Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Welcome to Ask a Literary Agent! Please feel free to ask your questions about how to get published (or about the craft of writing) by posting them in the "comments" section of the blog. I will not be able to answer every question, but will pick random questions to respond to once every few days or so. Please be advised that I am not accepting new clients, and am providing this service simply as a way to give back to the writing community. I hope that you will prosper from the advice found here, and enjoy!


  1. Hello Mr. Lukeman,

    I have read your very helpful "How To Write A Great Query Letter" and have a question.

    How do I find out what agent represents a novel in the genre that I think fits my work?
    I have looked through a lot of different novels and have yet to find out who the agent is.
    Will I find this information if I contact the publisher, or is there some place online where I could find it?

    Thanks for any help you can offer on this matter,
    William Michael Matthews

  2. Dear Noah,

    Thanks a lot for creating this blog.

    God bless!


  3. Dear Mr. Lukeman,

    How healthy is the market for Literary Fiction set in India?

  4. Dear Mr. Lukeman,

    Your book, THE FIRST FIVE PAGES, helped me land an agent and get a nice book deal with Ayson Publications. I'm looking forward to reading this blog.

  5. Dear Mr. Lukeman,
    I've read all of your books and keep them for ready reference on my bookshelves. I especially love A DASH OF STYLE. It has helped my writing tremendously. Thank you.
    Question: Authors read on blogs and agent sites about the need for a condensed hook, a one or two sentence summary of a novel's premise that will inspire an interested party to read more. What do you look for in a hook? What should an author incorporate in a hook?
    Thanks so much for writing this blog. It's a great resource for writers.
    Rebbie Macintyre

  6. Dear Mr. Lukeman,
    As a first-time author, I have been told by agents that my novel is intriguing but the publishers are not interested in first-time authors now, because of the current economic depression--they don't want to take a chance on an unknown author. Even your agency is not looking for new clients now, presumably for the same reason.
    Since I write for the fun of it, I am not looking for an income (I am well-paid in my profession). So what do you think about putting my first novel (I'm well into my 2nd novel and additionally a non-fiction book) up on the internet as an e-book for free downloads by PDF or electronic book format...in order to get a following of fans? If successful, I would suspect an agent and subsequently publishers would be more receptive to my second novel.
    Harebrained idea...or potentially useful?
    Lary Robinson

  7. Dear Sir,

    How do I know that a particular agent is interested in the literary fiction set in India?

  8. Please can you tell me what exactly is meant by the genre "whimsical" - related to fiction novels.

    Thank you so much for this blog, it is a winner!


  9. Thanks for doing this. Very generous of you.

  10. Dear Mr. Lukeman,
    My husband, Kevin, an award-winning illustrator (http://www.kevinscottcollier.com), is going to start appearing weekly on an internationally broadcast children's TV show at the end of the month. He is also a critically acclaimed YA author. Everything we've done has been with small publishers so far. Do you have any tips to help us make the leap to the large publishing houses?
    Kristen Collier

  11. Dear Mr. Lukeman:

    Just a note to say thank you for your free e-publications "Land A Literary Agent" and "Write A Great Query". I found the information on these sites very informative and helpful. I have used them as a guide to edit my own query letter; however, I felt that I must share some thoughts and ask questions especially about the bio section of such letters.

    The questions I have regard the credentials of writers. A person has an idea for a written work, carefully researched as a type of hobby with all the bibilographies for it, but since the writer might not have a professional background in the subject matter, he or she has very little chance of publication? I feel that I might be unclear about this message as I understood it in your publications. If so, how do so many obscure writers' works receive it?

    Again, thanks for your information.


  12. Thanks for this resource. It answers a lot of questions, but I haven't seen this one yet: Does a novel published as an e-book have any chance in print? My first novel is about to be released in e-format, with a 3-year contract for electronic rights only. If it does well, I would like to pursue print. But I have no idea what good sales would be in this realm. Do agents in general scoff at e-books, or would a decent track record in electronic format lay a good foundation for conventional publishing?

  13. Haw far does the political point of view of an agent play a role in his/her accepting or rejecting a work of fiction?

  14. It used to be that manuscripts were formatted with a 12 point Courier typeface. Do agents and editors now prefer a more 'finished' look -- 12 point Times New Roman? Does the subtle use of a serif font influence the agent/editor to see the property as a book to be published?

  15. Dear Mr. Lukeman,

    I have just finished my second novel in the projected series. The original novel was started on the spur of the moment, more of a labor of love thing than a commercial project, and only amounted to 45K words. Realizing that chances of selling it as a standalone might be fairly slim, I set about writing a commercial-sized sequel right away. The main hero and certain characters are the same in both texts, but they are totally independent stories otherwise. Now, as I am doing my research, it appears that the standard approach is "one project per agent at a time". How should I approach agents about these two novels? Packaged together? Separately?

    Many thanks for your time and effort.


    Michael Kapitonoff

  16. Thanks so much for this great source of information and resource material. I searched through the posts and did not see this question: Is it possible to be both agent and publicist strictly for digital (epub) markets?

  17. Mr. Lukeman,

    I am a young writer, and I wish to publish a manuscript. I have all intentions of being taken seriously, but I do not wish to deny a literary agent of otherwise important information which may lead to problems as a result of my age (13 years old). In my query letter, would you recommend I state my age for the agent's sake or let it go in fear of being prematurely disregarded?

    Thank you in advance.

  18. I'm a young writer but I know little of writing. I would like to know more about writing such as the font size, font, and style of writing a book. So my question is 'What is the font, the font size and the style?'


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