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We offer some of the most comprehensive and expert advice pages anywhere on the net. If it's about writing, literary agents or publishers, then you'll find your answers here.

The top five things to know about literary agents

Lady writerLiterary agents are also correctly known as authors agents - but you'll also find people talking about book agents, publishing agents, fiction agents, writers agents or even writing agents. The best term to use, though, is certainly just "literary agents".

In terms of where to find them, you can get a basic list of (nearly all) agencies at the Association of Authors Agents. For much the same sort of thing in printed form, try the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook. And if you want a comprehensive and searchable list of not just agencies but individual agents (complete with photos, biographies, genre preferences etc) you can get one at Agent Hunter, our sister site.

Hmm. It's good news, bad news time. The good part is that agents charge nothing upfront: they simply take a slice of any money they make on your behalf (typically 15-20%). The bad news is that because agents only make money on saleable work, they are intensively selective about what they do take on. As a rough guide, agents only take 1 in every 1000 manuscripts that come their way.
The normal practice is to send, by post or email, depending on the agent: (i) the first three chapters or approx 10,000 words of your manuscript, (ii) a synopsis of the whole thing, and (iii) a covering letter which is a very short introduction to you and your book. If you want to physically meet an agent, then an excellent place to do so is at our Festival of Writing or Getting Published day. (More info here.) Or watch our video:

 

WOWFOWCUT3 from video jon on Vimeo.

JK Rowling was a nobody. So was EL James. So are nearly all new authors when they write their first manuscript. It obviously doesn't hurt your authorial career if you're the first supermodel to win a Nobel Prize and have your own TV show ... but those things are mostly irrelevant. The only thing that really, truly matters is that you have a wonderful manuscript. And that's where we come in: our feedback services are designed to help your manuscript be the very best it can possibly be. And all our editors have sold work to major publishers themselves, so they know what it takes to succeed.
Yes, of course ... if your work is strong enough. While it's true that we have superb connections to agents - we host the largest festival of writers & agents in the country - connections alone are never enough to place a book, let alone persuade publishers to acquire it. All that really, really matters is a relentless emphasis on excellence. If and when you achieve that, we'll be proud to help you secure representation (and we never charge a penny for that service: we're thrilled to do it.) And needless to say, you'll be joining a long line of successful WW clients.