July/August 2022

Our annual Literary Agents Issue features a look at how an agent sells your book, agent etiquette tips, how to read a literary agency agreement, and how to use feedback from agents to get published; a profile of Kali Fajardo-Anstine on her new novel, Woman of Light, which chronicles five generations of an Indigenous Chicano family in the American West; our twenty-second annual roundup of the summer’s best debut fiction; how to sell a book without an agent; writing prompts; contest deadlines; and much more.


Literary Agents

Journey Out of Limbo: The Epic Story of How an Agent Sells Your Book

by Courtney Maum
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Selling your book can be an adventure. Follow along on an author’s journey from signing with an agent to the fabled land of the book deal—with only a few peevish publishing ogres along the way.

Agent Etiquette 101

by Jade Wong-Baxter
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The agent at Frances Goldin Literary Agency shares insider tips for composing query letters, communicating with agents, and making a positive impression. 

How to Read a Literary Agency Agreement

by Kate McKean
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When, at last, you sign an agency agreement, do you know what you’re agreeing to? A veteran agent draws on years of experience to unpack the nitty-gritty of what’s in your contract, including commission rates, termination clauses, and more.

When an Agent Says No (or Maybe!): How Agent Feedback Can Help Diverse Writers Get Published

by Chaya Bhuvaneswar
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Even if an agent doesn’t take you on as a client, their response to your work can offer invaluable perspective. Authors weigh in on how and when to apply agent feedback to strengthen your manuscript—without losing your own sense of purpose.

News and Trends

The Practical Writer

Going Solo: Selling Your Book Without An Agent

by Michael Bourne
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After trying the traditional route, several writers forgo agents and find success when they submit directly to small, independent presses. The author examines the pros and cons of publishing solo.

The Literary Life

The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises

by Staff
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Write a poem inspired by Jay Hopler’s Still Life, a work of short fiction in which the protagonist is made aware of their body, or an essay linking distinct stories into a single narrative. 

Sanctuary: How My Mother’s Art Shaped Me as a Writer

by Antonia Angress
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Growing up in Costa Rica, the author was intimidated by her mother’s unconventional art. As an adult and a novelist, that same art—and her mother’s commitment to its making—has shown the author the kind of essential refuge artmaking provides.