I Need a Literary Agent, Too?! Defining “Agented Submission Only”

what is a literary agent

If you are an author who is shopping around for a publisher, you may find the phrase “agented submission only.” But what does this mean? In short, it means that the publisher in question will not even look at manuscripts that are sent in directly by the author. Instead, the approach must be made by a professional literary agent. 

Since many large, well-known publishers only accept book manuscripts that are sent in by a professional literary agent, there are some important points that you should take into consideration before choosing one.

What is a Literary Agent?

Literary agents are able to submit your book to publishers that wouldn’t even look at it if you submitted it on your own. A successful literary agent has spent months, or even years, researching publishers. They should be very familiar with what specific qualifications publishers are looking for from potential newly signed authors. For more experienced agents, you’ll find that they know which publishing houses are likely to accept your book, often within a few minutes of reading it.

Once you submit an inquiry to a professional literary agent, it is important to know that you may be screened. This means that the agent may examine your book and then decide not to represent you. Many well-known agents are picky with the clients that they choose to work with. In turn, you should also be careful with the literary agent or agency that you choose to work with.

Many experts in the field of book publishing state that having a bad literary agent is actually worse than having no agent at all. This is because many well-known publishers are aware of literary agents who have poor track records. In fact, some publishers may completely overlook manuscripts that are sent in by a bad agent, and you do not want yours to be one of them. With that being said, when examining literary agents, you should take note of their specialties, success rates, and reputations.

You should spend just as much time searching for a literary agent just as you would for a publisher. If you can’t find a literary agent that is a perfect fit for you, always remember that there are other publishers out there who will read your manuscript.

If you find this to be too tedious of a process and would rather try your hand at self-publishing, I A.M. Editing, Ink is ready to support you in all the ways that you need. Feel free to schedule your free consultation today.

Adrienne Michelle Horn is the owner of I A.M. Editing, Ink. Although she has a full-time professional career in healthcare, she is also a South Florida-based editor, poet, author, entrepreneur, and mother of her beautiful daughter, Paris.

For more information about Adrienne and her company, follow I A.M. Editing, Ink on social media or visit: https://linktr.ee/iamediting