Thursday, June 21, 2007

Finding a criminally inclined agent

Finding an agent seems just as difficult as finding a publisher. I have written a crime novel set in Queensland and went through the Australian Literary Agents Association list and none of them appear to be accepting new work in the crime writing genre. Any suggestions about how to find a suitable agent.

Yes, finding an agent is difficult - there aren't many in Australia, and the ones who do exist usually have too much to read at any one time. Every so often some of us have to limit submissions because we need a little bit of our weekend back, which is why you'll often see the drawbridge raised on popular genres like crime. Lots of first-time novelists are writing crime, which makes good sense - it's a commercially successful genre and gives great opportunities for having fun with plot and characters - but it does mean that agents can be inundated with crime manuscripts.

Having said that, not all agents will specify which genres of fiction they accept - they might consider crime to be 'popular' or 'commercial' fiction, and that's what their guidelines say they accept. So unless they specifically say 'no crime' (or 'no submissions'!), it would be worth checking before you send it in. The ALAA list is a good place to start, but more detailed information is usually available on the agencies' websites, so go to them first. If you're still not sure, you're allowed to call or email us!

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