6 free literary agent databases

Looking for a traditional publishing contract?

You need a literary agent.

A good agent will work hard to sell your book to a publisher and negotiate a bigger advance and better contract than you would for yourself.

What’s more, many editors – particularly those at the biggest publishers – prefer working with agents. They know that agents filter out work that isn’t publishable by vetting the author’s book concept and writing in advance. They also know that agents speak the lingo and understand the process — they don’t have to spend time educating them on what to expect.

An agent is your publishing advocate

In addition, without an agent, an author has no advocate when it comes to contract negotiations.

The publisher generates the publishing contract, which by nature focuses on that company’s best interests.

Do you know enough about book publishing agreements to negotiate a fair and balanced contract? No? Then keep in m ind that a literary agent works to get the best deal for the author, because that’s also the best deal for the agent.

Now that you know you need an agent, here are six free literary agent databases that will help you find one. They’re listed in alphabetical order.

Click on the database name to go to the resource.

1. AgentQuery

Search this free database by keyword, nonfiction genre, and fiction genre. Use the site’s “AgentQuery Connect” social platform to find examples of query letters that work or to ask writers to critique yours.

2. Association of Authors’ Representatives 

This trade group lets you search its member database by genre/category. The list is divided according to fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, and dramatic works.

Association of Authors’ Representatives members must meet experience requirements and adhere to its ethics code. I find this reassuring.

3. List of Literary Agents

Once you register using the form on the right under the photo of people who don’t look like literary agents, click the “enter” button on the confirmation page. Once you “enter” the membership area, scroll down to “Access Our Other Resources” and select “Directory of Literary Agents.”

There, use the drop-down menu to search for your fiction or nonfiction genre/category to get a list of agents.

4. Manuscript Wish List

I love this resource. It has a clean and simple look and everything is written with a smile.

Skip right to “The Comprehensive Search and Query Guide” to get instructions for all of your search options on one page. Easy, easy, easy, thanks to the editors.

5. Poets & Writers Literary Agent Database

It’s a three-step process.

First, select from a list of 32 genres and categories that starts with autobiography/memoir and ends with young adult. Then select whether you want agents that allow electronic submissions (of course you do). Then hit “filter.”

This resource seems particularly useful for fiction authors.

6. QueryTracker

One of Writer’s Digest’s top websites for 2018, QueryTracker gives you free access to a searchable database of more than 1,600 agents. The only requirement is that you join the site by providing your email address.

Free membership also includes query tracking tools.

Other resources for finding a literary agent

There are other resources and methods besides these literary agent databases:

One of my favorite methods is to read the acknowledgements of similar books to find out if the author thanked the agent (they usually do). The agent is likely to be open to more projects in that genre or category or about that topic.

Just remember: If your book is good enough to get a contract with a legacy book publisher that pays advances, ignore the voices around you saying, “You don’t need an agent!”

You do.

Do you have a literary agent? How did you find yours?

Tip of the Month

Adazing mockup cover generatorI like to share a “Tip of the Month,” a free resource or tool for authors, on the last Wednesday of the month.

Your February tip is the really cool free Adazing Mockup Shots generator (that’s an affiliate link), a tool that creates three different 3-D images of your book cover. Simply upload your cover image and you’ll get three mockups at no charge. I tried it — one of mine is on the right.

For an extra fee, you can purchase hundreds of images of your book in different settings. Here’s one of mine:

Adazing mockup cover generator 2

Use the additional paid package of images in your book trailer and social media campaigns. (Any post on any platform gets noticed more if it includes an image.) I love the premium image package, but you can get three impressive 3-D images without spending a thing.

Subscribe to the free Build Book Buzz newsletter and get the free special report, “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources,” immediately!

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  1. Priceless links, Sandy, thank you so much for sharing them. I normally use AgentQuery, but now I’ll search through the others too. Love your site & blog! (I often share your links and blog posts with my writing colleagues.)

    1. I’m so glad this post is helpful, Kerry! You’re welcome. And thanks for sharing links from time to time — I really appreciate that.


    1. Literary agents are paid on a commission basis. They earn a percentage of your advance from the publisher and a percent of any royalties if you earn them. This means that if they don’t sell your book to a publisher, they don’t earn anything. And that’s why they’re selective about who they represent. They need to feel confident they can sell the book — otherwise, they’re wasting their time.


    1. I looked up how the writers get paid online. It says that they pay the writers under the table. Is that true?

      1. Who says writers are paid under the table? I’d love to see that link. No, it’s not true.


      1. Once we find an agent and or book gets published do we have to pay back the agent we were working with?

        1. Anonymous, if you’re considhttps://jerichowriters.com/hub/get-agent/literary-agent-fees/ering working with an agent, you’ll want to first spend time researching how they work. Here’s information on how literary agents are paid:


  2. I need a literary agent to help with financing my second book My Loving heart.The book was reviewed by Dorrance publishing and excepted. I want to find a way to pay for publishing it.

  3. I have recently wrote a novel fiction, and completed the sequel to the first book. I need help because I’m computer illiterate,and don’t know where to begin.

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