It's the final installment of What An Agent Wants!
We have asked our esteemed agent panel a question a week over the past ten weeks and published the answers right here on Novelicious. Finally, we ask the agents...
What are your top 5 tips for getting an agent?
Madeleine Milburn of the Madeleine Milburn Literary, TV & Film Agency
Look for an agent who represents similar books to the book you are writing. Write a very powerful covering letter that is interesting and un-putdown-able - let it reflect your writing style. Persevere. A lot of it is to do with timing as are most things in life.
Laura Longrigg of MBA Literary Agents
Perseverance/ belief in your work
Eradicate all mistakes grammatical and spelling in your manuscript/synopsis/letter
Send out to several at the same time
Research who you send to, and make sure you have an actual name as well as agency
Hannah Ferguson of The Marsh Agency
· Write something amazing (obviously).
· Be friendly – agents are just people after all!
· Don’t wish for everything at once – be realistic and prepared to work hard on your craft before anything will come of it.
· Be creative in your approach – be eye-catching and dynamic. New ideas are always noticed.
· Be persistent but patient – the wait can sometimes be agonising, but it’s important to never give up if this is something you truly want to do.
Lisa Eveleigh of the Richford Becklow Literary Agency
If you are submitting to more than one agent at a time that’s fine, but please say so
Write the very best submission letter that you can, then print it and read it again after a good night’s sleep to see if it can be improved
Write the very best novel you can and then put it aside for a week – or even two - before reading it out loud to yourself – you will almost certainly hear any faults in your dialogue, and revise things, and they will always be good changes
Sarah Lutyens of Lutyens & Rubinstein Literary Agency
1. Write a really good book
2. Write a really good book
3. Write a really good book
4. Write a really good book
5. Write a really good book
Diane Banks of Diane Banks Associates
Follow each agency's submission guidelines to the letter. If you slip up here, it's unlikely that your submission will be looked at.
Don't send a mass email to the info address of every agent in the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook, not even bothering to bcc. We like to see that you've made some effort to approach our agency directly.
Present a compelling, concise, commercial pitch in your covering email or letter and please don't try to be funny.
Don't send LinkedIn invitations to our info / submissions addresses. This is not a cunning way to get fast tracked.
Write a truly fantastic novel. At the end of the day, this is non-negotiable.
Sheila Crowley of Curtis Brown
Research well and approach agents who you believe will ‘get’ your work. Most agents have their details online and their areas of interest.
Make sure you have polished the story and edited it to a high standard.
If you are a debut novelist you must be ambitious to get it right. Some of the best writers in the world have early scripts hidden away in drawers as they knew they were not good enough. In this competitive market we are trading in, one has to make the best go first time out.
You need to demonstrate that you are aware of the commercial world of publishing and make your approach connect with the Agent.
Concentrate on what makes you different and what will make your pitch stand out to the Agent and in turn the Publisher.
And there we have it!
Thank you so much to all the agents involved in What An Agent Wants!
We hope you guys have enjoyed reading this series and have found it helpful. Do let us know - the more feedback we get the better idea we have of what kind of features you'd like us to run on here.