How to find a literary agent in 10 simple steps

Getting a literary agent is really a simple process. People ask me all the time how I got literary representation. My story isn't typical, but I do know how it's usually done. The truth is that you just have to be a ballsy sort who can do what it takes, you know, because none of the stuff I'm suggesting is going to do itself. Hells nope. You ready? Let's get you fabulously clever and talented motherfuckers some literary representation!

1. Prepare yourself for rejection. Do not shower for two weeks (this includes washing your face or brushing your teeth) and eat fast food and drink a ton of booze every day of those weeks. On day 14, put on your skinny pants and walk around at the gym without a shirt. Or you could poop in your white pants on purpose while you're in church and stay through the service anyway and make eye contact with every single person who wrinkles their nose at your shit butt. Flogging yourself also works, but only if you are that kind of masochist. Yeah, you will be rejected, so get used to feeling like shit.

2. Write a book. Seriously write that bitch! I cannot believe how many people have told me that they haven’t written a word because they don’t think they have a chance of being published. Boo fucking hoo. WRITE, you sissy! I've even heard someone say they didn't want to put a lot of hard work into writing if no one will read it anyway. That blew my fucking mind. Most of what I write isn’t seen by anyone but me (but when I croak it will be, and then there will be proof of my insanity, but I'll be dead so it won't matter). Jesus H Christ writers have to write. Write!

3. Repeat your rejection preparation exercises, whatever they may be. I say this because you can never really prepare yourself for how brutal the process can be, but you should at least try. And I forgot to mention the editing on my God the editing process is painful even if you do get your book sold. GAH! Your precious words sliced and diced. Sob…

4. Research, motherfuckers! Read everything you can get your eyeballs on about publishing. Read about agents, and how to find one that will be a good match for you. Read about how to write query letters, what the shit a query letter even is. Read blogs written by successful literary agents and authors. Know your stuff, yo!

5. Once you decide which agents you will pitch, begin writing your query letter. This will probably take you six months to year and undergo 67 revisions. Give or take 106. No, I'm not fucking kidding. Your query letter will make or break your chances of getting noticed. Seriously, it is your book's best hope for standing out among the go zillion others agents receive. Do you have any idea how many queries they get a day? You want to sell that magnificent bitch of a book? Your query letter needs to be a goddamn masterpiece.

6. Have your toughest critic and the biggest asshole you know read your query letter and your book. If it passes inspection by these motherfuckers, the next thing you do is to you find somebody who you don't know that has a reputation for being a persnickety, chronically discontent ball of criticism. Yep! Find THE biggest negative Nelly/Norman and let them have at it. This will continue to help you prepare for rejection as well as feedback and criticism that is an inevitable part of the entire process from start to finish. Learn how to fucking listen and take fucking feedback, fucker.

7. Practice being patient and managing your anxiety. Go to the amusement park on a sweltering hot day and find the longest line, preferably one with the most kids in it. Once you make it to the beginning of the line don't go on the ride. Just go back and get to the end of the line again. Repeat this process no less than 10 times, six if the temperature is over 100° AND your wait time exceeds two hours. Never actually go on the ride. Do not hydrate. After you've done that, practice all your regular coping skills that you normally use to help you be patient and manage anxiety, because you will need all of them.

8. Send your epic masterpiece of a query letter to the agents that you have carefully researched.

9. Buy comfort food, booze and pants in a larger size. Celebrate what you just accomplished, because what you did was really fucking hard and amazing and even if you don’t get an agent right away, you did more than most people ever fucking do. Fear is a shitty motivator, you know? What you did was fearless. Balls Up, Dude/Dude-ette!

10. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. Wait. Check email. Listen for phone. Pace. Wring hands. Panic. Relax. Repeat.

Good Luck, you fan-fucking-fabulous soon to be best selling author. You got this. I promise, if you get a good one, he/she will be worth shitting your pants for and more.

the write life DOT com

the write life DOT com

Image and article on how a literary agent finds YOU can be found on thewritelife.com. Check it OUT. Click HERE.

Leave a comment