Many of our Reading Teen readers are also aspiring writers. So, we're really excited to bring you a guest post by Stacey O'Neale. Stacey O'Neale is a full-time writer and webmaster of the Young Adult Fantasy Guide She’s had several articles and book reviews published, but spends most of her writing time on the revisions to her debut young adult fantasy novel. You can find her on Twitter: YAFantasyGuide and her blog: The Fantasy Freak.
How to Land a Literary Agent
You've poured your soul into a novel, revised till your brains are mushy, and now you're ready to submit your work. But, where do you go from here? The next step is landing a literary agent to represent your novel.
In the simplest terms, a literary agent is someone who submits your novel to publishers. They do everything behind the scenes that helps you toward your career goals. They are essential and very hard to come by. Having said that, please know that if you have a well written, original, creative manuscript with commercial appeal then you will find success and an agent - period. They are looking for you as much as you are looking for them.
Now you need to identify which agents are right for your novel and that depends on your genre. A website like Agent Query can help you create a list of agents that might be interested in your work. Make your list of agencies, then go to their websites to make sure that they accept unsolicited submissions. If they do, you can write down what they accept (examples: query, sample pages, chapters, etc.) and all their other submission guidelines. I suggest creating an excel spreadsheet to keep track.
99.9% of the time, literary agents want to read the query letter before they request to read anything else. A query is a one page cover letter that tells the agent about you, your experience, and your book. If you're stuck here then check out my article: How To Write Query Letters
If you're a celebrity or a successful published author then the pitch process is a lock. But, what about if you're not? Unfortunately, due to the current economy, the number of books getting published by new authors are rapidly dwindling. So what can you do to stand out in the ever growing slush pile? Create a strong writing platform. If you're clueless on platforms then this article might help: Creating a Writing Platform
This may sound exhausting, but no one ever claimed that it would be easy. The most important thing to remember is that this is your dream. Put everything you have into making it happen. Good Luck and Happy Writing!