11 “Easy” Steps to Getting a Literary Agent

11 “Easy” Steps to Getting a Literary Agent



Hey Literary Nerds, I'm Meg LaTorre-Snyder,
and today on iWriterly, we are here to talk to you about the eleven easy steps to getting
a literary agent. Storytelling is in our very essence as human
beings. Nowadays, authors—the equally poor modern
equivalent of bards—must navigate the seemingly tricky landscape of book publishing in order
to get their manuscripts traditionally published. But, fear not! Follow these 11 easy steps and you are well
on your way to finding a literary agent. Step 1. Write a book. That simple. No big deal. Just ignore your family and friends for a
few months as you try to teach yourself how to write a story longer than any essay you
ever willingly wrote in school. (All-nighters optional.) 2. Edit your manuscript. Again, steer clear of those pesky loved ones
for another few months or years as you tear apart what you once considered to be a masterpiece. 3. Workshop your manuscript. Submit that manuscript—written in blood,
sweat, and tears—to fellow writers in a group workshop setting. Smile politely and take notes as they tell
you everything they hate about your story. 4. Buy a bottle of wine and edit your manuscript
again. Based on the feedback you wrote down, edit
your manuscript again. You may wish to drink a glass or two of wine
to provide additional clarity and inspiration during this particular draft. It’s good for the spirits (pun intended). 5. Workshop your edited manuscript some more. In this step, you may find it most conducive
to the meeting to spread the wine around. You may also choose to work with the same
group as before or different writers—depending on if you parted ways the last time with or
without passive aggressive comments and/or colorful, empty death threats. 6. Buy a nicer bottle of wine and edit your manuscript
yet again. Hopefully your notes from this second workshop
were written in ink and not the blood of your newest enemies. But however you chose to pen the constructive
criticism, grab that handy dandy coffee mug, pour your liquid courage, and get cracking. 7. Second-guess everything you ever thought about
your story and capabilities as a writer. Number seven is a rite of passage for writers. Be sure not to skip this step. It’s very important that you pause to wallow. No manuscript is complete without lamenting
in your choice of vocation. (Glasses of wine optional.) 8. Research how to write a query. Now that you’ve second-guessed your characters,
plot, and story in its entirety and emerged on the other side as a slightly less sane
human being, it’s time to learn about yet another foreign form of writing: professional
cover letters. Only, in this business it’s called called
‘queries.’ But you’ve already mastered an entirely
new genre. I mean, you wrote an entire book after all. What’s a one-page document summarizing your
75,000-word book in comparison? Piece of cake. 9. Research literary agents who would be interested
in your manuscript. Now that your manuscript and query are polished
and ready to go, it’s time to find the perfect stranger to submit your stuff to. Only, they can be a little particular as to
what types of manuscripts they want and how to submit it. So, read each and every agency website of
the fifty agents you want to submit to carefully! They bite. 10. Submit, submit, and submit some more. Great job! You’ve mustered up the courage and clicked
the strangely intimidating send button on your submissions. Here’s to hoping you didn’t spell anything
wrong. 11. Buy something stronger than wine and wait
for the responses to your submissions to come in (if at all). They say most writers receive an average of
80 rejections before finding their literary agent. (Can we drink now or do we have to wait for
the form rejections to come in?) Eventually, there comes a moment where you
turn around and look back on what you’ve done and see how far you’ve come as a writer
and person. No longer are your writerly sensibilities
quite as tender as they were before. Now, not only are you open to receiving critique
on your writing but eager to receive any and all constructive criticism you can get. Because you have come to fully understand
that that’s the only way to improve. You also see that your fellow writers—former
enemies—are the best friends you could have ever hoped for. Because they know, I mean really know, what
it’s like to second-guess your skill as a writer and wonder if all the time you sacrificed
to create this manuscript was worth it. But it was. In that time, you learned more than you ever
thought possible. You learned how to craft characters that come
alive on the page, the ink pulsing through their veins. You also learned how to craft intense scenes
that even get your heart pumping—and you know how it ends! And structuring a pretty plot arc no longer
intimidates you anymore because you’ve discovered the best way for you to plot out your story
in its entirety. Looking back on all those times when everything
was new and terrifying, you can now recognize the hope laced through every moment as you
clicked away on your keyboard (or scratched away at your notepad). It was hope for the moment when you could
hold your completed, polished manuscript in your hands, knowing that you’ve gotten exactly
where you hoped you would be—where you knew you could make it with a little bit of hard
work. And a lot of bit of wine. Thanks for tuning in to this satirical and
slightly sarcastic episode of iWriterly called the eleven easy steps to getting a literary
agent, if you like what you saw, subscribe, like, comment, tell me what you want to hear
about next time. And that's it for this time. Keep writing!!!

12 thoughts on “11 “Easy” Steps to Getting a Literary Agent

  1. You are so humorous I love the way you presented this! I guess I better keep my day job in order to buy all the wine I need to get through the processes I will be encountering in the publishing world. 🙂

  2. Omg! I love how sarcastic and witty this was, and how it went from that to a serious conversation pushing us to continue to pursue our dreams!

  3. You're adorability is annoying. Please stop. And yes – I created a word. We can do that…I think. Shit. www.twpeltier.com

  4. Thank you for creating this, very helpful tips! Write, research, revisions, wine and repeat. I hope to nab you as an agent!

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