Authors who are interested in submitting to a traditional publisher often ask about the best route. I recommend that authors query agents first. Whenever you approach a publisher yourself, you are closing the door for an agent to submit on your behalf with that publisher. So spend some time looking for an agent before you submit to publishers.
The question then becomes, how many agents should I query before shifting to publishers? Generally I recommend no less than 50. It is actually more difficult to get an agent than a publisher these days. Because they can do so much for an author, though, it is worth the effort.
Authors who have been picked up by traditional houses often recommend 80 queries! This is because an agent’s opinion can be as subjective as that of an acquisitions editor. So don’t give up after a dozen or so. If finding that number of agents sounds too tiresome, consider an agent list tailored to your needs. Writer’s Resource offers lists generated anew for each person (and even each book) that average 60 to 80 agent names. Some lists produce over 100 names for authors working in popular categories. Visit the website and look at the Agent tab for more info.
Some top agents will be at the Houston Writer’s Guild Conference April 12 in Houston, TX. Eddie Schneider of Jabberwocky Literary, Pooja Menon of Kimberley Cameron & Associates, and Jennifer Udden of Donald Maass Literary will be on hand to hear author’s pitches.
If you need help with your spoken pitch, a query letter, or other pitch items, connect with me today!
Nadeen Gayle of Serendipity Lit is seeking romance, memoir, pop culture, inspirational/religious, women’s fiction, parenting, young adult, mystery and political thrillers, and all types of nonfiction.
Lara Zats of Red Sofa Literary wants young adult and middle grade works, especially contemporary fiction; romance, new adult, contemporary women’s fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, and erotica.
John Weber of Serendipity Lit is looking for middle grade and YA fiction with universal themes and unique settings. Interested in realistic historical fiction, well-researched science fiction with no fantasy elements.
Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Lit Agency is looking for middle grade works in contemporary, fantasy, action/adventure, or historical. In YA, she’s open to any genre but is looking especially for YA with a strong romantic element. In New Adult, she seeks romance and adult romance but is open to any genre.
Katie Reed of Andrea Hurst & Assoc wants areas of YA fiction. Especially interested in commercial works with a compelling hook and a protagonist who battles real life issues, soft sci-fi, and fantasy.
Also accepts commercial and literary adult fiction for book club women’s, soft sci-fi, fantasy, suspense/thriller, and contemporary romance.
Nonfiction needs: memoir/biography, self-help, crafts/how-to, inspirational, and parenting.