Your Path To Literary Agents
The world's best editorial service for first time writers.
We offer tough, realistic and constructive feedback on your writing - similar in style to the kind of feedback professional authors get from their publishers. If your work is strong enough to sell, we will help you place it with agents - and we have an outstanding record of success.
A good editing service will transform your manuscript - and transform you as a writer.
Online writing courses
We have courses for every range of ability and experience - and they're simple, friendly and intimate. And naturally, because we're the Writers' Workshop, all our tutors are accomplished professional authors (or screenwriters) with a track record of success. If you are writing with a view to getting published, then this is the place to start. View our full range of courses here
You make us blushBecause we are passionate and professional about what we do, our clients tend to love us. You can view our remarkable series of recent success stories - or read what our clients say about us.
Oh, and if you would like more support in your day-to-day writing life, then why not join the Word Cloud, our community for writers? It's free to join - and you'll meet countless passionate writers, just like you.
Getting Published Day, 2014
How to hook an agent and get a book deal!
We’ll have workshops, talks, and editorial feedback sessions to help you get your book into shape – and we’ll have agent and publishing experts on hand to answer all your industry queries.
You'll be hearing direct from:
They'll also be looking through and evaluating real cover letters, synopses and opening pages - supplied by you!
We've placed work with most of the largest agents in London - including Curtis Brown, United Agents, Shiel Land, Conville & Walsh, AM Heath, MBA, Darley Anderson, Aitken Alexander, PFD, Rogers Coleridge White - and numerous others. No one knows more than we do.
If you have a question about anything from covering letters to where to fine children's literary agents, we've got the answer. Learn more.
The five top things to know about literary agents
1. What do you call them and where do you find them?
Literary 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.
2. Is it easy getting a literary agent? And how much do they cost?
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.
3. How do I approach an agent?
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:
4. Will they hate me if I'm a nobody? I mean, I've never been published, I didn't go to Oxbridge ...
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.
5. If I send my manuscript to the Writers' Workshop, can you guys get me a literary agent?
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.