Literary Agent Advice?

Does anyone know how to find a literary agent? I was approached by a publisher but they want me to pay for publishing. My partner also looked them up online and they are a vanity publisher, and their reviews are horrendous. Disappointed is not the word. I really feel like a literary agent would make this whole confusing process a lot easier as I don’t know where to start. Any advice would help.

You should NOT have to pay for anything but marketing. Agents / publishers may take a percentage of your sales / pay for the royalties, but they shouldn’t charge you upfront.

I’ve been browsing agents on query tracker and a few other websites, but I haven’t really jumped head first into the research / querying process yet. I’ve mostly just worked on my query letter / pitch and scrolled through query shark. I’m looking forward to the responses on this thread! :slight_smile:

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@gtgrandom gave good advice.

  1. Polish your novel.
  2. Curate a list of agents on
  3. Study the QueryShark blog: Start in April 2008 and read all the way to today. It’s a MASTERCLASS in query writing.
  4. Create a query and a synopsis – workshop the HELL out of them.
  5. Query in batches of 5-10. If you’re not getting a 10+% request rate for partials or fulls, STOP QUERYING and fix the problem.

In addition to the superlative advice above, a good first port of call for finding suitable agents is to work out your comp titles, then find out who represents those authors (Querytracker has a useful tool for this called “who reps whom”, but you’ll often find them in the author’s thankyous inside the book itself). There’s also a twitter hashtag called #MSWL (and an associated website that filters out the garbage and provides agent profiles and links), which will show you specific things agents are looking for, but be warned there’s a lot of nonsense on it.

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