Catching a Literary Agent’s Attention

Q: How does one who is really serious about getting published, but is unknown, really get your attention? I’ve been told to network with other writers, because agents only work on referral. If I don’t know any other writers, how am I to get an agent to take an interest in my work? -Laura

Several things you can do:

  • Find the books you feel are closest to yours – in writing style, platform (i.e., first novel) of (unknown) author, and write to the agent who handled the books – they’ll usually be listed in the Acknowledgments section of the book, and if they’re not, you can call the PR department of the publisher and ask them to track down the agent for you.
  • Come up with a really fresh, really interesting, really well-written idea for a book – yeah, yeah, I know, easier said than done – but a unique premise can really get someone’s attention.
  • Really focus on the writing – everybody always moans that they can’t find an agent to represent them, but many agents I know moan because they can’t find a novel that is so absolutely fabulous that they fall head-over-heels-in-love with the book. And that, in the end, is what this business is all about – falling in love with a book.

Jeff Kleinman, Literary Agent
Co-Founder of
Folio Literary Management