24 February 2012
Book Review: How to Get a Literary Agent by Michael Larsen
There has never been a better time to be a writer. That’s the view of Literary Agent Michael Larsen, so when I won the chance to choose a book on Robin Colucci Hoffman’s The Get Published Coach his book was my first choice, as I can’t be alone in thinking I need a good Agent but wondered how I find one.
I can sum up the main point of the book by saying it will really help if you can look at life from the agent’s point of view. After reading Michael’s book I feel better able to do that and recommend it to anyone who is serious about being published. He makes a good point that ‘you don’t really need an agent any more than you need a dentist, as you can probably fill your own teeth.’
One surprise was there is no mention at all of ebooks, twitter, Google+ etc. Written on 1996, my copy was a 2006 reprint and I found it really refreshing to return to a world of ‘proper’ printed books.
I also enjoyed Michael’s literary wit and cleverly chosen quotes. He has some great one line rejection notes, my favourites include ‘I thought you’d like to see what some fool is sending out under your name’ ‘We cannot use the paper you sent us. You wrote on it’ and ‘to save time we are sending you two rejection slips, one for this story and one for the next one you send us.’
Some of the statistics he quotes about rejection are not so funny for aspiring writers. His own agency selects about 1% of their submissions. We all know about J.K. Rowling being rejected ten times but did you know that British author John Creasy had seven hundred and seventy four rejections before having over five hundred books published?
Finally, all writers would do well to consider Michael Larsen’s advice on how to get published: ‘Write well and often, remember one page a day is a book a year and make your agent, your editor and your readers eager to see your next book.’
Preview How to Get a Literary Agent on Amazon