My most useful book at the moment is the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook . It’s packed with information that covers everything to do with writing and is a great place to start researching literary agents. There are several chapters which give a great insight into the world of the literary agent. These cover everything from why you should need one, through making a successful submission and on to how to attract their attention. There’s also a list of agents with their contact details and, in most cases, a short description of the types of books they cover which gives you a good starting point on who might be interested in looking at your manuscript.
Submissions require, at the very least, a covering letter, a synopsis and some part of your manuscript, and this can be anything from 10 to 50 pages. You need to follow up from the information in the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook by visiting each literary agents’ website to see their specific submission guidelines and make sure you adhere to them. Fortunately many accept submissions by email which does help to keep the costs down.
I found the synopsis the hardest part to write, most agents only seem to want a one page synopsis and it is quite tricky to get a novel onto one page. I did manage it but only by making it quite unpleasant to read, small font, narrow margins and not much white space so I opted for making it easier to read but it stretching to 1.5 pages instead.
So I have spent the last couple of weeks submitting to agents (and one publisher). It takes a while getting each submission package together and I’m trying to make each one as personal as possible.
I’m a realist so am managing my expectations accordingly but I can’t help hoping that someone out there might like it – however if it’s not to be there is also a great chapter on ‘Dealing with rejection’ in the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook – I told you it covers everything!
Currently reading ‘To Close to Home’ by Linwood Barclay