How to Find a Literary Agent

Want to try and make it in the traditionally publishing scene? Most publishers don't speak directly to the author themselves but rather their literary agent. In this article, I'm going to give you some ideas as to how to find a literary agent.

How to use hashtags correctly

Buy the Writers & Artists Yearbook

The Writers & Artists Yearbook is a go-to resource for media, print, marketing, editing, publishing and literary agent contacts. The books come out yearly, so make sure you're searching for the most current version. In this, you'll be able to find a mass of literary agent contacts such as websites, direct email addresses and, sometimes, even phone numbers. What I like about this publication, is that it also lists what that particular agent is looking for, meaning you can narrow the list down to only apply for ones that suit you, your genre and your work.


Want to know what you're looking for? Click here to view the 2021 version.


Search #MSWL on Twitter

MSWL stands for Manuscript Wish List and it's a hashtag editors use to find new work from authors on Twitter. They'll likely use this hashtag to post about what genre and storyline they're looking for and, if your novel matches, then you can reach out to them via Twitter or email to submit your manuscript. The good thing about this is that you can see active and new tweets coming through every day, so you can stay ahead of the game and be the first to submit to those agents.


There is also a website that aggregates the top #MSWL posts to make it easier. You can also filter to see #MSWL posts by editors, publishers, agents or others. Click here to go to this website.


Search Publishers Marketplace

Although outdated, Publishers Marketplace is still a very current and reliable source to find a literary agent. It's an online website that provides the latest publishing news, agents looking for work, job postings in the publishing industry and more. It's also where agents pitch to publishers for not only print rights but also TV and film adaptation rights.


You can even create a Publishers Marketplace account, however, there is a charge of $25 per month. Click here to go to Publishers Marketplace.


Use QueryTracker

QueryTracker is a brilliant site that I've looked into myself and have used to build an agent list. QueryTracker is free, however, you can pay for a premium version which gives you added benefits if you want to. It's an online site that lists literary agents and provides their contacts details. You're then able to save these agents in your 'Query List' which allows you track who you've submitted to, who you haven't, who is a good fit for you and so on. It's a brilliants site I'd highly suggest using.


Click here to go to Query Tracker.


Look at your favourite books

One place you can find literary agents is at the back of a book in the acknowledgement section. Most, if not all, authors should thank their literary agent in this section as they're the ones who have been able to get that book in front of the publisher's eyes and thus get the book printed traditionally, so thanks are necessary. Most books will give a full name, which you can use on a quick Google search to find their website and email.


Find a comfortable place to write

How are you going to be able to write if the chair you're sitting in makes your back bend over awkwardly and you keep having to move every 5 minutes? Chances are, it would be very difficult to do so. Find a comfortable spot to write in whether it's outside on a bench, at a coffee shop, in a special chair at your home or somewhere else.


Not only should your spot be comfortable, but it should also be clean. A clean work desk allows for clear thinking, whereas a messy work desk can make you feel just as stressed as I'm sure your 3-day old tea does.


What are the next steps?

Now that you have an idea as to where to find a literary agent, you have to prepare your query letter and manuscript for submission. Now, there's no need to panic as I've created a few articles to help! You can find these articles on the Query section of my blog. For ease, here's the link: https://www.melissahawkes.com/resourcehub/categories/querying