Finding the Right Literary Agent for Your Manuscript


A literary agent is a person who will champion your story. They will make sure it gets into the hands of the right people at a publishing house. But how do you find a literary agent? While these agents are always looking for a great story, it’s important to remember they receive many manuscripts. They can’t represent everyone. Their stack of query letters and synopses is called the “slush pile.” You need to make sure yours finds its way out of it. 

How to Find a Literary Agent

The first step is to make sure your manuscript is in the best condition you can make it. Meaning, you have redrafted it, asked friends or a critique group to read it over, and finally given it to a professional editor, such as those at, to repair any grammar problems, inconsistencies, or structural issues.

Now that your manuscript has been reshaped and is in near-perfect condition, the next step is to write a killer query letter and synopsis. Maybe you’ve been working on these alongside your manuscript, or maybe you will hire a professional to help you. These are critical—and they are usually the only way you will entice an agent to request a sample of your work. Besides, most agents have assistants who read the submissions for them, and only the best queries will get seen by the agent.

Begin your research for the perfect agent. Create a list of those who have worked with books similar to yours, preferably books you admire. Learn as much as you can about each agent. Finding the right person for this role means you will have someone who will fight to get your book into the marketplace, then provide the vital link between you and the publishing house. If you send your work to a weak agent, your manuscript may never find its way to a publishing house.

Literary Requirements

Once you are satisfied with your list, check the agents’ submission guidelines very carefully. Like publishing houses, agents receive many manuscripts, and each may have specific requirements. The merit of your story is the most important thing. However, don’t let yourself down by sending in your work in the wrong format or full of typos or awkward grammar. Contact the agent by the method they request and then send them only what they have requested.

Make your query letter, synopsis, and sample pages shine like a diamond in the slush pile. You may just find the literary agent you always dreamed of!

Originally posted 1/26/2010 and happily updated 4/22/2017. Thanks for reading!

Frequently Asked Questions

First Editing is equipped to edit ANY type of document you can write! Over the past 10 years, we’ve perfected tens of thousands of manuscripts, books, ebooks, theses, dissertations, essays, letters, websites, articles, scripts, business proposals, poetry, and more! Let us transform your draft into a perfectly edited masterpiece! Click HERE for a FREE sample edit and price quote…
Projects less than 50 pages are completed in just 2-3 business days. Longer documents (manuscripts, dissertations, etc.) require 7-10 business days depending on their length. If you order multiple documents totaling 50+ pages, they can all still be completed in the standard 3 day timeframe since each document may be assigned to a different editing team simultaneously. Additionally, 1-2 day rush services are also available. See our order form for more details.
Professional editors of successfully published books, journals, articles, and more are working around the clock to ensure your editing is letter-perfect and delivered according to your deadline. Each editor has a minimum of TEN years worth of professional writing & editing experience. Show us some of YOUR writing and we’ll send YOU a FREE editing sample!
First Editing is one of the very few online editing services that GUARANTEES client satisfaction! If there is ANYTHING about our work with which you are not 100% satisfied, we will correct it at no additional charge. First Editing is also the ONLY service of its kind to GUARANTEE on-time completion. We NEVER miss a deadline…EVER!! Read more about our Editing Satisfaction Guarantee.
Our basic rates vary from just 1 U.S. cent per word to just over 3 U.S. cents per word. Most basic copy editing that does not require rush delivery costs between $0.0097 and $0.013 USD per word (approximately one cent per word). Larger orders often cost even less. Factors influencing your total price are document type, length of manuscript, turnaround time required, & level of editing required. For a free, no-obligation price quote, CLICK HERE.

Share With :

Get a free editing sample outlining areas you need to fix before publishing. Discover what works!

Add Your Heading Text Here

Add Your Heading Text Here