Tips for Writers: Submitting Your Work to an Agent

Tessa David, an associate agent at Peters Fraser + Dunlop representing a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, shares her top tips for submitting to an agent.

  1. The covering letter: Don’t worry about attaching a letter but do make sure your covering email is concise and well-written
  1. The blurb vs the synopsis: Your blurb should be in the body of the email and, much like that on the back of a book, should be designed to catch attention and pique curiosity, without giving too much away. The synopsis should be attached, along with the first three chapters, and provide a full summary of the plot.
  1. Comparisons: If you can think of a good comparison in terms of your work/ writing style then make it. Describing your book as a cross between x and y can be very useful. But if you If you can’t think of one, don’t make one up for the sake of it.
  1. The opening chapter is everything: Make sure your opening chapter is polished and the best it can possibly be. It is no good having a ropey chapter and then ramping up the standard in the second and third. If the first one isn’t brilliant an agent may stop reading.
  1. The blurb (pitch) is the key. This is what will make an agent fast-track your book to the top of their reading pile. Definitely include a brief couple of sentences about your background but focus on polishing your blurb. This is what is important.

Good luck!