Got My Agent: Melissa Guion

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Melissa Guion, author of the fun picture book BABY PENGUINS EVERYWHERE. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings. Read more

How I Got My Agent: Coreene Callahan

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“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Coreene Callahan, author of several books, including the newly released KNIGHT AWAKENED. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent.

TAKING MY TIME WITH THE PITCH: I met my literary agent in a karaoke bar over a tequila shot. She was celebrating the signing of a book contract with one of her authors, and I got swept into the group. An unusual way to begin a professional relationship, I know, but…hey. I’ve always been the kind of person who opens the door when opportunity comes knocking. But here’s the thing… Read more

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Noelle Sterne

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1. After all the time, send-outs, get-backs, and hard work, the ecstasy of acceptance is fabulous and tear-filled. Let yourself scream, cry, feel the nervous soaring rise in your chest. If you can share it with someone, all the better.

GIVEAWAY: Noelle is excited to give away a free copy of her book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: leeannniazi won.) Read more

The Latest Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market Is Out — So Get Your Children’s Book Published

2013 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market

The 2013 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market is out and available in major bookstores! I’m super pumped about its release. It’s a great resource guide for writers of picture books and novels for kids (young adult, middle grade) as well as illustrators. The new 2013 edition is all updated and packed with info. Now in its 25th year, the newest edition still provides great market and submission/contact information for book publishers, international publishers, literary agents, contests, magazines, conferences and more. Click through to read 5 testimonials about the book from amazing bestselling authors like Jay Asher and Meg Cabot.

THE GIVEAWAY!!! Comment on this post and just say anything nice about any element of Writer’s Digest you enjoy — from a blog post to a class or a book or anything else. In two weeks, I will pick 2 winners randomly to win a copy of the book! It’s that easy. (UPDATE: kathyellendavis and PatriceWrites won.) Read more

My Adventures in … San Francisco 2012

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I just got back from the 2012 San Francisco Writers Conference over Presidents’ Day Weekend, and the event was fantastic. The SFWC, which is co-sponsored by WD, is famous for its number of agents, editors and authors who attend. The San Fran area is rich with writing talent, and the SFWC brings in a lot of area speakers. If you live anywhere in the area, I seriously recommend checking out the event for 2013. Read more

Amazing Giveaway: A Free Pass to the 2012 San Francisco Writers Conference (Feb. 16-19, 2012) Worth $745

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This is amazing news. Writer’s Digest has 1 free pass to giveaway to a random commenter for a full registration pass at the 2012 San Francisco Writers Conference (Feb. 16-19, 2012). (Wow!!) Make sure you read this entire post to see all the details of the giveaway, as there are some things you need to do to formally enter. To enter, you will need to comment on this post, and spread the news a bit via social media. (Update: Joan Swan won the pass. Congrats to Joan! Joan will be guest blogging about her travels here on my GLA Blog following the event.) Read more

More Than 60 Agents Will Be Taking Pitches at the 2012 Writer’s Digest Conference

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The 2012 Writer’s Digest Conference (Jan. 20-22, 2012) is coming up fast and promises to be a blast. We have incredible presenters lined up to instruct, fun sessions to attend, and, of course the gigantic Agent Pitch Slam that features the largest gathering of literary agents (more than 60 literary agents this year!) at any writing conference in the country. Last year, we had about 55, but the conference attendance was so outstanding that we felt lines were too long for each agent. That’s why our solution this year is “more agents, more time.” Read on. Read more

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