How To Find A Literary Agent For Your Novel or Screenplay

How To Find A Literary Agent For Your Novel or Screenplay

hi riders welcome back to story counters this is Stephanie I am an author blogger screenwriter TV writer and writing coach and I am here today to talk to you about agents but first I'm gonna ask you to hit that subscribe button and ring a bell so you get notifications every Wednesday when I post new videos let's get right to it okay you are looking for an agent you want to be traditionally published you want your screenplay on the big screen you want to be a TV writer you need an agent the first thing that you need to do is really really really understand the genre that you are working in for example if you are writing young adult or middle grade novels they usually go hand in hand with agents who accept them you want to make sure that the agents that you are sending your query letters to accept young adult middle grade novels I can't tell you how many agent friends that I have that only do nonfiction or they do adult books or they only do TV and film and they're getting query letter after query letter for their new young adult novel now that just is never gonna work and alternatively if you're writing screenplays you don't want to send it to somebody who doesn't represent screenwriters it's really really important I know this sounds elementary but you would not believe the millions of submissions I quote every year to agents that don't accept that genre so first thing make sure that the agent you are submitting to takes that genre and that medium the medium being that you are writing novels and you're sending to somebody who represents novelist or you're writing screenplay or TV writer and that somebody who does that I'm gonna ask you something really fast post in the comments below what are some problems that you feel happen when you are submitting to agents or maybe problems that you're having when you're searching for agents put in the comments below and let's start a conversation okay the next thing that you're going to need to do is obviously hone your craft your book screenplay a TV show spec TV show which I'll talk about that in another video why it's important to have specs of existing shows for TV writers this isn't the same for screenwriting and or not but for television it's really really important that you have specs of existing shows I'll talk about that later but whatever it is you need to make sure that that is as good as you can get it now it's never going to be perfect unfortunately when you are either between agents or the first time you're looking for an agent or anything that agent is gonna hold you to a higher level because they don't know you and what they need to know is that they can sell you so it has to be perfect it needs to not have typos or basic grammar mistakes and it needs the story structure needs to be there and it needs to be within the constraints of whatever you're writing for example if you are writing a 30 minute sitcom that is going to go on network television but you send me let's say I'm an agent in this scenario you send me a 75-page react story structure TV show I know that you haven't done your research because I know for a sitcom it either has to be single camera or multi camera and that's if you didn't know this they are written very differently and then also network television is different than cable the breaks are different because of commercials this is a real thing television writing I could talk about this forever because it's very very very structured and you have to follow they've written a middle-grade novel and you submit to an agent and you say my middle grade novel the dragon who knew too much and Sally who helps her is a fantasy novel the hundred and thirty thousand words that's not gonna go because even though it's a fantasy one hundred and thirty thousand words is just too high for middle grade for brand-new author yes JK Rowling got away with it and yes recuerden gets away with it and very few writers the ones that are really huge and get away with it but you are unknown they know that your book is gonna sell so make sure that you know the word count that you need to have your novel in and make sure your novel is there that is all part of honing your crafting that you need to know is how to research agents there are so many ways to find agents for book writing and I can tell you this that the Society of children's book writers and illustrators if you're writing children's books has this thing on their website called the book if you remember you get access to it writer's digest puts the literary guide to agents out there and there is also social media which is huge I encourage you to get on Twitter Twitter most every agent that I know or I am friends with us on Twitter there are some that just don't do it and it doesn't mean that they're not good agents but I'm telling you if you are brand new and you are searching for an agent you have no idea where to start twitter is a great place to start manuscript wish list is a great place to start I will put a as much as I can possibly find in the description below so you can just scroll down and see it but there are lots of ways to find agents now if you are a screenwriter or a TV writer depending on where you live I know in Los Angeles there are tons of events that you can go to the script writers network has events jennifer grew shantae who is a development executive and story consultant for writers puts on a thing once a month on friday nights where you can meet and mingle with other writers sometimes talking to other writers especially for TV writing and screenwriting really helps now if you don't live in Los Angeles you are at a disadvantage if you want to work in the film industry that is a fact I am NOT discouraging you but I'm again I'm gonna do a video about that kind of stuff later because it's so separate from the specific thing but you can still find stuff you need to get every trade book that you can you need to look at trade blogs the same thing Twitter will help you join screenwriting groups on Facebook if you are in the Writers Guild of America East or West get on there there are so many resources that's how you find an agent another way to find an agent is to ask your friends if you have a writer friend who is and you think that your book will fit with hers or his ask them who their agent is it's kind of old-school but it also works but it takes time to build those relationships you can't just start emailing everybody you know it's like I have this great book or the screenplay please tell me the name of your agent unfortunately the one thing about finding the great agent is it takes time it takes a lot of time it takes research and it takes dedication from you and I'm sorry I'm not trying to be discouraging but these are just the facts so let's recap the ways that I think are best to finding agents are I'm sorry if this isn't in the perfect order that it was but one is do your research make sure that you find the best agent and follow their submission guidelines when you're writing your query letter two is to make sure that that agent is accepting in the genre that you write three is to hone your craft and make sure your screenplay novel or teleplay play short story non-fiction book picture book is the best that you can possibly get it and four talk to your friends talk to other writers you know talk to people in social media to get leads on agents you can also look in the back of books which I know is also very old school but that's another thing and then lastly is find them through places like manuscript wish lists query tracker and other resources like that like the SE BWI and the romance writers and script writers Network there's so many resources and they're all there for you I know it's overwhelming I hope that you like this video and I hope that it was helpful for you again go to the links below and happy writing and good luck on that agent search I know you can do it people always say it's hard but it just takes time dedication and great writing you got this see you next week bye

8 thoughts on “How To Find A Literary Agent For Your Novel or Screenplay

  1. If you have an agent how did you find him/her? If you don't, what are your biggest struggles or concerns around finding the right one?

  2. I saw a comment about what happens if you get requests from more than one agent and now it's gone-I'm not sure if it's a technical glitch or what, but I wanted to answer. Here is my advice. I would send your full to all of them and then if you get offers from all–YAY–that's a great place to be-talk to each of them. Ask questions, interview them as well as they will of you. Find out as much as you can about how they work and what they expect from you, how they communicate, their submission style–anything you can think of. You are in a great place when this happens, so just be thoughtful and polite with all of them. It's also fine to turn an agent down. And yes it's okay to submit to more than one at a time. 🙂 Best of luck!!!

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