How do I find the right editor or agent?

So I’ve been searching for agents and editors, and sheesh this process is hard!

First, I bought “2016 Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market” and “2016 Guide to Literary Agents.” Then I went through the publishers and agencies that represented fantasy and I highlighted which ones I thought might be good (because they didn’t explicitly say “No epic fantasy!” That’s about all I had to go off of.)

Then I made an excel spreadsheet and listed them all.

Then I went online and checked out their websites and removed some because they didn’t seem my style. And then I wanted to understand their style better. How do I know which agent works with which authors and which genre and which publisher and which agent and… and…


I was listening to Writing Excuses to get feedback on how to learn what “style” of fiction agents and editors prefer. And they said:

  1. Check out their twitter for MS wishlists.
  2. Check out their publishing house to see what books they’ve published (p.s. those don’t list the editor).
  3. Check out publishers lunch to see recent deals (since there are many more genres than epic fantasy, there will be a lot of deals that aren’t even remotely my genre).
  4. Listen to individual agents and editors talk at conferences and chat with them (wait, with the likelihood that they DON’T publish my kind of fiction, how many agents and editors are there exactly?)
  5. Go to the bookstore and read the acknowledgements of books you like (which you probably haven’t read cause they’re new and there’s not a lot of old books at the bookstore so you’re not even sure if they are your particular “style”) and list the agents and editors named in books you like.

There are A LOT of problems with this system. Some of which I’ve already mentioned. With how many agents/editors out there, my potential sample size from the above suggestions makes it nigh impossible to find the “right” agent/editor. (Note: They all say, research me first!)

The answer is a database, that lists the agents and editors, what publishing houses they’ve worked with, which agents and editors they’ve worked with, which authors they’ve worked with, which novels they’ve worked on, and a complex/detailed genre classification system so that I can know what genre classifications my book has (Epic, heroic, feminist, religious, magic, hard science, whatever), and so that I can go from that angle. Instead of sampling random hard to find agents, searching by the traits/classifications of my novel, and finding the agents and editors that match that “style” of fiction.

If that were to exist, agents and editors (might) get less junk mail that doesn’t fit their style, authors will be less confused, and less time would be wasted all around.

Maybe instead of whining, I should build this thing. 🙂




Published by Thomas Fawkes

Writer of fantasy for lovers of philosophy and physics. Booyah.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: