Literary Agent Resources #agentqueries #queryingforrepresentation

Hi, SEers! Mae here. Last month I shared tips on how to write a query letter for agent representation. You can find that post HERE. Today, I’d like to share several resources you may find helpful. 

Before you start submitting, you need to find an agent. There are several places you can check. 

Query Tracker is a free resource that allows you to search for agents by genre or name. From there you’ll be able to discover how they accept submissions (mail, email, form), and also their website and Twitter account. Always check the website for the most current information on submitting. Query Tracker will also allow you to track your queries and responses. It also includes a list of who represents who. Look up your favorite author by last name and you’ll find out who represents them. I spent a lot of time searching the acknowledgements in books before I discovered this handy feature.

a word cloud related to book publishing and agents

Publisher’s Marketplace offers the largest database of publishing professionals and industry insiders. It offers everything Query Tracker does and more, but requires a $25.00 per month membership fee to access all its features (Query Tracker also offers a premium membership). You can, however, view agent pages without paying a membership. I normally find the agent on Query Tracker, then look for a link to their Publisher’s Marketplace page. It should be noted whenever I query an agent, I also follow them on Twitter.

Speaking of Twitter, check the hashtag #MSWL for a manuscript wish list from various agents. 

The website Manuscript Wish List provides a plethora of information about which agents represent which genres and what manuscripts they’re looking for. 

Query Cat is similar to Query Tracker but seems to have more in-depth submission tracking. You can join for $48.00 per year.

There are a number of other resources available—Writer’s Market, the Guide to Literary Agents, the Association of Author’s Representatives, and a variety of print publications. As I mentioned above, I also check the acknowledgement sections in books by authors I love. Most will thank their agent. 

Finally, when you start submitting, be sure to track your submissions. A number of sites (like Query Tracker) allow you to do this online, but I also use an Excel spreadsheet. If you choose to use a spreadsheet, include the following columns:

Date of query.

Agent name.

Agency name.

Materials sent. Was it just a query letter, or did the agent ask you to include samples of your writing? I’ve submitted everything from a few pages to the first three chapters to the first fifty pages, depending on what the agent guidelines say.

Follow-up time. If one isn’t listed, a good rule of thumb is six to eight weeks.

Date response received.

Type of response. Did you get a standard rejection, personalized rejection, a rejection with an invitation to submit something different, etc.

In closing, if an agent agrees to represent you and you accept, you should follow through and withdraw any open queries from other agents. If you are interested in another agent, you can inform them you’ve received an offer of representation and politely ask if they are still interested in considering your manuscript. But you should make your decision within a two-week time frame. 

I hope you’ve found this information helpful. Even if you’re not presently engaged in querying, or thinking of querying, it may be beneficial down the road. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Ready, set, go!

bio box for author, Mae Clair

61 thoughts on “Literary Agent Resources #agentqueries #queryingforrepresentation

  1. Pingback: Starting Out – Judi Lynn

    • Thanks for the well wishes, Michele, and I’m glad you found the post interesting. I’m not sure how long I’ll keep up querying (I haven’t been very good about it), but it’s been an experience trying and learning these resources!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When I was querying, Query Tracker was an invaluable resource – so much to keep up with. Manuscript Wish List is also a favorite. So many agents are good about updating what they’re looking for. Thanks for the tips, Mae!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Query Tracker is such a marvelous resource! I love all of the data because, as a newer author, I’m looking for someone who doesn’t have a large pool of authors already. It’s also helpful to know how quickly their average response times are and their percentage of positive replies. I queried a short time, but I’ve pulled back and am yet rewriting AGAIN.😊 I know the odds are long, but I’m okay if it doesn’t happen. I read a statistic somewhere that only 1 in 4,000 people who make an attempt, get published. We planned well for retirement, so I’m not counting on a longshot book deal. Still, I’m stubborn enough to try. I’m rooting for you, Mae! Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pete, I’m excited you’re querying. Isn’t Query Tracker great? I just love all the resources. It was a Godsend for me.
      I’m like you with the querying process…I’ll give it a try, but if it doesn’t happen, it won’t be devastated. There was a time when it would have been the be-all/end-all for me, but I think age has made me appreciate what I do have so much more.
      Fingers crossed for you. I’m sending wishes for luck your way in return! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t looked for an agent for so long, everything I did is dated now. Thanks for sharing this. Looking for an agent is an intimidating process. I’m going to print it out to share with the writers in my writers’ group. Some of them are getting ready to submit manuscripts. This will give them a good starting place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • How wonderful, Judi. I’m glad it will be of use to the writers in your group.
      I’m going to finish out the year querying agents, then if it leads nowhere, I won’t have regrets indie pubbing or looking for a small press!

      Like

  5. Excellent information, Mae. I think by using MWL at least in the beginning a lot of time can be saved. Also, you can open your query with “I read on MWL that you are looking for a manuscript that sounds a lot like mine.” (or something like that) My advice would also be to do the research on an agent. Never send a query to one that doesn’t represent authors in your genre. Thanks, Again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad you found the post helpful, Staci. Query Tracker has been an immense help for me, both in researching agents and tracking my queries. I need to start sending more and really dive into the process!

      Like

  6. Excellent resources, Mae. I gave up on this process a while ago, but anyone who is thinking about it would benefit from doing the research and investigating your links. It’s pretty much a waste of time otherwise. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, you do have to go about querying the way the industry dictates. I don’t know ow much longer I’ll keep it up, Diana, but I feel like I haven’t given it a fair shot yet. I’ve sent out less than a dozen queries. I hear of writers sending out 40, 50 and more all at the same time. Clearly, I need to block out a few hours and make the time, LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m almost to that point, Diana. I turned 60 over the winter. I think that’s why it’s not as an all-encompassing goal as it once was. I’m actually kind of happy with the small following I have. This is a one shot and done deal. Once I query enough agents, if it leads nowhere, I’ll be happy to indie pub or look for a small press.
        Thanks for the well wishes! 💕

        Like

  7. The pandemic slowed the process to a crawl. Query widely, and then try to forget about it. Many agents (especially NY agents who are still adjusting to working from home) are 6-8 months behind. It’s brutal. They request the whole manuscript or book proposal, then sit on it forever. I sent full proposals last August-November that haven’t been read yet. And I’ve heard SO many stories about authors receiving an offer of representation 8-10 months later. By then, they’d forgotten all about their submission. Crazy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is crazy. I’m still waiting to hear on queries I sent out in November, but others have come back in the stated time frame. Query Tracker also lets you know which agents have a fast turnaround time. Are you using that, Sue, or something else to track your queries? I am so behind the eight-ball. I’ve sent less than a dozen out total, and really need to make the time to research and send more. That process alone is so time consuming!

      Liked by 1 person

      • The whole process is maddening, isn’t it? I do use Query Tracker. But honestly, I don’t even bother to check anymore. I’ve moved on to other projects. If it happens, great, but I’m done losing sleep over it. The few rejections I did receive invited me to query through their personal email next time. They rejected the true crime case because it wasn’t well-known enough, but every single rejection made it a point of saying they’d love to work with me…just not on that particular case. So nice! And a refreshing change from the rejections I received years ago for my first novel. cringe

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m kind of there and yet not—I still want to keep trying, but it isn’t an all encompassing goal like it once was. I’ve had several good rejections with the particular manuscript not being a good fit. I’m going to give it a bit longer then either indie or approach a small press. I feel like I need to do this one-time effort (and do it right), then if nothing comes of it, I’ll be able to walk away without regrets. It’s the not trying I don’t want to regret.

        I hope you’ll do something with the true crime book. You really have a passion for that, and Pretty Evil New England proved it!

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  8. Pingback: Literary Agent Resources #agentqueries #queryingforrepresentation | Legends of Windemere

  9. I’ve bookmarked this, Mae. I’ve avoided the topic of agents because I hadn’t a clue where to start or what to expect. This was wonderfully clear and honest. Many thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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