Monday, April 11, 2011

The Non-Idiot's Guide to Finding a Literary Agent

As an author, ghostwriter, and writing teacher, I’m often asked how to find a literary agent—enough times, at least, I decided I should finally write about it. There are a lot of good articles on the various aspects of getting an agent and ultimately a publisher, but not much in the way of a blunt, holistic guide, so without further ado, I present to you…

“The Non-Idiot’s Guide to Finding a Literary Agent.”

Solicited vs. Unsolicited Manuscripts

The first thing to understand as a writer hoping to get published is that you are competing with thousands of other writers with the exact same aspirations. This means agents and editors are swimming in more manuscript submissions than they can read. To make their jobs feasible, agents and editors generally split submissions into two categories: solicited and unsolicited. Solicited means a manuscript was requested by the agent or editor; these types of submissions garner much more time and consideration from the agent or editor. Furthermore, the response time from editors and agents is much quicker with solicited manuscripts; usually no longer than a month. Without any question, this is the better category to be in, but at the same time it’s the more difficult.