Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 10 years ago

What do agents look at primarily?

What do writing agents look at when deciding if they should represent your book?

Like lets say a big THREE.

originality? Creativity? Imagination? Or style? Grammar? Spelling? Punctuation? Charisma?

Thanks for the advice. (this is in relation to an agent for High fantasy novels.)

5 Answers

  • Joe J
    Lv 4
    10 years ago
    Best Answer

    Presentation - the query has to grab their interest, much like a resume; if your query is poorly written, jumbled, incoherent, or has many spelling or grammatical mistakes, forget it - you're cooked. I think Word Count ranks pretty high up there, as I've seen numerous articles where agents say they don't even look at things that are too long or too short (guidelines for high fantasy 80-120k words, sucks for me since mine is 182k). And finally, I'd say a combination of Creativity & Originality; while writing something completely original is difficult, your synopsis is going to tell the agent whether you're just re-presenting someone else's ideas with your own characters and setting.

    Source(s): Trying to get published myself.
  • 10 years ago

    I can't say what they DO look at but I have a list of their turn offs:

    1. The manuscript doesn’t catch the reader’s attention from the start.

    “I kept turning pages wondering when the author would stop telling me things and let the action actually start.”

    2. The story doesn’t stand out as fresh or unique.

    “No matter how good a story, starting with a [common urban fantasy theme] starts you at the disadvantage of being utterly derivative. In an overcrowded genre, there needs to be something really unique to the writing or world-building to make that scenario stand out, and nothing here does.”

    3. The author has included too many unimportant details and not enough important details

    “The story gets bogged down by back-story, dream sequences, repetition…”

    4. The writing just isn’t there. (Overall bad writing: grammar, syntax, confusing plots, tense shifting, poor set up, too many sub plots, too many characters, un realistic, too dramatic...)

    5. The voice of the manuscript/characters doesn’t work

    “The first person voice in this manuscript feels off—too young and casual—and not particularly likable.”

    6. The reader can’t connect to the characters, they’re not fully realized or believable

    “The characters do not inspire caring; they’re rather like cardboard cutouts doing what the plot says to do.”

    “I never warmed up to the heroine as a reader (she’s so shrill!).”

    “…the flat characterization is the real deal breaker.”

    7. The story requires too much suspension of disbelief

    “…the historical accuracy of some major plot points made me question how likely they were to happen…”

    This comes from an agent and I wish I had copied the link but it is on her blog somewhere and it isn't just her opinion. This is several answers from different agents and each one has four to six different statements that fit under each heading. So as you can see agents can be very versatile in what they are looking for and at and have a knack for doing it or else they wouldn't be in this industry.

  • 10 years ago

    They usually look for what is the "in" genre. Like when Lord of the Rings was really popular, they promoted books like that. Now, it's Twilight so books that are centered on the supernatural and vampires are really in.

    Of course, the book has to have creativity, style and the "in" topic.

    Source(s): I work for a publishing company. I know what I'm talking about.
  • 10 years ago

    It is not that simple. Here is some info on agents.

    Your story needs to be well written, have good/full characters, be interesting, original (within reason,) and have good grammar/spelling/punctuation. All of which is subjective and is a case by case basis.

    Writers Resources:

    New Writers' Forum:

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  • 3 years ago

    no. "vendor" refers to agent who works with purchasers. i are conscious of it sounds stupid purely because of fact it incredibly is. itemizing brokers represent sellers. in case you signed an settlement with him, he has to represent your superb interest.

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