@ Paul Whybrow Thanks for the info. It agrees with how I have been thinking but I thought twice because elsewhere I have read it is not the done thing to do to query loads of agents at the same time. I would like to know where you get your lists of agents as I have been combing the internet and have only 35 English agents with websites that might be interested in my novel.
I feel that if you have a decent product it then becomes a numbers game to sell it which applies to all sales operations I think.
There are various sites listing and discussing literary agents:
* Publishers Marketplace
* Activity Stream - Absolute Write Water Cooler
* The Official Manuscript Wish List & #MSWL ® Website
* Erica Verrillo is a member of the Colony, posting updates on agents seeking submissions; her website is:
Agents Seeking Clients
* https://querymanager.com/ & FREE Query Management for Agents and Publishers | QueryManager
* Agent Query: AgentQuery :: Find the Agent Who Will Find You a Publisher
* Jonathan Dalar: Literary Agency Links
* Jericho Writers (formerly Writers' Workshop) has tons of useful advice on querying. Set up by crime novelist Harry Bingham, after he had problems securing representation for his first book, he gives forthright advice and doesn't pull his punches when assessing agents.
The site has an AgentMatch service, which is free to use for one week:
AgentMatch: The only complete literary agent search tool
I recommend that you use MSWL to find the latest posts by agents seeking submissions. Literary agency websites can be static places, rarely updated, so whatever likes are on an agent's profile could have changed.
To help you assess what agents are looking for, become a cyber stalker following their social media posts, including Twitter. Some have their own blogs. There are videos of agents being interviewed at literary festivals on YouTube.
Obviously, aim your queries at agents with an interest in your genre, otherwise, you're wasting time.
It's tempting to query agents in the USA, partly because their websites are impressive and the language they use is most welcoming. Many say that they'll accept queries from abroad, but search to see how many foreign authors they represent. I've only ever queried American agents who represent British crime novelists, getting nowhere, but at least the replies were swifter and more courteous than London agents.
If your goal is to be traditionally published, then you have to accept that you'll hear "No"
hundreds of times first. People who know only a bit about the book world, always trot out the story of J.K. Rowling being turned down a dozen times—that's nothing!—most of us would love to be rejected only a dozen times before getting a contract.
Getting an agent feels like chasing bubbles with a butterfly net made of barbed wire!
One thing that querying agents is good for is a goad to drive authors towards self-publishing. I'm intending to go back to self-publishing, even though it means entering the hoopla of blogging and social media
posting to self-promote. Agents and publishers expect an author to do this anyway, so why not do it for yourself?
I'm inspired by my new writing hero, crime novelist James Oswald. He couldn't get a publishing contract, so uploaded his stories as e-books, selling 350,000 copies in six months! He's now signed with Penguin Books:
Author details | Scottish Book Trust