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How to Obtain a Book Agent


A writer who wants to submit his book to a publisher, should obtain a book agent. Most publishing houses do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. An unsolicited manuscript is a manuscript submitted for review to a publisher without the publisher requesting it. A book agent can submit your work to virtually any publishing house. In addition, a book agent will negotiate for you financially when it comes to sales and book deals, taking a percentage for himself.

Complete your manuscript. After you are satisfied with the draft, contact a freelance book or story editor for proofreading purposes. The editor will return the work to you with grammatical corrections and suggestions for omission. Upon receipt of the manuscript from the editor, you will have a more polished literary work in your possession.

Find a listing of book agents. You can find contact information for literary agents online as well as in a bookstore. Many listings will include a description of the genre that the agent or agency specializes in. Designate the agents you wish to submit your book to.

Prepare a query letter. You will mail or email the query letter to the agency. The letter should be brief and consist of a description of your book and inform the agent of your desire for representation. You may include a synopsis along with the letter, which should consist of a longer summary of the entire book. You can even include the first chapter as a sample. Most listings will include information on exactly what an agent wants you to send her with a query letter.

Wait for a response. The agent will inform you as to whether or not you have the go-ahead to send them your manuscript. If he asks you to send him your manuscript, follow his instructions regarding format. He may want you to send it to him via hard copy or electronically. There will be guidelines for both.

Send your manuscript and wait for her to contact you regarding your book. The average wait time for a first time submission to a book agent is six months. She will inform you of her desire to proceed with the relationship in a professional capacity or decline to represent you. Due to a high volume of submissions, some agents will not respond at all.

About the Author

A novelist and essayist, Daniel Fox has been writing since 1996. His work has appeared in various international periodicals. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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