Famous Literary Agents – Who are they? Should you try to get one of the most successful literary agents? Or, are mid-level literary agents better? This article is part of a series of articles and other resources to help authors of all genres get Literary Agents. Click here to see our list of the Top Literary Agencies and click here to see our list of the Best Literary Agents.
Should You Query Famous Literary Agents?
As a former literary agent turned author coach, one of the questions authors ask me most when they’re researching book agents is whether they should submit query letters to famous literary agents.
They say things like:
“The most successful literary agents aren’t looking for new authors. They’re busy developing and managing the careers of their already-established clients.”
“I’m nobody. Why would a famous literary agent want to work with me?”
“Established literary agents only take on previously agented and/or published authors with a proven track record of success.”
“Famous literary agents only want authors with a big Author Platform.”
“The most successful literary agents only want books that can result in a Six Figure Book Deal (or more) and I don’t think (or I’m not sure) my book has that potential.”
The Most Successful Literary Agents – What You Need to Know
It doesn’t matter who you are or what you write, you should start at the top and query famous literary agents. That is, of course, assuming you want a famous agent. If you’re not sure, click here to read this article about Established Literary Agents and click here to read about New Literary Agents.
Now, why do I believe you should try to get a famous
(or at least, well-established) literary agent?
1. The most exciting part of the job as an agent is getting a deal. The second most exciting part of the job is discovering the next big book or author. It’s addictive. It’s a rush. That never changes, no matter how long an agent has been an agent. And, no matter how famous the agent is.
2. Most successful literary agents spend most of their time developing and managing the careers of their already-established clients; but they also look for new authors. As an agent (or publisher), you can’t just coast on the success you’ve already created. You need new successes to survive and thrive. And, agents need new clients periodically because they lose clients. Some of their authors stop writing, change agents, pass away, etc.
3. Although the book business is a business, it’s not always (or only) about the money. In other words, literary agents (especially famous literary agents) sometimes represent authors simply because they like their work. They think it’s meaningful, interesting, or fun—and they want to be part of it.
4. Who you are isn’t as important as your book. If you’re writing a serious nonfiction book about psychology, business, history, etc., your expertise and credibility will be critical. Same thing goes for your ability to get exposure and sell books. But, if you’re an author of fiction or books for younger readers, your platform won’t be under the same scrutiny. In other words, it would be great if you had a weekly radio show, a syndicated column, and a million people following you on Twitter. But it’s not an expectation. You don’t need a huge author platform or a lot (or any) published credits. You need a good book. And, if you are a nonfiction author with a small platform, there are things you can do to bolster your platform. Some of them quickly. I’ll be writing more about that in the coming weeks.
Query Famous Literary Agents First
Don’t begin the submission process by querying “lower level” agents. Start by contacting the most successful literary agents. Those with the best track record of sales, the best connections, the most clout, and the most experience.
You and your pitch and your project
might not be perfect.
You and your pitch and your project
might be good enough.
Many of the authors I’ve coached (who’ve gotten famous literary agents) would say they were nobodies (at least in the literary world) when they got their agents.
Successful literary agents such as: Mark Gottlieb, Jill Marr, Stephany Evans, Don Fehr, Felicia Eth, Bill Contardi, Jennifer Di Chiara, Jim Hart, Sarah Jane Freymann, Matthew Carnicelli, Harvey Klinger, and more…
Click here now to see their Author Success Stories.
If YOU want a famous literary agent…
Don’t feel bad, either, if you’ve already queried all (or most) of the most successful literary agents and you haven’t been offered representation.
New literary agents and small agents
can get good book deals, too.
Big or small…
Use the resources below to
help you make it happen.
Question or Comment About Famous Literary Agents or Getting a Literary Agent?
Click here to see The 50 Questions Authors Ask Most (along with answers to the questions) and/or post your question or comment. Click here to see our Guide to Literary Agents. And, click here to see some of our best tips to help you Find a Literary Agent and/or Get a Literary Agent.
Want help to make your pitch materials for literary agents as good as they can be? Click here to learn how you can get 1-on-1 feedback to improve your pitch material and/or first fifty pages during an Introductory Coaching Call.
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