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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > February 2017 > AGENTS UNMASKED


Fully understand agents’ needs to increase your chances of being accepted, says writer and publishing insider Megan Palmer


‘Before you submit to publishers and agents, do your research.’ Writers are frequently given this (excellent) advice. But what does it actually mean?

Many new writers are unfamiliar with the publishing world and run the risk of wasting their time (and, if posting submissions, money) sending their work to the wrong people. From my experience as both a writer and someone who works for literary agents, I believe many writers would benefit from a little guidance on what exactly they should be researching, and how.

Inappropriate submissions

At our agency, I’ve seen submissions with real potential that are simply inappropriate for our agents’ interests and specialisms. Yes, we have an agent who represents children’s authors, but we don’t deal with picture books. Yes, we represent adult fiction, but not certain genres that require particular knowledge of a specialist market, like science fiction and fantasy. We’re not alone: every agency I’ve spoken to has examples of inappropriate material arriving in the submissions inbox. This could have been avoided if the author had researched the agency more carefully.

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