What Does an Agent Look for in an Author?

letter writingThe publishing industry is changing rapidly. It’s sometimes hard to keep up. What used to be acceptable a few years ago, is no longer. Publishers and agents look for several things when considering an unpublished author. Click to Tweet Let’s look at what an agent looks for in an author. #amwriting #literaryagents

Last year, Hartline Agency founder, Joyce Hart, joined our ACFW PA chapter online meeting to answer this question.


Joyce Hart

Joyce Hart

  1. The first thing Joyce mentioned was stellar writing. We’ve been talking about “publish-ready” manuscripts for editors. Agents look at the quality of the writing before they consider signing a contract to find a publisher. Joyce recommended learning the craft by taking online courses, and attending conferences. If you find a mentor for writing, all the better.
  2. Next, get into a critique group or find a critique partner. Especially in the early stages of your novel, it’s important to get feedback. These people are your support group and helpers. They can help you find your blind spots, point out weak writing, help with story problems, and brainstorming.
  3. Once you’ve drafted your novel, beta readers are important to help find what your partner or group could not. These are people who love to read in your chosen genre. They are also part of your support team.
  4. Lastly, Joyce encouraged us to be flexible, persistent, and consistent.

There are a few things I would add. I am currently represented by Hartline, and I’ve learned a lot about the publishing industry in just a few, short years. http://www.hartlineliterary.com.

How? I attend conferences. I took online writing courses, and I continue to network in several different groups. I’m also trying to pass along what I’ve learned. This blog is part of that transfer of knowledge. I’d like to be helpful to aspiring authors, as I’ve been helped.

This year, I’m going out on a limb. The last three years, I’ve only attended one major writers’ conference a year. This year, I’m doing two, plus a couple local/regional ones. Again, I’m stepping out of my comfort zone. What plans do you have this year to improve your writing? Click to Tweet #amwriting #literaryagents

What about you? What do you think? Is having necessary in today’s publishing world? Leave a comment and let me know.

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