Writer’s Digest’s Guide to Literary Agents Blog

This excellent blog is dedicated to sharing the latest and greatest instruction and information on literary agents, literary agencies, query letters, submissions, publishing, author platform, book marketing, and more.

If you’re an agent seeking submissions, an agency with a story to tell, or an author looking to share your success story, contact jessica.farris@fwmedia.com.


The Publishing Industry Needs Our Support!

The publishing industry always needs the loyal support of us reader-writers. That’s why, for the past few holiday seasons, I have been trying to buy books for all my family and friends as their gifts. What you have to do is approach them early, then basically explain what you’re doing, and...

Agent Terry Burns On: When NOT To Stand Out From the Crowd

Editor’s note: I am declaring November 2010 to be “Agent Guest Column Month,” and therefore, every weekday, I will be posting a guest column by a literary agent. Day 15: Today’s guest agent is Terry Burns of Hartline Literary.   Terry Burns is an agent withHartline Literary. When we talk promotion, having...

Agent Katharine Sands On: 4 Agent Pet Peeves

1. CONFUSING REJECTION LETTER FEEDBACK FOR BLURB COPY Here is a relatively new nettle: writers posting comments on a website from a letter of rejection to create the impression of a blurb. This is false advertising since, the agent is, in fact, declining to represent the work, not extolling it. This is...

New Agent Alert: Katie Shea of Caren Johnson Literary

Reminder: Newer agents are golden opportunities for new writers because they’re likely building their client list; however, always make sure your work is as perfect as it can be before submitting, and only query agencies that are a great fit for your work. Otherwise, you’re just wasting time and postage. She is...

My Adventures in … San Francisco 2010

I just got back from the San Francisco Writing for Change Conference and took the red-eye home, getting little sleep. Must. Pass. Out. The conference was very cool and quite unique. It featured a lot of writers who had promising nonfiction books that can alter people's lives for the better. The...

Agent Chip MacGregor On: Changes in Christian Publishing

Today much has changed in the Christian book market. In the 80s, the majority of publishers who took up the Christian fiction torch did so with a missionary zeal. Perceiving the new genre as another opportunity to spread the Gospel, some publishers required novelists to declare the tenets of faith in...

6 Things I Learned At The Frankfurt Book Fair

Editor's Note: Guest column by Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos, a two-time breast cancer survivor who penned Surviving Cancerland: The Psychic Aspects of Healing. When I landed in Frankfurt, Germany, my birthplace as an Army-brat, the same dreary weather greeted me that had left me in Boston, MA. However, when I walked through the...

My Adventures in … Las Vegas 2010

I just got back from teaching at the 2010 Vegas Valley Book Festival in Las Vegas. The festival was very nice, and it combined events/signings aimed at adults with a ton of fun stuff for kids. I believe the festival is happening again in 2011, so if you live the Vegas...

Agent Paul S. Levine On: Copyright Basics

Copyright protects the expression of an idea, not the idea itself. For example, the idea of a play or movie where a boy meets a girl, but both sets of parents are against the boy and the girl “getting together” (think “Romeo and Juliet,” but also think “West Side Story”) is...

Agent Tina Wexler On: 6 and 1/2 Ways to Impress an Agent

1.Write a really amazing query. Which is to say: take your time, try describing your work multiple ways until you find the best approach, read successful queries online and have as many people as possible read yours so that you’re certain it makes sense and is a shiny apple. 2. Demonstrate knowledge...

Agent Miriam Kriss On: The Perfect Pitch

1. Know Thy Genre (or Sub-Genre) I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve sat down to with someone and asked them what they write, only to be faced with confusion. Knowing where your book would live in the bookstore is crucial to making sure the agent can evaluate it properly....

Agent Dan Lazar On: Query Dos and Don’ts

1. Be specific, but don’t vomit information. Saying “my novel is about a mom going through some life challenges” is vague, and remember: Vague = boring. However, be careful not to stuff your letter with so many details of your plot that it’s confusing to decipher what’s going on. Reading your...