We want every author to find the right agent for them. Whether or not we decide to work together, we encourage you to take advantage of the many resources on this site and contact many agents. Here is how we suggest authors identify the most appropriate agents to query:
– Carefully read the Acknowledgements section of recent books that overlap with your book in subject OR theme OR style OR other attributes. Agents work for the money, but we live for the acknowledgements. And we read queries even more carefully when an author says (plausibly) “I see your clients X and Y say good things about you, and I think my book will be of similar interest to you for these reasons…”
– Review the Publishers Marketplace database. Pay to subscribe for a month and search their vast archive of recent book deals, using categories and keywords that are relevant to your own book, to see which agents have successfully represented books similar to yours.
– Read Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents, which includes detailed interviews with some of the best agents in publishing, so you can better understand each agent’s individual taste, preferences, and collaboration style.
Cross-referencing the names that pop up in these various sources will give the best Tier One, Tier Two, etc. of agents for you to query. Then read each agent’s web site carefully, and contact each one individually, following exactly the guidelines each specifies.
So many authors ruin their chances by querying in an unprofessional way, or waste their time with scattershot queries to agents who wouldn’t be an appropriate fit. Do your homework, query the right agents in the way each requests, and have confidence that following the right process will help you find success.