Interesting info about what Literary Agents look for…

Interesting info about what Literary Agents look for…

Hi fellow authors,

Are you struggling to get noticed and represented by Literary Agents and Publishers? I think a lot of us are right now. Do we push through and continue trying or do we self-publish?

I have many friends that have gone the self-publishing route, and although not easy, have started to make a living from their writing, and I wish them every success with their endeavours and hard work. I, at the moment, am still doggedly set on submitting my novels to Literary Agents. I cannot say how long I’ll stay this determined, but have decided to set a deadline. If I’m not accepted by the end of this year, then I will learn everything I can about self-publishing successfully.

So, in the meantime, I’m reading as much as I can access on how to write a covering letter, synopsis, likes and dislikes etc. of agencies. I have also attended two day seminars in London, one at Bloomsbury, and the other with one of the top literary agents in London. I highly recommend these courses, advertised by the Writers & Artists, but they are expensive. I learnt a lot and they were definitely worth every cent. Now I’ll see if what I’ve gleaned will give me the advantage when submitting my novel.

One thing that surprised me, was some of the things agents hate, things that we write that make their blood boil!

Before we get to some of those issues, did you know they are more interested in your covering letter than your synopsis? I spent hours, days, weeks agonising over my synopsis and hardly paid attention to the covering letter. I thought I knew what I was doing from acquiring as much information as I could find on the internet, but the day course ‘How to Hook an Agent’, completely threw me! I suddenly realised how little I knew…oops!

Agents hate it when you submit indiscriminately, haven’t researched what genre they represent and don’t know anything about the agency you have approached. If you have done your homework you can give the agent you have selected a valid reason why you feel they are relevant to you and your novel.

Whatever you do, don’t tell them jokingly that you are a poor starving author trying to eek out a living. They won’t sympathise. They’ll probably chuck your submission into the rejection bin! Oh, I might mention here that they are not particularly interested if you are a teacher or a professor or of some profession that might give you a sense of entitlement.

SPELLING MISTAKES – A DEFINITE NO! Your application will find a direct route to the rejection bin!

Stick to the facts about your novel. They’re not interested in your opinions, especially about how great you are and how your mother thought it was the best novel she has ever read!

Tell them the length of your novel. If you haven’t finished it, let them know. Remember less is more. Try to keep your covering letter to a single page. Don’t send your CV. They don’t care. Keep your personal details to what is necessary and relevant.

Sell your novel in a sentence or two. Included should be a short premise and plot. It is important that you know who your target readers are, what your competition is, and what genre you would slot into.

Also make sure you address your submission to the correct person. It is far better to approach an agent by name than Dear Sir or Madam.

Good luck ladies and gents! Welcome to the excruciating world of getting published!












Although I am from Africa I now reside in the U.K. with my family. I started my career as a teacher and have taught children in Primary and Secondary schools. I had a business, teaching computer skills to students of all ages. My company gave me invaluable experience in dealing with a diverse range of cultures. Our entire aim was that we taught our pupils the necessary skills and literacy but that they had fun learning!

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