Poets & Writers published a lengthy interview of four literary agents: Maria Massie, Jim Rutman, Anna Stein and Peter Steinberg. The discussion covers much of what the reader would expect: What grabs their attention (or repels their interest); how writers go about getting an agent; and their view on the state of the publishing industry.
It’s worth reading the entire piece, and here are some things that struck me:
- “I don’t even read synopses,” said Stein. The other three agreed. They go right to page one of the manuscript.
- Where do agents find writers? “Not blogs.” Three quarters of discovered writers are from referrals.
- What could beginners do better? Take chances and not worry so much about a turning in a perfect manuscript. Also, find several friends who can give candid constructive criticism.