Lit to Stick: 3 Tips for Landing an Agent


Caroline George is paying a visit to to guide you through landing a literary agent!

Caroline George commits her time and energy to telling stories in their many forms. As a 2017 Belmont University graduate with a double-major in publishing and public relations, Caroline aims to pursue a career committed to helping authors, publishers and organizations project their stories to their publics. She spends her time blogging, writing for various magazines and authoring young adult fiction books (her current publications include “The Prime Way Trilogy” and “The Vestige”). She considers herself a not-so-southern Georgia peach, coffee-junkie, bona fide goofball and delights in being best known for writing the phrase, “Coffee first. Save the world later.”

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“I could paint that.”

“Profound insight into the human condition.”

“I don’t get it.”

Last weekend, I attended a poetry slam at Nashville’s Frist Art Museum and invested time into browsing the various galleries. People filled the chambers, each person offering unique opinions and perspectives of the artwork. Some visitors loved the pieces while others crinkled their noses and walked away.

How does this relate to publishing? 

Like visual art, writing carries a subjective quality. One reader may adore the book. Another may give the story a thumbs down.

Since literary agents are readers, they also view writing through a subjective lens. Each agent determines a submission’s worth based on their personal rubric—platform, plot, genre, writing style, etc. 

In this guest blog post (many thanks to Christine for hosting me), I give three tips to help your LIT STICK with an agent. 

Some of my personal background . . .

I’m the author of “The Vestige,” “The Prime Way Trilogy” and several other projects currently in the pre-pub process. I graduated from Belmont University with a degree in publishing and public relations, drink too much coffee, and love to travel. My work experiences include: Intern for Harper Collins Publishers, editor for Hillsong Sydney, intern for BookGrabbr and The Dunham Group, blogger for “Pursue Magazine” and freelance publicist. I now work as a Jr. Literary Agent for Cyle Young.

I review a lot of submissions. Based off what I’ve seen, here are three tips to set your query/proposal/manuscript apart from other submissions.

1.      Do your research.

Often, writers submit their manuscripts without first reviewing an agent’s submission guidelines or researching how to compose an effective query letter. 

To capture an agent’s attention and keep it, provide a punchy query letter that aligns with the agent’s specifications. Other things to research: Genre word count, comparable titles, trends in the publishing industry, agents’ wish lists, etc.

A query is a pitch letter, so avoid informal rambling and begging (yes, writers often beg). The more straightforward and professional your query, the more likely an agent will view you as a business partner prospect. 

2.      Know your platform.

Nowadays, publishers want their authors to have developed platforms, which means agents look for writers with a substantial following. 

To ensure your LIT STICKS with an agent, spend time growing your presence via blogging, social media, and speaking engagements. Then, express/translate the value of your platform in your query and proposal. 

3.      Craft a hook.

What makes your book unique? How does it cater to the current publishing marketplace? Who is your target audience?

Agents look for pitch angles in each submission they receive, so you stand a higher chance of getting their notice if you offer them those angles. 

Takeaway: Writing is subjective, so don’t feel discouraged if one agent dislikes your project. Instead, focus on crafting a punchy, researched query letter that shows your LIT will STICK