Getting yourself a literary agent can be as frustrating as getting your book published. There are approximately 30 literary agents in Canada, most of which only accept a few clients a year. Referrals by people who work in the publishing industry or are on that particular agent’s client list increase chances of keeping your query out of the slush pile.
Many agents only accept query letters and not unsolicited manuscripts. Be sure to review all submission guidelines on the agent’s website before submitting your manuscript. Take note of any submission requirements and areas of interest or specialization.Some agents may allow a partial submission along with your query.
Polish and perfect your query letter and submission with as much care as you have invested in your manuscript, as this is the first impression they have of you as a writer and a professional.
After receiving your query, the agent may ask for a full submission to determine whether he or she is interested in representing you and your work. If an agent is interested in taking you on as a client, he or she will contact you with a letter of agreement or contract outlining the terms of your arrangement.
Most agents receive hundreds into the thousands of queries each week and therefore turnaround time for a response from agents can be anywhere from 3 to 6 months or more. Be patient. It is appropriate to contact the agency via email if 3 months have passed without contact. Always treat the agent with respect — they are the professionals and know the market and the industry better than you do.
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