Your novel is finished — where do you begin to find an agent to represent you?
YOUR FIRST STEP: is to COPYRIGHT your manuscript, to protect your hard work. Due to Covid 19, the U.S Copyright office is closed, but you can still file by mail or on line. Go to www.copyright.gov/registration –Create a username and password; get the form; fill out, pay a nominal fee, and submit. That done, you can now begin the search for your agent.
NOTICE: If you start on line, you will find publishing services eager to read your book— asking for submissions and offering packages that may be tempting—such as editing, publishing, consulting, promotion, and distribution Before you agree to these services, check reviews, compare pricing, and most importantly, be certain you keep all rights to your book.
NEXT: Determine what category your book belongs too… Is it fiction or nonfiction? Did you write for adults, young adults, middle school, or young children? Is it a Romance, a Mystery, Science Fiction, Educational or Non-fiction.? If you are unsure, go to a bookstore or your local library and check the books you find in the various categories, until you see one that is most like your novel. Keep in mind that you need an agent who represents other writers in your category. Do not ignore those agents searching for writers. Agents new and established are always looking for authors, and will represent your interests. They know which Publisher, would be a good fit for your book, and have the experience in creating interest in your manuscript.
NEXT: Write your Query letter directed to all agents who represent authors in your category. Look on line for samples of Query Letters. Choose one that best says what you are comfortable with, and use it as a foundation for your Query, putting as much care into creating and polishing your query as done in writing your novel. Remember, the Query is to interest the agent in you, as an author. Be certain to include important facts Agents look for, such as: genre, target audience, word count, title, and a shortened version of the story, as well as a little about yourself.
Today may be your time to be discovered. Good luck!
My sincere thanks to Robert Lee Brewer Senior Editor of Writers’ Digest, for his wonderful article on finding the right literary agent.