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How to Get a Literary Agent

39 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1402205606
ISBN-10: 1402205600
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael Larsen, PhD is the co-founder of the Larsen/Pomada Literary Agency in San Francisco, California. He speaks and teaches around the country on writing, agenting and the publishing industry. Larsen is the author or co-author of eleven books and has represented dozens of successful authors in their literary careers. He lives in San Francisco, California.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc. (April 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402205600
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402205606
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #578,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Scott Kenan on July 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
Added 9/27/07:
I posted this review 8/1/06 and then stopped looking for an agent until 6/15/07 when I had written 2 more drafts and implemented many of Michael's ideas. The next agent I contacted signed me 3 weeks after that. Thanks Michael!

From 8/1/06:
Reading Michael Larsen's HOW TO GET A LITERARY AGENT scoured the last remaining romantic notions about publishing from my head and replaced them with a clear idea of how the publishing industry works. I have read several books on crafting query letters, proposals, finding agents, etc. This is the only one that tells the story of the whole industry and has taken me from butting my head against a dense citadel to seeing inside and not just understanding how all the very human parts work, but seeing the bigger picture and my important place as a writer.

Perhaps the best thing about Mr. Larsen's book is the great love he has for his work as an agent and the respect and love he has for everyone involved in writing and publishing books. While he is relentless in telling the sobering truth about the industry, his infectious enthusiasm for every aspect of it: the creative process, the editing and selling, the making of careers, and especially the books, comes through on every page. Every myth dispelled is replaced by a vision of new possibilities.

As a writer (and no, I do not know Mr. Larsen, nor have I ever attempted to contact him), I am grateful for the tools he gives, but more importantly, for the encouragement such a well conceived and well written book gives. So far, I've spent a few years on my first book, and at a moment when my energy was flagging, this book re-energized me and expanded my vision, reminding me of all the best reasons I am writing.
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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Trisha A. Howell on April 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
For a comprehensive, highly informative, and often humorous guide to getting your book published, you cannot do better than Michael Larsen's terrific How to Get a Literary Agent. A successful literary agent for the past 35 years, Larsen knows exactly what he's talking about. His book is encouraging and empowering to the writer while also revealing the often harsh realities and complexities of the publishing world.

Not only does Larsen describe in detail what an agent actually does, how to find the right agent for your work, and the best way to approach and create a successful ongoing relationship with that person, but he also gives a crash course in how the whole book industry works. This is invaluable because the savvy writer who really understands the publishing industry is much better able to write, package, and position her books for maximal success.

Larsen also helps you clarify your publishing and life goals in order to focus and revitalize your work. With the addition of a friendly tone and an easy to read text, How to Get a Literary Agent is the perfect book to motivate and guide the would-be professional writer as well as anyone interested in the publishing process.
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Format: Paperback
It bothers me that this book is titled "How to get a Literary Agent" when precisely 0% of it is devoted to getting a Literary Agent. Instead it has a lot of filler like "A writer's bill of right" and other such fluff, which isn't even remotely helpful to an aspiring writer. Imagine if you bought a book titled "How to bake a cake", and the entirety of the book was devoted to amusing stories about cakes, but never giving you a recipe for making one yourself.

Clearly, the author knew what people WANTED to know, because he named his book "how to get a literary agent." The problem is that he never bothers to tell you. I already knew that "start a career in writing is challenging". The fact is that starting a career in ANY field is challenging. Want to be a doctor? It's challenging. Want to be an astronaut? It's challenging. Even if your life's goal is to be a Hobo, odds are that you'll find starting that career to be challenging. I really don't need to be told that what I'm attempting is hard. I know that already. What I want is tools and information that will allow me to move forward with my chosen path, no matter how hard it might happen to be. Unfortunately, this book doesn't do that.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Smiga on February 25, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a relatively new author who has recently completed my first novel, I found the book very informative about the process one needs to know and understand to connect with a literary agent. Michael's no nonsense explanation of understanding what agents deal with, what publishers seek, gives the reader a comprehensive idea of the real world of getting your work published. He also illustrates the value of protecting your rights and provides concrete descriptions of what you should know when negotiating with agents and publishers. I feel I can begin my search for an agent with a better foundation by having read this book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A. Fattorusso on April 6, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book in the same way I would read a fiction novel, it was that enjoyable to read. Michael Larsen's writing style is humorous and easy to read. He inspires in a truthful way, letting you know the downsides to publishing and finding an agent as well. I finished this book in one day, and i'll be going back to it often to re-read the majority of it. It's jam packed with tips and relevant information that help you understand the whole process of getting the agent, what the agent does for you, how the entire publishing process works, and details what they usually do to market your book.

Reading this book before you're done writing your novel, or while you're querying agents, will give you an edge. You'll want to start formulating plans on how to market yourself, and the earlier you do this, the better off you'll be when you finally obtain an agent.

While I wouldn't make this your only purchase on the subject, it is a necessity. This book along with Putting Your Passion Into Print, will help you understand just about everything you need to know about the publishing process. You will most likely need other ones for sample queries and proposals.
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