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View Full Version : Is there a master list of agents?



FeeFee
12-14-2015, 08:33 AM
I have read through the preliminary guides. I've read how to structure a query letter, what to include, what not to include, how to format it, etc. I've read about where you should be in the writing process, what material to include, etc. etc. etc. I've also read that it's important to know how to target agents specific to your genre, look for agents who have published similar works, and to know the name and gender of the specific agent you're querying.

This seems like an obvious question, so apologies if it's plainly answered somewhere. My question is: Is there a master list of agents? Is there a list categorized by topics/genres, with contact information? Or is this too much of a shortcut, and do I have some serious homework to do?

I suppose I could state here that I'm looking for an agent at all interested in realist fiction aimed at the college and twenty-somethings crowd and centering around a character struggling with a newly developed eating disorder. I can't think of similar books off the top of my head. Based on what I've read, eating disorders seem concentrated in YA (and of course non-fiction self help books), which this isn't. Also, I suppose what I'm looking for are agents who'd actually consider unpublished newbie authors. I can maybe think of some similar books, genre-wise, I've read, but they're by big-hitter super successful authors, and I'm not sure that researching their agents would be fruitful. Is there an obvious page or link that I'm missing, or am I simply trying to take a shortcut where others have done their own research?

Roxxsmom
12-14-2015, 09:19 AM
Not exactly, and it's a constantly changing landscape. There are websites that list literary agents, I doubt any of them are exhaustive.

Querytracker (https://querytracker.net/) allows you to plug in various search criteria, and they claim they vet their agents beforehand to make sure they're legit. But they do have some listed who don't seem to have any clients listed or any record of sales on publisher's marketplace. They are nice for generating a starting list of agents who take your genre (you still have to look at the individual agent sites for submission guidelines and to determine whether or not they're really interested in the specific kind of romance or fantasy or SF or mystery or YA or whatever that you write).

There's also AgentQuery (http://www.agentquery.com/).

And there's Preditors and Editors (http://pred-ed.com/pubagent.ht), which flags agents by reputation.

You should always do your research, however, as in addition to dishonest agents, there are well-meaning ones who simply don't have the knowledge or experience to sell novels to publishers. There are also agents who say they take certain genres with which they have no discernible record of success, and agents who have a record of sales but only to small presses that don't pay advances or have other issues with their contracts. For me (I write fantasy), a big thing I look for is a record of sales to SFWA-approved markets (you have to join publisher's marketplace (http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/) to get this information). There may be similar criteria in other genres.

And of course, you can enter an agent's or agency's name in the google search function on this site, and you'll likely find a discussion thread about it with the good and the not so great being kicked around.

Maybe some other members have favorite sites too.

wendymarlowe
12-14-2015, 12:32 PM
Go to QueryTracker and get yourself a list of agents who at least loosely represent your genre.

Then follow the links to their agency websites, blogs, Twitter pages, etc. and see what each of those agents is *actually* looking for. Not all agents who rep "romance" want historical romance, for example. I got a lot of info by searching the agent's name and "interview" - many agents do interviews with various blogs/sites about what they're looking for.

The nice thing about QueryTracker is you can make notes to yourself - "This agent specifically is looking for LGBT YA!" or "Says my genre but website has nearly no information." If you find something specific in your search, that's something you can note in your query - "I noticed you did an interview recently in which you said you love fishing. My fishing-related noir thriller..."

EMaree
12-14-2015, 03:28 PM
QueryTracker's the closest it gets to a masterlist of US agents. It's stats for other countries can be a bit wobbly.

Thedrellum
12-14-2015, 06:20 PM
I agree with all the advice above, but just wanted to respond to this specific part of your post:


Also, I suppose what I'm looking for are agents who'd actually consider unpublished newbie authors.

All agents are looking for unpublished authors. And so are publishers. That's where the new talent and the new books come from and, also, every writer was once an unpublished newbie author.

Barbara R.
12-14-2015, 06:34 PM
Writers Digest Press publishes a book listing all American agents, updated annually. At least they were still publishing it a few years ago--I imagine they still are. There's also the LMP--Literary MarketPlace, another annual guide. That one covers publishers and other publishing pros as well as agents. Personally I like having a list in book form, where I can write in the margins and browse...but the online sites like Agentquery are excellent as well.

Almost any agent will take on new writers if their work is salable for that agent. Their business wouldn't last long if they didn't. There are a handful of agents who subsist on poaching established writers from other agents, but I wouldn't worry about them. Agentd who are not open to unsolicited submissions will say so on their websites. Assume that all others are open.

Finally, given the age of your protagonist, your book might be considered "New Adult" as opposed to YA.

Ravioli
12-14-2015, 06:48 PM
Neat thread. Following. Thanks all who contribute :hooray:

Filigree
12-14-2015, 06:51 PM
No way around it, you have serious homework. There is no one 'master list', because there are so many different genres, subgenres, authors, and agents.

I'd aim for those 'famous-book' agents, obviously. Yes, we've all seen the YA subgenre of eating disorder books, going back 20+ years. Some lists and examples, where you might glean some agent names and hints on how the reading public responded to those books:

http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/2140.YA_Eating_Disorder_Fiction
http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/ALAN/spring98/myers.html
http://www.readingrants.org/category/bare-bones/

I'd think there would be agent interest in NA equivalents. But you have to roll up your shirtsleeves and do the current research.

FeeFee
12-15-2015, 08:42 AM
Roxxsmom – Thank you so much! Yes, obviously even a magical “master list” would be best used as a launching pad to find agents that it makes sense to contact, not something to blindly follow.

Wendymarlowe and Emaree – Thank you, that’s where I’ll start!

Thedrellum – Thanks for the encouragement! I haven’t looked into how many successful authors keep the same agent throughout their careers, so I (maybe erroneously) assumed that they started small and worked their way up.

Barbara R. – Thank you for the information! “New Adult” sounds like the category title I was looking for.

Filigree – Thank you for the links and tips. Yes, I am starting that research process, and I also wanted to be sure that I wasn’t overlooking some wonderful resource that AW writers happen to have.

ElaineA
12-15-2015, 07:08 PM
Lit Rejections (litrejections.com (www.litrejections.com)) keeps a database, too. Not as extensive as QueryTracker. QT is very on the ball with changes such as "closed to queries" and "reopen to queries," sometimes better than the agent's own website, but their agent list isn't entirely complete. Alas, no one place has them all. Homework it is!

FeeFee
12-28-2015, 10:49 AM
Lit Rejections (litrejections.com (http://www.litrejections.com)) keeps a database, too. Not as extensive as QueryTracker. QT is very on the ball with changes such as "closed to queries" and "reopen to queries," sometimes better than the agent's own website, but their agent list isn't entirely complete. Alas, no one place has them all. Homework it is!

Thank you so much! So far I love Query Tracker, but I do bring up each agent's individual page and often find that they are no longer with the agency listed on the QT site. It's still extremely useful for locating agents' names, and I can then look at their new pages, Twitter feeds, interviews, manuscript wish lists, etc. The Lit Rejections site looks promising! I see that 25 US agents are looking for "New Adult" submissions and can now Google each one individually. I hope I'm doing this right! Thanks again.

Filigree
12-28-2015, 06:46 PM
Hey, glad to hear from you. I hope the adventure goes as smoothly as possible for you!

arielx
01-08-2016, 01:19 AM
Following! I've done so much googling, it's nice to see common resources.

lacygnette
01-08-2016, 09:26 PM
FYI, if you notice a discrepancy in QueryTracker, notify the admin. That helps everyone. I got a returned email from a query. When I found the correct email address, I notified QT and they changed theirs.

EMaree
01-11-2016, 03:36 PM
I'm seeing a new tool called AgentHunter (http://www.agenthunter.co.uk/) making headway in the UK, and after trying it out, it made me realise how lucky we are to have QueryTracker. AgentHunter is a mess -- agent listings look all blurred out (http://www.agenthunter.co.uk/literary-agent/sarah-manning.html) if you haven't registered, and after you register, they... stayed blurred out. Unless you pay them (http://www.agenthunter.co.uk/pay_choice.html).

All hail Query Tracker, for not locking out free users like this.

Filigree
01-11-2016, 04:38 PM
Wow. Thanks for the warning.

Trdriver
02-21-2016, 05:16 AM
Hi, I'm new at this also. Barbara R. came close to what I was thinking with, 'Writers Digest Press.' Writer's Digest puts out their, Guide to Literary Agents, or GLA. that's the first place I went to. Querytracker and others mentioned here sound interesting. I wished I had tried them first, they might have been cheaper.

Kingpin
09-07-2016, 03:36 AM
My favorite literary agent listing site is:

http://www.agentsleuth.com

It has the genres the agents represent, their submission guidelines and their email addresses.

EMaree
09-07-2016, 12:29 PM
My favorite literary agent listing site is:

http://www.agentsleuth.com

It has the genres the agents represent, their submission guidelines and their email addresses.

Oooh, I quite like that. Nice clean, readable layout, and it doesn't' seem to be trying to sell me anything. Nice find, Kingpin!

I'm also quite fond of ManuscriptWishlist (http://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/) which focuses on collecting the 'wish lists' (from their website or from tweets) of agents.