Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Advice for Agent Hunters

If you're looking for a literary agent, vague, poorly targeted submissions can waste you precious time and lead to soul-destroying rejections. You can of course trawl through the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, but these days we are all more geared up for online searches, so the AgentHunter website ( is the perfect solution.

They list every agent and agency in the UK for fiction, non-fiction and children’s writing and give quick, well-informed overviews. They also feature useful biographies of agents and specify their all-important literary preferences. For many, you get a further insight from a detailed interview.
You begin your search by specifying genre (e.g. women’s, crime, literary fiction, thriller etc.), and then further refine it, for instance by typing in key words that characterise your work, such as family drama, suspense mystery, dark psychological thriller. You can filter agents according to the size of the agency, how open they are to taking on new clients, how long they have been in the business and how active they are on the festival scene and social media.

You then get a list of suitable agents that you can save – and off you go on your round of submissions. You can later start new searches by changing some of the criteria.

The site was perfect for me, especially when I showed the submission material I had been sending to agents for my psychological thriller Unspeakable Things to my writing group. To my great surprise, the group were unanimous in the view that the novel isn’t a psychological thriller at all. We settled on the descriptions ‘dark family suspense mystery’ instead. With AgentHunter, I was able to remove the description ‘psychological thriller’ and type in the new key words. This led to a shorter but hopefully more relevant list of potentially interested agents.

AgentHunter have a variety of subscription options: £5 gets you access to the site for a month, £18 gets you 12 months and for £27 you also get a free cover letter and synopsis review (which can be expensive if you go to a literary consultancy). The platinum subscription, for £195, gives you 12 months plus a free query letter and synopsis review and a professional editor’s review of your opening 5,000 words, with detailed, constructive advice.

Anything that helps us writers to refine our work or access professional help can cost a fortune, but AgentHunter seems to be the exception, and is therefore well worth a go if you are ready to send your work out and want to go down the agent route. Good luck!

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