Query advice from literary agents

I attended a Zoom meeting with literary agents awhile back. They mentioned many good tips, and I’d like to share some of them. Here’s a run down of what they said:

What they wish writers knew

  • Takes time to hear back. They can have up to 2,000 queries at one time, so it may take a bit to get to yours.
  • Don’t concern yourself with getting an illustrator because the publisher can assign one. It’s okay if you already have one, but it doesn’t have to be a big concern.
  • Think of a nonfiction proposal like a business plan.
  • Write what’s true to you. People can tell when the writing isn’t true to themselves.
  • Don’t submit to multiple agents at an agency most of the time because they pass projects along to each other.
  • Don’t worry about trends. They come and go every handful of years, and it takes a while to publish a book anyway. Your book could be irrelevant by the time it’s actually published. So, instead:

“Write the story you want to write.”

-Regina Brooks

Young Adult vs New Adult

  • YA
    • Characters are in high school or about to be.
    • Characters are not over 19 years old.*
    • Characters must stay in that age group for the whole story.
  • NA
    • Characters are college age or right out of college.
*This may vary by agent.

When looking for an agent

Ask yourself: What do I need? Is it editing, marketing, or publicity? Try to get an agent with that background, so they can give you advice in the area you need.

Also, don’t refuse to submit to new agents because they are new. They are eager to get a book deal, and they may even spend more time on your book, making sure it’s the best it can be.

Let me know if you have any questions down below! I’ve listened to many agents talk before, so I’ll be happy to share what I know.

6 thoughts on “Query advice from literary agents

  1. These are great tips. However, we’ve heard mixed things about YA age range. We think college YA is increasingly popular since NA is typically erotica. A good example of an older YA book is Again, But Better by Christine Riccio. Her MC is 21.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True! I’ve heard some older MCs can happen. Every agent has their age ranges. Usually when I hear about YA, I hear a different age range every time.

      I hadn’t heard of NA typically being erotica before.

      Liked by 1 person

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