Querying Literary Agents

Querying literary agents is a time consuming and daunting chore. If you want to get your book published via the traditional route , you need to go through a literary agent as very few publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts.
    There exists such a thing as 'Manuscript Wish List' where you can view what literary agents are looking for. There is also 'query tracker' which can help you find and keep a list of the agents that you've queried. Twitter is also a good resource- use #mswl and search away- you can also add other tags like #dystopian or #YA.
    Now is the time to follow literary agents and publishers- even if you don't query them. They will often post about making pitches or share their personal experiences. This information will be helpful to you in so many ways because, as good as your novel may be, you need to make the perfect pitch to catch a literary agent's eye. Secondly, you may find new literary agents and publishing houses on twitter and they may not have been overwhelmed with a billion queries just yet. If you query them and they reject you, chances are you'll get a personal rejection rather than a bog-standard one. A personal rejection can be used to tweak your manuscript further.
    I recently received a personal rejection that went something like 'I loved the premise but wasn't entirely hooked by the first three chapters.'  Look at rejection as an opportunity to improve!
    Conversely, take rejection with a pinch of salt... literary agents receive thousands of queries a year and- even if you've sent the first three chapters- chances are if your book pitch isn't what they want, they wont read your submission anyway.
    In short, research, research, research, network, network, network and don't give up!

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