How Do You Book a 1:1 with a Literary Agent?

First, let’s talk about why you might be interested in doing this. If you have a novel and it’s completed (you’ve edited it, taken it through a few drafts, and you’re feeling good about its condition), you might be thinking about or currently querying. A 1:1 with a literary agent can be so helpful for a few reasons. 

  • They give you valuable feedback on your query package. As these are the people receiving queries, they are the experts! Their feedback will help you improve. 
  • They can give you insider advice. Agents are up to date on literary market trends, publisher preferences, and more. All of this information can increase your chances of getting published!
  • To build a relationship. You’re not going to become best friends over a 15-minute phone call, but talking to an agent who represents your genre and having the opportunity to discuss your work with them is more impactful than sending an email. First of all, you are guaranteed their attention – and that’s huge. Often, submissions will be reviewed by an assistant first and won’t even make it to the agent you are contacting, so having the opportunity to talk to the agent you are querying is so valuable. 

If you’re ready to book that 1:1 – here are some options on how to do it:

  • Literary festivals. At literary festivals, you have the opportunity to pre-book (rarely is it first come, first serve on the day, so always pre-book) a face-to-face 1:1 with an agent. Festivals such as:

The London Festival of Writing

How to Hook an Agent Event by Bloomsbury Publishing

The London Book Fair

  • Online. Various writing organisations offer 1:1 sessions over the phone or on software such as Zoom. You can peruse the agents available to make sure that you will be speaking with someone who represents your genre. Here are a few:

I am in Print

Jericho Writers

  • Query. Querying is the traditional way to get an agent 1:1. The above ways are guaranteed because you book them in advance, but querying can lead to a chat with your chosen literary agent. Want to know more about querying? Check out the following blog posts:

3 Things to Avoid When Querying Literary Agents

5 Ways to Find a Literary Agent or Publisher

When to Follow up With a Literary Agent or Publisher


3 Things Needed For A Fantastic Book Proposal

Are you getting ready to write a fantastic book proposal? It might be that you are looking to query, submitting to Pitch Wars, or perhaps struggling to write your blurb or pitch. Whichever it is, it can be hard to see our novels clearly when we are so close to them. In fact, I believe that this is why writers often find writing a blurb, pitch or query so tricky: we know the entire story, and it’s hard to whittle down all that information.

So, when it comes to writing a book proposal or whittling down those words to a pithy elevator pitch…what should we include?

1: A description that makes the listener/reader sit up and take notice. 

This is your opportunity to really get your story across. So, think about the following:

What is your main character’s problem, the conflict that they are dealing with?
What is their drive to overcome this?
Who or what is standing in their way?
Why does it matter? 

Getting across these elements to the listener will make them want to know more. You do not need to tell them the spoilers; keep those for the synopsis. Whet their appetites by telling them just enough to make them want to read the work.

2: The Vital Information.

What is the vital information? Your genre and word count. You can add these into your pitch to preempt the post pitch questions, proving to the listener that you have come prepared and understand what you have written. The listener may go on to ask you something along the lines of ‘Where would this book fit in a bookshop?’
This question is designed to help them understand how much you know about your genre, so prepare the answer ahead of time.

3: Why you, and why now?

These are two excellent questions to think about ahead of time, and preparing an answer will help you get across the urgency of their requesting to see the entire manuscript. To go deeper into these two short questions:

Why is this book relevant for this person?
Why is now the right time to publish?
What stage is the manuscript in?
Why have you written the novel? 

So, now you know. Include these three things for a fantastic book proposal!

A few weeks ago, a great writer hired me to help her ahead of some agent meetings. After a coaching session, a synopsis to pitch re-write and edit, and some research – she delivered two successful pitches and had manuscript requests from both. If you are looking for some help in the same area, get in touch today. Together, we can tighten up your pitch!

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Looking for a similar read? Check out the following:

Three Things to Avoid When Querying Literary Agents
Five Ways to Find a Literary Agent or Publisher
When to Follow Up With A Literary Agent or Publisher