How to Find a Real Literary Agent

How to Find a Real Literary Agent
Online you can find a plethora of articles and advice on how to search for and find lists of agents. I’m not going to cover this familiar ground, as it is well covered already.

Instead, I am going to list some of the qualities and qualifications you should be looking for once you have an literary agents list in hand. This will help you to weed out the scams.

1. If you found some of the literary agents from an ad, either online or in a writing magazine, chances are you don’t want to hire them. Surely, there can be a few exceptions like a new agency just opening up. However, the good solid, proven literary agents do not need to advertise. They have a lot of work and more comes to them everyday.

This might beg the question, how do I find them if they don’t advertise? The best way is to look in reputable directories like Writer’s Digest Literary Agents. There are a few companies that compile these directories each year. You can find them by searching on My favorite, however, is Writer’s Digest as they have a very strong reputation and following.

2. When looking at an agent’s website, look to see if the books they have represented are listed, and that the publishers are listed as well. This is like a portfolio for a professional artist or photographer. If they do not have any books listed on their site that you can find in a search online, then steer clear from them.

3. True literary agents do not charge editing fees of any kind. They also do not sell any types of services. They only do what they do best, find and represent good authors. If the agents you have put on your preliminary list charge for anything, don’t use them. Literary agents do not charge any fees until after your book is in contract with a publishing house.

4. Literary agents use the phone, email, as well as postal mail. If you find a literary agent that will only communicate via email, it is a red flag. There many different aspects to using an agent, and email simply does not fill the bill totally.

5. If the offer seems too good to be true...realize usually means it is a scam. Stay away from it.

I hope this helps you narrow down your list and hopefully points you in the right direction to find the best representation you can find for your books.

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