10 Things You Should Do Before Querying an Agent - Writer's Digest

10 Things You Should Do Before Querying an Agent

Prepare yourself and your work before trying to contact an agent with this 10-step checklist for fiction writers.
Author:
Publish date:

Before you contact an agent:

1. Finish your novel or short story collection. An agent can do nothing for you without a finished product.

2. Revise your novel. Have other writers offer criticism to ensure your manuscript is as finished as you believe possible.

3. Proofread. Don't let your hard work go to waste by turning off an agent with typos or poor grammar.

4. Publish short stories or novel excerpts in literary journals, proving to potential agents that editors see quality in your writing.

5. Research to find the agents of writers you most admire or whose work is similar to your own.

6. Construct a list of agents open to new writers and looking for your type of fiction (i.e., literary, romance, mystery).

7. Rank your list. Use the listings in this book to determine the agents most suitable for you and your work, and to eliminate inappropriate agencies.

8. Write your synopsis. Completing this step early will help you write your query letter and save you time later when agents contact you.

9. Compose your query letter. As an agent's first impression of you, this brief letter should be polished and to the point.

10. Read about the business of agents so you are knowledgeable and prepared to act on any offer.

Buy Now:
The most complete list of agents looking for writers:
Guide to Literary Agents

Image placeholder title

Also:
Save 10% off all shop orders by becoming a VIP today!

Grinnell_Literary Techniques

Using Literary Techniques in Narrative Journalism

In this article, author Dustin Grinnell examines Jon Franklin’s award-winning article Mrs. Kelly’s Monster to help writers master the use of literary techniques in narrative journalism.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 545

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a cleaning poem.

new_agent_alert_amy_collins_talcott_notch_literary_services

New Agent Alert: Amy Collins of Talcott Notch Literary Services

New literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Amy Collins of Talcott Notch Literary Services) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.

5_tips_for_writing_scary_stories_simone_st_james_horror_novels_hauntings

5 Tips for Writing Scary Stories and Horror Novels

Bestselling and award-winning author Simone St. James shares five tips for writing scary stories and horror novels that readers will love to fear.

on_vs_upon_vs_up_on_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

On vs. Upon vs. Up On (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use on vs. upon vs. up on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

WDC20NWC20

7 Very Specific Reasons Why I’m Excited for the 2020 WD Conferences

WD Editor-in-Chief Amy Jones explains why she's excited for the 2020 Writer's Digest Conferences, which are happening virtually November 5-7, 2020.

sierra_magazine_market_spotlight

Sierra Magazine: Market Spotlight

For this week's market spotlight, we look at Sierra Magazine, the bimonthly print and online environmental publication of the Sierra Club.

Patrick_10:19

Jonelle Patrick: Writing Edgier Than Bookshops and Cats

Novelist Jonelle Patrick discusses writing about a country she loves and the importance of both readers and editors.