5 tips for finding a literary agent

So you have your manuscript ready, but how do you go about finding an agent to represent you?
Literary agent. Image is a young Caucasian person on the phone sitting at a desk and throwing pages in the air in frustration.

While it’s not essential to have a literary agent to do your bidding, having one can help ease the often confusing steps to (possible) publication. Many writers would prefer to just keep writing instead of having to break concentration to deal with random and fiddly business transactions.

Aside from being instrumental in helping to sell your work by sending it out to potential interested parties, and negotiating advances and royalties on your behalf, agents are also trained in tricky accounting areas like author contracts, so you don’t have to pore through small-print copy yourself trying to understand what the sub-clause about foreign rights actually means.

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Thuy On is the Reviews and Literary Editor of ArtsHub and an arts journalist, critic and poet who’s written for a range of publications including The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, Sydney Review of Books, The Australian, The Age/SMH and Australian Book Review. She was the books editor of The Big issue for 8 years. Her debut, a collection of poetry called Turbulence, came out in 2020 and was released by University of Western Australia Publishing (UWAP). Her second collection, Decadence, was published in July 2022, also by UWAP. Her third book, Essence, will be published in 2025. Twitter: @thuy_on Instagram: poemsbythuy