View Full Version : I never knew there were so many agents

03-13-2007, 07:03 PM
Well, It started as a little thing I was doing, just to be prepared for when i finished my novel. You know, i'll tinker around the web, collecting what i can about the different agents, do a bit of research.

I created a word document, and started listing the agents on their own page, one agency per page, just literary agents in the UK.

There may be a few duplicates, and i'm going to go through them and remove those, but my document is now at 575 pages.

Yep 575 of them just in the UK.

Now i suspect that it will be cut by a big chunk as i remove duplicates and those that get red comments on preditors and editors, but wow, even if it ends up halved it's still a hell of a lot of them.

03-15-2007, 09:37 PM
Anybody can say they're an agent. Legit agents are considerably rarer.

03-15-2007, 09:51 PM
575 agents?

There certainly aren't 575 agencies in the Writers and Artists' Yearbook.

Are you counting each individual name? And I always thought that if I submitted a book to an agent in agency A, I would then have to try Agency B, as it was the house that turned down the book, not the individual agent?

03-15-2007, 09:55 PM
575 agents?
No. He said 575 PAGES of agents.

ETA: Oops. I didn't read that it was an agent to a page, so yeah. 575 agents.

In the UK alone.

One has to remember that they don't all accept the same genres, so I'd think there's going to be some whittlin down there.

03-15-2007, 10:58 PM
HOLY CRAP! That's a LOT...

03-16-2007, 12:10 AM
Someone above mentioned getting the Writer's HAndbook. I would also recommend The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook. These are two publications specifically for authors in the UK and I found the latter (never read the former) incredibly useful.

Cat Scratch
03-16-2007, 02:48 AM
An easier way to go about this would be to purchase an updated Writer's Market. The lists, web-addresses, and a short blurb about what they represent already exist, saving you the legwork.

Linda Adams
03-16-2007, 04:31 AM
It's also worth looking at Publisher's Marketplace. Not all the agents are listed in the Writer's Market or the other print publications.

03-16-2007, 06:32 AM
Isn't Writers Market an American publication though? The other two I mentioned are for the UK.

03-16-2007, 06:24 PM
I think it's a pretty safe bet that either Jack is listing every agent at every agency on a separate page, or else a lot of the names he's found aren't reputable. By comparison, the Association of Authors' Agents (http://www.agentsassoc.co.uk/index.php/Directory_of_Members), the UK agents' trade group, has less than 100 member agencies. Not every reputable UK agency is an AAA member, but most are.

- Victoria

03-16-2007, 10:10 PM
I'm pretty certain they're US-centric, but AgentQuery (http://www.agentquery.com/) lets you search by genre.

03-19-2007, 06:27 PM
Hey hon! You could pull a JK Rowling and take the books out of the library for free! That's what most people do. But also remember it is an investment, and 12 pounds, which is what it was 2 years ago, I bet it's gone up a bit, well that's like a few drinks in the pub. They are really useful books, but you only need one of them. Go to the library.

03-19-2007, 09:23 PM
Jack, there are some great agencies on your list. But you've got some serious pruning and double-checking to do.

Some of your listings are not for agencies at all (Manuscript ReSearch (http://website.lineone.net/%7Eselfpublishuk/), which appears to be a self-publishing service; New Authors Showcase (http://www.newauthors.org.uk/), a fee-charging display site--see my next comment).

Some of your listings are for suspect agencies (The Barrie James Literary Agency (http://www.new-writer.co.uk/), which appears to exist solely in order to promote the New Authors Showcase)

Some of your listings are for defunct agencies (Gerlinger Science Fiction Agency; Harris, Harris & Donohue).

You have a number of duplicates based on agency name changes or alternate names (Vernon Futerman Associates is now Futerman, Rose & Associates; DGA is David Godwin Associates; Elizabeth Puttick Literary Agency is the same as Puttick Agency; Peters, Fraser & Dunlop has been PFD since 1999).

You list a number of agencies that do not specialize in selling first pubishing rights for book authors (Lenz-Mulligan Rights & Co-editions, which sells translation rights only; Josef Weinberger Plays Ltd, a theatrical agency; Lou Coulson, an actor's agency; French's, by which I assume you mean Samuel French, another theatrical agency).

You list individual agents separately from the larger agencies of which they're a part (Eugenie Furniss is with William Morris).

You list unresearchable agencies (Emil Cioran Literary Agency, Angels Delight Literary Agency. If you can't research an agency enough to even find out the names of the agents involved, it's best to stay away).

You note that you've compiled your list using online sources. These are very likely to be out of date and to include questionable agents. It'd be a much better strategy to start with the AAA membership list, and expand it by reading industry publications (such as Publishing News), using a print guide like Writers' and Artists' Yearbook (not all the agencies listed in print guides are reputable, but you can at least count on the guides being regularly updated), and also identifying books like yours and trying to find out who agents them.

- Victoria

03-19-2007, 10:39 PM
Also the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook has a wealth of other very useful information. How to write a good cover letter (it's different in the UK with most agents accepting a cover letter [not query letter], one page synopsis and first three chapters from the off). There is also information on how the business of publishing works etc. I am not saying your list is a bad thing, I'm just saying why not add this book as a research tool. Besides I really really enjoyed reading through it, it got me all excited to find an agent and get published.

Alternatively if you are really against going to the library, and much prefer the internet, check out Bloomsbury's site which extracts a fair number of articles from said book: http://www.bloomsbury.com/WritersArea/Get_Published.asp

03-19-2007, 11:47 PM
An easier thing to try, instead of digging through every known agent in the world is: Go to your local bookstore, find a book you like that's similar to yours. Figure out who the agent is for that author. Submit to them.

03-20-2007, 02:43 AM
@victoria: cripes, thanks for saving me heaps of time. Like i said i hadn't done any checking out of the agencies yet, but you've certainly chopped out a lot of work for me!I wasn't intending to help you update your list; I was trying to point out that you are really going about this process backward. You need to compile not just a list of agencies, but a list of agencies that are appropriate for you. Also, what I did was a quick spot check. I didn't look at every name on your list.

A couple of other issues:

Some of the agencies on your list are large, multiple-agent agencies. Usually, you can only submit to one at a time. You need to figure out who'd be most appropriate at each of these agencies.

You have agencies on the list with incompatible interests, which means that many of them probably won't even be appropriate for you to approach. For instance, Anubis Literary Agency specializes in genre fiction. A number of other agencies aren't interested in certain kinds of genre fiction; for instance, many of them don't rep SF or fantasy. And some, such as the Andrew Lownie Agency, specialize in nonfiction.

- Victoria

03-20-2007, 05:08 PM
I started doing this halfway through collecting my agent list, and found that most of the time they were on the list already.

I meant do that instead of building a big honking list of agents. It just seems to me you're really going about this the hard way.