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Path To Publishing's Guide to Helping You Find the Right Agent and/or Publisher for Your Book

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

When it comes time to traditionally publish a book, you don't always need an agent to pitch your book to the publisher on your behalf. There are several publishers who do not require an author to have agent representation to query them. With our Agent and Publisher Pitch List Service, Path To Publishing gathers the best publishers for you—publishers who do not require authors to have agent representation—to pitch your book to. These types of publishers are usually small independent publishers.

If you're looking to publish with one of the larger traditional publishers, or the ones who do require their authors have agent representation, then it's time to begin the hunt for an agent. However, not just any agent will do. It's important to choose the right agent: one that is eager to represent the type of book that you're writing and won't sell you on a bad contract just to make a buck.

Offering Curated Lists of Agents

That's why many authors turn to Path To Publishing for assistance in finding an agent. We're here to help you sort through the thousands of potential agents out there and find just the right agent for your book—one we are confident will be committed to helping you achieve your dreams of literary and financial literary success. We provide you with a curated list of literary agencies that we believe will be a good fit, along with potential agents that are likely to be interested in representing your book.

Our Goal is Excellence

We have one goal when we work with you on this project: to deliver with excellence. We want to make sure you have every possible chance for success. While we can't guarantee the agent will see in your manuscript the great possibilities it has, we will do everything in our power to help you position your work to shine in its best light and be the most appealing to the agent you select from the list we provide.

Our process begins with an author interview. Our goal during this interview is to collect all the information we need to determine what kind of agency to seek out and what agents will best match the content of your book.

We'll ask simple questions about the author, including your name, pen name, bio, and location. From there, we'll begin asking questions about your book and series title, genre and sub-genres, synopsis, summary, and any comparative titles. If you have an outline, we'll ask you to provide that to us along with the main points or theme of the book. Finally, we'll ask about your potential marketing pitch about both the book and the author, as well as any marketing plans or ideas, and potential reader takeaways.

A Brief Explanation of the Reasons Behind the Information We Request

Agents don't get paid unless they can sell your manuscript to a publisher. That means they need to be confident—before they take you on—that they can sell what you've got.

Publishers, for their part, are looking for authors who know the business of writing and publishing and are prepared to be a partner in helping them market, promote, and sell the book. Which is why even authors who are traditionally published or plan on publishing traditionally attend Path To Publishing's annual "Act Like an Author, Think Like a Business" conference and/or purchase the curriculum from the conference online store at Most of the books a publisher takes on never make them back the money they spent on advances and royalties, so they need evidence that suggests you're going to be different.

For an agent to be able to sell your book to a publisher, they have to first be able to sell you. They have to sell your ability to present yourself and to participate in an extensive (often year-long or longer) marketing campaign that leads up to the book launch and keeps going afterward.

That's why the questions include marketing pitches for your book—and its potential value in the marketplace—as well as for you. You need to be clear about why YOU are the right author for this book and nobody else. What makes you a credible authority in the area of your writing? That's especially important to know when you're presenting non-fiction—although, as we teach each year at the conference, even fiction authors can identify an area of expertise and authority in their work. We've helped hundreds of fiction authors do just that!

Knowing your genre and sub-genres help us sift through the literary agencies to be sure we're sending you to agencies that deal with those categories. Comparative titles in the industry allow us to see which agents represented those books so we get a better idea of which agencies might be willing to represent your title.

The synopsis, summary, outline, and main points or theme are tools we use to further narrow down the scope until we can find an agency that might not just be willing to represent your book, but will be excited to do so. We can also get a better feel for whether or not what you've got is likely to meet with success, and so we can guide you in areas you'll need to improve if you want to catch the attention of the agent of your dreams.

You Have Your Agency List; Time to Choose Your Agent.

Once you've received your agency list, the first step is to browse through the listed agents and select your top choice. We usually include recommendations on which agent to select from each agency on the list, but it's important that you as the author read through their bios to be sure it's a match for more than just the type of books they represent.

Don't just choose an agent to have an agent. You're going to be working with this agent for years and decades to come. You want to choose someone you like and can trust, who shares your values so that you'll feel good about working with them.

Once you know the agent's name and preferences, do some homework. Follow them on LinkedIn, Twitter, or wherever they have a social media and web presence. Find out their likes, their dislikes, and something about them (personal and professional). You'll want to include that information in your query letter.

One thing we know here at Path To Publishing, having interviewed and worked with many agents, is that they love it when an author can explain why they chose a particular agent to work with and have learned a little something about their personal preferences. If you can find a connection between the two of you, such as a shared love of dogs or of music, find a way to mention it if you can relate that back to the book.

You've Selected an Agent. It's Time to Query.

Now that you know which agent you want to reach out to, it's time to review the agency's submission guidelines. Read through these closely and follow the exact steps outlined.

Many agencies want a query letter submitted, along with a few sample chapters. Some want just a query letter. Some have a different process altogether. Submitting your manuscript without following those guidelines is a fast way to get turned down.

If you aren't confident you know how to write a winning query letter, reach back out to Path To Publishing and we'll connect you with one of our Literary Companions who can get the job done. We only allow Companions with proven track records of having landed traditional publishing contracts or who have worked at literary agencies or as a literary agent to handle these query letter writing assignments, so you can be assured they know what the industry expects and how best to position you and your book for success.

If you don't have a marketing plan for your book, something you will need to write a successful query, or you aren't confident you can pitch the book, we also have Companions who can help guide you through the marketing and pitching of the book. Just let us know what you need, and we'll be happy to assist you.

Our Guarantee: If We Get it Wrong, We'll Replace it for Free.

If you provide us with all the accurate information needed to make recommendations but we make a recommendation that doesn't fit your book's genre or content, we'll be happy to replace it with something that does. We will never leave you hanging!

Email to request a quote for our Agent and/or Publisher Pitch List Service, where we'll research the best agents and publishers to pitch your literary project to.


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