Is There a List of the 20 'Best' Agents?

Author:
Publish date:

Q. Just bought your 2009 Guide from Amazon and am reading through it. I'd love to see a listing of 20 agents who have enough "clout" so that they would get the attention of a publisher; a publisher who'd say, "Well, if this agent thinks a book is good, I'm going to give it a serious look." Could you provide such a list?
- Meyer

A. Unfortunately, Meyer, no such magic list exists.
Let's examine this concept of a list for a second. If we were to compile a list of the 20 "biggest" agents making the "biggest" deals, that list would be of no value to you. A huge agent in DC or NYC who is selling multi-million-dollar celebrity biographies is not open for cold querying, so you can't contact them. What you should be looking for is an agent who has a track record of sales in the category/genre you write. Anybody who has a good track record obviously can get publishers' attention, so you know you're in good hands.
Also, I should say that list of sales is important, but it isn't the end-all-be-all factor here. You want to find someone who likes your writing, who is on the same page with you career-wise, and who you can get along with for years to come.

Image placeholder title

Want more on this subject?

  • There is no list of the BEST agents, but there is a list of the WORST (scammers), and it's on Writer Beware's site.
  • Confused about formatting? Check out Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript.
  • Read about What Agents Hate: Chapter 1 Pet Peeves.
  • Want the most complete database of agents and what genres they're looking for? Buy the 2011 Guide to Literary Agents today!
Taylor Anderson: On Creating Realism in the Weird

Taylor Anderson: On Creating Realism in the Weird

New York Times bestselling author Taylor Anderson discusses the process of writing his new science fiction novel, Purgatory's Shore.

6 Books Perfect for Fall Reading

6 Books Perfect for Fall Reading

Whether you're looking for something cozy or a little spooky, these books are perfect for the fall season.

NaNoWriMo: To Prep or Not to Prep?

NaNoWriMo: To Prep or Not to Prep?

When it comes to a 30 day writing challenge like NaNoWriMo, do you need to prep beforehand to achieve success? Well, that might depend on what kind of writer you are.

Sarah Echavarre Smith: On Going for the Out-There Ideas

Sarah Echavarre Smith: On Going for the Out-There Ideas

Copywriter and author Sarah Echavarre Smith discusses the process of writing her new romance novel, On Location.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 583

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 fall poem.

5 Thrilling Adventure Terms Every Writer Should Know (And Why)

5 Thrilling Adventure Terms Every Writer Should Know (And Why)

For over a decade, author Joshua Glenn has been researching adventure-related terms. Now, he's sharing what he's learned for other writers to add to their lexicon.

Moral Compass

Moral Compass

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, write about someone with an unfailing moral compass.

Daniel Levin Becker: On the Forgotten Art of Letter Writing

Daniel Levin Becker: On the Forgotten Art of Letter Writing

Author, translator, and editor Daniel Levin Becker discusses his hopes for future letter writing like those featured in the new anthology, Dear McSweeney's: Two Decades of Letters to the Editor from Writers, Readers, and the Occasional Bewildered Consumer.

e.g. vs. i.e. (Grammar Rules)

e.g. vs. i.e. (Grammar Rules)

Let's look at the differences between e.g. and i.e. with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.