Are you a writer who has just finished writing the thriller of your dreams? You’ve poured countless hours of effort into your story, and it’s ready to show the world. Now it’s time to find a good literary agent who can represent your novel with passion and enthusiasm.

With the right agent, you can open seemingly impossible doors. This article will guide you through how to get a literary agent for your thriller novel.

The benefits of working with a literary agent

The primary benefit of working with a literary agent is that they have direct access to major publishing houses and independent publishers responsible for acquiring manuscripts and allowing them to be published.

Agents work with new writers and bestselling writers alike. They understand the industry inside and out and know how to position their work to editors.

Agents can often negotiate better deals than authors could on their own behalf. Having an experienced ally who speaks the same language as publishers can help you get more favorable terms regarding royalties, printing fees, or advance payments.

Know your genre

To find a literary agent, you have to figure out what genre your book falls into

If you are writing a thriller, you should familiarize yourself with its conventions, trends, and expectations, including:

High levels of tension and excitement, a strong sense of mystery or intrigue surrounding the protagonist(s) or events in the novel, unexpected twists and turns, vivid descriptions, intense action sequences accompanied by fast-paced dialogue, unpredictable villains who consistently keep protagonists off balance by introducing new obstacles as they pursue their goals.

Research literary agents’ websites to look into what type of books they usually take on. A good way to do this is to read up on the agents’ submission guidelines and the kinds of projects they have represented in the past.

Make a list of literary fiction agents to target

List agents specializing in your genre, such as thrillers

Numerous sites specifically cater to connecting authors with agents or publishers. These include websites like QueryTracker and WritersMarket, which have many resources for aspiring authors seeking representation.

Additionally, many literary agencies run their own blogs that often list submission guidelines and open calls for submissions – perfect opportunities for authors with great ideas!

You can also use online resources such as the Association of Authors’ Representatives (AAR) website or Writer’s Digest’s Guide to Literary Agents database for your agent search. These offer comprehensive lists of reputable literary agents worldwide that accept new clients.

Finally, take advantage of social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, where you can follow publishing professionals and other authors in your field to get up-to-date information on potential contacts in the industry.

Reach Out

Start sending query letters and sample pages to the agents on your list

A query letter for a thriller novel is an important tool in the author’s marketing arsenal. The goal of a query letter is to compel agents and publishers to request a full manuscript, so your query needs to be both intriguing and informative.

Writing a query letter, here are some key things you should include:

1. A one-page brief summary of the main plot points–including setting, major characters, obstacles they face, etc.–in two or three paragraphs. Most importantly, ensure you include enough of an enticing hook to capture the reader’s attention and make them want more!

2. An explanation of what type of book it is (e.g., a hardboiled detective story with noir elements) and its target audience (e.g., adult readers).

3. Consider including any relevant personal details about yourself, such as awards you’ve won or any previous publishing credits if available; this can help give credibility to your work and show potential agents/publishers that you’re serious about writing professionally!

4. If applicable, also explain why you think this particular book has potential commercial appeal or how it can stand out from other thrillers currently on the market; this will demonstrate your knowledge of current trends in the genre, which might help boost its chances of being picked up by agents/publishers!

5. Finally, add an overview of your completed project and an estimated word count; this helps provide context for what kind of commitment they would need to read through the entire manuscript when requested later on downline!

Make Connections

Attend conferences and workshops

Attending conferences and workshops is an excellent way to bolster your industry connections with those who could help you find the right agent – agents who are a good fit for the work you want to create.

For example, many writers attend conferences like The London Book Fair or Comic Con New York, searching for literary agents and publishers.

Writers’ panels, speed-dating sessions with agents, and networking events can provide invaluable insight into how to break into the publishing industry.

Additionally, small craft seminars teach folks how to hone their writing skills; attending these could give you access to mentors or established authors who have experience dealing with different kinds of agents.

It’s becoming increasingly common for aspiring authors to leverage the power of blogging and social media to attract the attention of agents. If you have an idea for a blog post, you could showcase your talent and expertise to attract the attention of agents.

Workshops also offer promising opportunities for landing an agent. Writers get feedback from experienced professionals and can gain immediate exposure through pitched projects or competitions during workshop events.

Lastly, it’s important for any aspiring author trying to land an agent not just to attend multiple conferences and workshops over time but, more importantly, to build meaningful relationships along the way!

Follow Up

Don’t forget to follow up with agents who haven’t responded yet

Following up on a query to a literary agent is an essential step in getting your work published. Often times it can take multiple attempts before getting a response.

It’s important to remember that many agents receive hundreds of submissions daily, and it can take them considerable time to review all the queries. By sending a follow-up, you show that you are serious about getting a response and demonstrate your commitment to the project.

A follow-up also allows you to include any new information or updates related to your work, such as changes made since submitting the query letter or news about upcoming book signings or other promotional events.

It’s important to send timely follow-ups and avoid inundating agents with too many emails and calls. This could make them assume you are desperate rather than enthusiastic about your project.

A good rule of thumb is no more than two or three polite reminders before giving up hope of receiving a response; anything more runs the risk of annoying potential literary agents – something no author wants!

If, after several attempts at following up on inquiries, there has been no response from an agent, then consider researching additional contacts to increase chances of success elsewhere.

The Publishing Guru website offers useful advice on how best to do so in their article — “Finding New Literary Agents,” — along with links for further research into relevant contact information for possible new matches.

Don’t take rejection letters personally; keep looking for the right match!

Negotiate Terms

Once you do get an offer, negotiate terms that are agreeable to both parties

Congratulations on getting an offer from a literary agent! It’s a great step in getting your book published and distributed, but there are a few key things to look out for and double-check before you sign any agreements.

Ensuring the agreement’s terms are clear, detailed, and accurate is important. Read through all contract points carefully – for example, what types of publishing rights does the agreement cover? Is there control over foreign language rights? Are non-compete clauses included? All these details should be agreed upon before signing anything.

Next, is payment structure: How much will you receive as an advance against royalties? How are royalties calculated, who receives them (the author or agent), and how often will they be paid? Make sure that this part is understood and agreed upon.

Finally, double-check their credentials with industry organizations like the Writers’ Union or CLMP (The Council of Literary Magazines & Presses). Ask for samples of previous works they’ve represented and references from past clients; reputable agents should have no problem providing this information. If something feels off about their work or professional experience – don’t hesitate to walk away if necessary.


Take the time to research agents and believe in yourself. Understanding agents’ needs and researching their guidelines are essential to successfully landing representation.

Don’t forget to follow up with them after sending query letters and sample pages; that is one of the most important components of securing an agent.

Finally, always remember there is power in a negotiation, and even if a potential agent makes an offer that’s not great at first glance, remember that there may be room to debate terms.

Thank you for taking the time to read. May you find success and joy in all that you create.

If you’re working on your first novel and are looking for more help with your writing, please check out my other articles at

Best of luck with your writing!


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