Are you a writer looking to step up to the next level of your career? You may have considered hiring a literary agent, but do you actually need one? What do literary agents even do? On top of that, how do I even get one? Walt Chantry is an avid historian and author. Today he gives his advice on how to find a literary agent.

Why Do I Need A Literary Agent?

Literary agents are useful for a lot of reasons:

  • You probably won’t have access to large publishers without an agent.
  • They will guide you through the publishing process.
  • A good agent will have many contacts in the publishing industry, and they can help you find the right editor for your book.
  • They negotiate contracts for you and are incentivized to negotiate for more money. After all, they get about a 15%-20% commission.

You don’t need an agent if you are going the self-published or indie publisher route. However, if you want to see your novel in bookstores, getting a publisher is essential. You will have to weigh the benefits for yourself and your career.

How Do I Find A Literary Agent?

Now that you’ve decided to hire an agent, how do you actually go about finding one? Here are a few tips:

  • Do a lot of research. Not every agent will be the right fit for you. You want to make sure you are going to enjoy working with your agent, so choose wisely and ask a lot of questions. You can check literary agent databases to do research on different agencies. 
  • Once you find the contact information of an agent you would like to work with, send a one-page letter explaining who you are and what your book is about.
  • Check the submission guidelines for your agency of choice.
  • Make a list of at least ten different agencies you would like to submit to. Agents get a lot of submissions, so you may get rejected a few times.