Your manuscript is complete and polished to perfection. Now what? How do you find an agent? How do you know if they are legitimate? One thing for certain, if they want to charge a fee to read your manuscript, you need to skip the scoundrel! Some even call fees “contract fees”, “critique fees”, “editing fees”, and so forth. If they want fees upfront and haven’t sold your manuscript, I’m betting they are a fraud. There are plenty wiggly worms and sneaky snakes waiting to take advantage of those who won’t do enough research. So, DO IT!
Here’s a list of a few sources to get you started
- Publishers Marketplace
- Writers Market
- Manuscript Wish List
- Query Tracker
- Association of American Literary Agents (Formerly AAR)
- Association of Authors’ Agents (UK Organization)
When searching the lists, make sure you are only noting agents who are interested in your genre. If you write fiction horror for young adults, do not submit to a non-fiction agent or agents who only represent adult fiction. Don’t waste their time or yours! It’s not professional. Go to the agent’s website and read their interests. Know why they would be a good match for your story. If they don’t seem to be, skip to the next one.
Okay, so you’ve compiled a list of agents you want to submit to. I recommend only sending to a few agents at a time, five or six, and wait for feedback. But, you still want to make sure they are legitimate and/or not an amateur agent still learning the ropes. But keep in mind, just because an agency is new does not mean the agents working there are amateurs. Agents branch out and open their own companies frequently, so research what they have done in the past.
Here are a few places to check legitimacy:
Make note that not all legitimate agencies will be listed with the BBB, but it’s a good start. If you choose the forum site of Absolute Write and don’t see a thread of the agent in question, start a new thread. These are just starters and not an only route to search. Good luck with your submissions!
Writer of YA Fiction