Novel Essentials: Finding, Signing, and Dealing with Agents

Friday, December 4th, 10:30am-1:30pm
Remote (Live Zoom Meetings)
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
This class is full

For writers hoping to find representation, agents can seem like insoluble mysteries. How do you get their attention? What makes them pursue some authors and not others? What are they looking for in a manuscript? Beginning writers often don’t realize that, even after they’ve signed with an agent, they may still find themselves with a lot of unanswered questions. The publishing world is complex and confusing, and it’s not always clear why agents do what they do.


This seminar is designed to provide helpful information and advice to writers seeking an agent. The session will be divided into three parts. The first part will focus on the query letter—what to include and what to avoid—and on the basic requirements for manuscripts submitted to agents. The second part will cover helpful questions to ask on choosing an agent: the agent’s preferences in genre and style, the pros and cons of bigger vs. smaller agencies, etc. The third part will introduce the students to strategies for dealing with an agent once they’ve had the good luck to sign with one. What should authors expect from agents, and vice-versa? What obligations do agents have to their agencies? When should writers decide for themselves, and when should they listen to their agents’ advice?


Drawing on my own experience in working with three different agents, as well as on discussions I’ve had with a range of editors, agents, and fellow writers, I will try to give students a thorough guide to the world of literary representation, with the ultimate aim of helping them find representation for their own work.

Part of the Novel Essentials Series, led by Ursula DeYoung and dedicated to exploring the fundamental building blocks of the novel. Classes include:


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This was especially useful for anyone who is starting to think about the querying process and the hunt for an agent. The instructor has had experiences, both good and bad, with agents and thus has a wealth of information to share in a personal way. I was impressed with her willingness to field questions/concerns from students who are at varying stages of the process. Great seminar.
- Jane Gilmartin


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Ursula DeYoung
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Previous Students Say

  • "Inspired Me to Write More"
  • "Inundated with Great Info"


  • Study Published Writing
  • In-Class Writing
  • Class Discussion


  • The Novel

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