Lisa Preston's Agent Researching Resources

Mucha-Monaco-Monte-CarloAuthor Lisa Preston (, spoke to The Writing Popular Fiction class of author Janice MacDonald in September, 2007. Lisa Preston does workshops. Check out her site for more information. This are some of her excellent recommendations for researching appropriate agents to query about your novel.

There are 4 requirements for a writer to get an agent and sell their novel or memoirs:

  1. The novel must be good enough — don’t send it out too early.
  2. The query must be good enough — go pro.
  3. The agent must be good enough — do your homework before you sign.
  4. Your luck must be good enough.

Three of these requirements are under your control.

Resources for Researching Agents

Subscription sites:
(While there’s no free lunch, Cader’s Publisher’’s Lunch column is good and has tasty tidbits)
Free Resources
Library Sections: 070, 808
[source for books like Writer’s Market, Guide to Literary Agents, Herman’s Literary Marketplace]

Also read the Acknowledgments, Dedications, etc. of novels and memoirs similar to yours to find the names of potential
Google Book Search: (search on agent’s name or word “agent”
for listings in dedications, etc.)
updated on Friday every week with industry promotions & moves; catching someone who has been promoted to acquisition agent or agent from assistant can be a good break; someone moving to start a new line or at a new house will be looking to acquire new titles to make his/her own mark (Read “The Forest for the Trees” by Betsy Lerner)
When reading postings in forums, consider the source and don’t take the information as gospel:

Ann Crispin & Victoria Strauss Site: Writer Beware:
(a pair of SF/Fantasy writers who posts listings about suspicious or fraudulent agents, publishers, contests, etc. A.C. Crispin started out as a Trek fan who sold to the original Star Trek novel line and parlayed that into a career).

Blogging Agents:
Nathan Bransford:
Jennifer Jackson:
Jonathon Lyons:
Kristin Nelson:
Deidre Knight et al:
Jet Reid:
Sachs, Faust et al:
Nephele Tempest:
Rachel Vater:
Dystel & Goderich et al:

Miss Snark:
Evil Editor:
Predators & Editors at

Facebook Twitter Email

2 thoughts on “Lisa Preston's Agent Researching Resources

  1. Diane C. Reaves

    Lisa: I recently took a fiction writing class with Janice MacDonald and heard you speak about agents.
    I have completed a manuscript, submitted a query letter to one agency and can’t find any notes that refer to sending to more than one agent. Do I have to wait before sending to another agency or can I submit to multiple agents? ]
    Thanks. Diane Reaves

    1. carolyn

      Hi, Diane!

      This isn’t Lisa Preston’s site. It can be found here. However, I found the following answer to your question at which has a wonderful F.A.Q. on Submitting to Literary Agents ).

      The answer to your question is is near the bottom so I’m going to include part of it here:

      Is it okay to “simultaneously submit” to literary agents?

      Simultaneously submitting to agents means you’re querying more than one agent at a time. And yes, you must simultaneously submit QUERIES, or you’ll never get anywhere. However, we do recommend that you pace yourself by sending queries out in batches. No more than ten or so. As you receive rejections and acceptances, you’ll also receive feedback, wanted or unwanted, warranted or not. You may find yourself revising your work, revising your query, or simply revising your search…Meter out your queries, and be sure to send your best work out into the world… don’t burn up all your options from the get-go by sending out forty queries in the first round. Instead, send out bunches of ten queries every two to three weeks.

      I hope that’s helpful and thanks for joining us. I’ve got some new posts planned for April and am heading to the 2009 DFW Writer’s Conference in Dallas, Texas at the beginning of May. I’m certain to have a lot of information to report!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *