Connie’s Advice On How to Find a Literary Agent

finding an agentIt’s a question I’m asked repeatedly and one I’ve had a hard time answering: How do I find a reputable agent? I found my agent by first getting six books published and then approaching a top notch agency with my latest manuscript and my publishing history. But I got my first contract in the early 90s when it was still possible to submit a manuscript “over the transom” (unsolicited and un-agented). Today, the route I took is less and less possible because it poses a chicken-and-egg dilemma: You can’t get an agent until you’ve published and you can’t get published until you have an agent.

Here – finally! – is the answer to the question for an unpublished writer with a completed manuscript: Attend a conference that brings writers, editors, and agents together and provides the opportunity for one-on-one time between you (manuscript in hand) and an agent.

The Midwest Writers Workshop which recently took place at Ball State University in Indiana (and will happen again at the same location July 20-22, 2017) is a great example. For an extra fee (well worth it!) attendees could arrive a day early and “pitch” a manuscript to an agent from a respected literary agency that was looking for new talent: the Irene Goodman Literary Agency, Folio Literary Management, the Strothman Agency, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management, and TriadaUS Literary Agency.

Of course, you need to do your homework before attending such a conference. First, check the conference itself. Has it been happening for five years or more? What kind of feedback can you find from writers who have attended? Once you’ve settled on a good conference, polishing your work goes without saying in case an agent responds to your pitch by requesting to see a few pages or (happy day!) the full manuscript. Researching the agencies represented at the conference to see what genres each is looking for is also a must so that you can pitch your story to the proper person.

A writer can feel very small and powerless sitting alone with a finished story he or she loves and believes in. Agents and editors can seem faraway and hostile. But those agents and editors are always searching for the newest and most promising talent and attending a good conference that brings you and your work into contact with one of them is an opportunity you cannot afford to miss.


Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge, Author

Connie Nordhielm WooldridgeBiography | View

Speaker / Presenter

Connie is an experienced speaker and presenter who enjoys sharing her passion for writing and her experience as a writer with readers and writers of all ages. She has presented to students, community, civic and professional organizations, writing groups, library audiences, and seniors – wherever book lovers gather!
>> More Information About Connie Speaking and Presenting