Getting An Agent
Getting An Agent
Derek Johns (Managing Director - AP Watt Literary Agency) gives expert video advice on: How can i make sure an agent has really read my work?; Who will read my work?; How can I sell an unusual or complicated story to an agent in only three chapters? and more...
Who will read my work?
It's very important when you're sending manuscripts to literacy agents to address them personally to an agent and if you look in the Writers and Artists Yearbook you'll see the names of the individual agents within most agencies. What will happen, probably, is an assistant will read the manuscript first then either right a report or give a verbal account of it to the agent if the assistant thinks it is worth looking at. The assistants are very practiced at reading, one shouldn't dismiss their judgments, they are good readers.
Who do I need to cover in my synopsis?
In a synopsis the writer needs to describe the plot and the main characters, but also to give a sense of what he has set out to do; what his intentions are.
How long should a synopsis be?
I don't think a synopsis should be more than three pages long. I think it should be brief and concise, and it should operate with the early chapters of the book. An agent is looking to see where a book is going, but also to see what happens on the page in the first few chapters.
Do I really need an agent?
Writers need agents more and more these days. With the complexity of rights and of media, the expertise of agents is all the more important to writers.
Will doing a writing course increase my chances of getting an agent?
Literary agents are more likely to look at work from people who've gone through creative writing courses than people who haven't. In going to a creative writing course, you re making a statement of intent, really. And also, of course, you're learning a great deal, and it's likely that you'll come out of it a better writer than you went into it.
How long will take an agent to read my work?
I think you should allow six to eight weeks before you actually expect to hear. And after six to eight weeks it's perfectly OK either to write or to call and to ask whether the agent has read your manuscript.
Why do I have to wait so long for feedback from an agent?
What happens in those six to eight weeks is that unfortunately for three to four weeks the manuscript will sit on a pile, because there is already a pile of manuscripts. The process of reading will take the assistant a few days and take the agent a few days, but unfortunately there's always a backup.
I can't get an agent what does this mean?
If a writer has tried a number of agents and has not had a positive response, then that writer is bound to consider how good they are and whether they should continue. It's a very hard thing to say to yourself that maybe you're not good enough but, realistically, and given the odds, sometimes it's for the best.
How many new writers do you take on each month?
This agency probably receives about two hundred manuscripts a month. And we have six agents, so that's thirty to forty manuscripts per agent. Of those I imagine that twenty get past the assistance, and are then considered seriously by the agents, and we might take on one a month, possibly.