View Full Version : Querying agents and writing contests

09-30-2012, 02:46 AM
Hello everyone...

Just a quick question... I am still in the querying process for my novel and was wondering if it is okay to enter my work into a writing contest while searching for an agent for the same work. Does anyone know if this is allowed?

Also, does anyone know of a website where I can get a complete list of literary agents in the U.S. without having to pay? Some people say, there are over 400 agents in this country alone; but my agent list comes from the book 'Guide to Literary Agents' and there are certaintly not over 400 in there. I am already aware of agentquery, writersmarket, publishersmarketplace, and querytracker.com; but is there another site that might have a larger listing for free?


09-30-2012, 03:44 AM
Usually, if you enter a legit writing contest, it's an exclusive submission. You can't send it to agents or editors at the same time. READ THE SUBMISSION DIRECTIONS to be sure.

Agent Query and Query Tracker both allow you to search their databases for free. They're fairly comprehensive and updated regularly. They're really the best places to start. Once you've gotten your list of possibilities from there (not all agents will represent all types of books), you need to double check that list with either Preditors and Editors or here in the Bewares and Background checks area to make sure none of them are scams.

09-30-2012, 03:54 AM
You can find bigger listings at places like WritersNet--but they are likely to include a lot of amateurs and scammers. There are many more than 400 literary agents in the USA, but most of them are not worth your time.

There's no "one list"--the best thing to do is to use a variety of reliable sources (free ones--unless you're buying a print book, never pay for lists of agents or publishers). All the sources you've cited are good--though you should never assume that an agent's inclusion on a list or in a market resource is a guarantee of quality. Even with sites that carefully vet the agents they list, some bad apples may slip in.

There's no reason why you can't enter your work in contests while querying. Two caveats, though. First, ask yourself why it would be worth entering the contest. What would winning get you? Most contests don't have the prestige or the prizes to make them worth the entry fee or the bother, unless you just like entering contests.

Second, be sure that you carefully read the contest guidelines. Some may encumber your rights--for novel contests, for instance, you may be required to submit on an exclusive basis, which means that until the contest concludes, your ms. can't be sent elsewhere. With less reputable contests, you may be granting them permission to publish simply by submitting. Also, if publication is the prize, entering the contest could make your agent search redundant.

- Victoria

09-30-2012, 04:56 PM
Thanks for the info. guys. I appreciate this...

10-01-2012, 04:27 AM
Also, does anyone know of a website where I can get a complete list of literary agents in the U.S. without having to pay?

I don't think you can get a complete list of agents in the U.S. Some very good agents don't make themselves easy to find--they may have full client lists and are not interested in receiving heaps of queries that require time to read.

Helen Zimmermann
10-09-2012, 06:04 PM
I would check all of the websites you mentioned but then cross reference with the AAR (Association of Authors' Representatives) website. If someone is listed there, it means they are "legit" because they're a member.