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Eliminate redundant words and/or phrases. Watch for “nodded (his head)” or “thought (to himself).” The words in parentheses are redundant and should be omitted. Likewise, there are “lift (up),” “shrugged (his shoulders)” and others that tend to be sore spots for many editors.


Eliminate words that contribute nothing to a sentence’s meaning. One such common word is “that.” Read your sentence without a suspicious word; if the meaning is clear without the suspected word, drop it.


Literary agents are not regulated by licensing or certification, therefore it's easy to enter the field. The difficult part is gaining the publisher contacts necessary to negotiate contracts.

Like anything else, there are good literary agents and bad literary agents. Getting an agent alone is not good enough. He or she has to be the right agent for you.

Like book doctors, professional literary agents are highly specialized. No one is knowledgeable enough of every category of publishing or is acquainted with every editor in the industry. The right agent for you is one who specializes in your particular category of writing. He/She knows how to evaluate the marketability of your manuscripts and knows specifically which publishers could be most interested.


• Look for agents who represent the fewest number of categories possible. Some tend to spread themselves too thin over a broad range of categories. Those who focus on the fewest categories are likely to be the best experts in each.

• Be sure that both you and your potential agent agree up front how the arrangement may be eventually terminated.

To learn more about Writing For Publication, consider online workshops. CLICK HERE!



While certification and/or licensing isn't necessary, literary agents may voluntarily join a professional organization called the Association of Authors Representatives. While membership in this organization is no guarantee that an agent is competent or is right for you, it's at least a good starting point. True, there are good literary agents who are not members of this group, but they can be more difficult to locate.

Go to the AAR Web Site and search their member agents for your category of interest.

It's also a good idea to meet literary agents in person at major writing conferences. A good resource to find out what's happening near you is Shawguides.com.

Good luck!


• Help the agent fairly evaluate you as a client by providing precise, honest information condensed to the most relevant information. For instance, agents don't care to know that you worked on your high school newspaper but if you've been published in prestigious periodicals, by all means say so.

• Don't expect your agent to be an editor. Agents are totally into sales, not editorial. You should never have to pay an agent for editorial advice and, beyond general suggestions/impressions of your work, your agent shouldn't offer any.