Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Agent Hunter - An Online Resource for International Writers (WAW)

It's been a while since I've done a Write Away Wednesday (WAW), but I'm very glad to bring it back today to introduce Agent Hunter!

As an international writer, there are many American agencies and  publishers that will not even look at my work. Many of the larger ones will point me in the direction of their British counterparts. In fact, some of my work is very much more suited to Britain anyhow.

For someone who is (or at least, once was) very active online, the British publishing industry is a little disappointing. Many agencies don't accept initial contact by email. Not that many agents have blogs or twitter accounts. And there's nowhere to find a giant list of all agents.

Or there wasn't until now.


The brilliant folk at The Writers' Workshop have collated a list of all the agents they could find in the UK! You can search agents by a number of terms. Writing sci-fi? You can find only the agents that represent that genre. Since I live in Japan, it's very important that an agent accept email submissions. I don't even want to imagine the postage on 20 partials to the UK. (*shudder*) That's one search term I've always got clicked. For the same reason, it's important that my agent be active online, and you can search by agents with blogs and twitter accounts.

Here's a list of the other terms you can search by:

Agent experience
Client list status (are they looking to take on clients)
Who represents who?
Specific likes
Specific dislikes
Opportunities to meet (conferences etc.)
Size of agency
AAA member

And, of course, if you know the name of agent you're interested you can just search for that particular agent.


Once you've found an agent you like, you can click over to their page. There you'll find all the imformation listed above as well as a short bio. When they were setting up the site, The Writers' Workshop attempted to contact all of the agents in the database. Some of them provided a bio. It's one of my favourite things on Agent Hunter. With US agents, they're all over Twitter and they have blogs. There are some agents who I feel like I know well beyond broad categories like "Accepts YA". That's something that's always been lacking in the UK industry. The Writers' & Artists' Yearbook (published by A&C Black) gives a comprehensive lists of agencies, but it won't tell you which agent would die for a protagonist who's obsessed with yarn bombing. (I haven't come across any yet, but then my protagonist isn't obsessed with yarn bombing either.)

Another useful category on the Agent Page is "Authors and Books Liked". Publishing is not an exact science. (Not by a long shot.) So once again, the simple genre listings that you may find in the Yearbook or in other resources don't say much. An author may like paranormal, but have had it up to here with vampires. If your manuscript is about a teenage Dracula, then why waste your time and the agent's? Agent Hunter can save you that trouble.


I'm not going to speak much of them (because I'm most interested in the Agent Search) but you can also search for Agencies and Publishers. On the Agency Page you can find more detailed submission details and the average response time. The feature most of interest for international writers is the "Accepts overseas writers" field. The Publishers pages aren't much use if you're a fiction writer, since most publishers no longer take unsolicited submissions. But you can search to see which ones do.


If you're interested head over to the site. Just in case you can't click the linkies, it's
You need an account to access the site, but don't worry that's super-easy. And free. You can get poke around and get a feel for the site. And you'll have access to some of the information.


Some of the information will also be blurred out. If you'd like to access all of the database's information, there is a subscription fee: £12 ($18 USD) for a whole year of access. That's less than a month of  Publishers' Marketplace ($20 USD) or The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook (currently £12.15 on Amazon UK - on sale). There's a 7 day free trial, so you can dip your toes in and if it's not your kind of pool, you can hop back out. No consequences.

What are you waiting for? If you're an international writer, you should head over there now.

I said NOW. Why are you still reading this? ;) 

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