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How do unpublished authors find literary agents?

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Quick Answer

To find a literary agent, an unpublished writer can consult references such as AgentQuery or a current edition of "Writer's Market," attend writer's conferences or research who represents her favorite writers. As of November 2015, AgentQuery maintains a searchable database that allows writers to search by name, book title or genre. Aspiring writers who prefer to use a hard-copy source can find similar information in directories such as "Writer's Market."

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Full Answer

Many published authors include the names of their literary agents in the About or Frequently Asked Questions sections of their websites. For example, author Julie Murphy notes on her website that Molly Jaffa of the Folio Literary Agency represents her work.

An unpublished writer working in a particular genre may wish to research the agents who represent that genre. Websites such as AgentQuery and QueryTracker allow writers to search for agents by genre. The search results typically include agent names, agency details and preferred means of contact. QueryTracker also allows users to comment on agents' response times and other communication details.

Many unpublished writers connect with literary agents at writer's conferences. Agents may give presentations or set aside time to listen to a certain number of pitches from prospective clients. If a writer enjoys meeting a certain agent, he can follow up by sending a query letter after the conference.

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