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How to get feedback from a literary agent

When you want more than a standard rejection 

We get it – agents are busy people. They have clients to look after and up to two thousand unsolicited manuscript submissions every year. But from the writer's side, it can be difficult to know what to do when faced with template rejections, without any clue as to why you keep getting them.  

Enter Jericho Writers! 

WEBINAR: Slushpile Live with Laura Williams (Exclusive to members) 

TOMORROW. Join literary agent Laura Williams as she reads member’s query letters and opening pages live in this extra-special webinar. Lots to learn in this one, whether your work is chosen or not.  



This week at Jericho Writers:

FEEDBACK: Agent one-to-one December sessions now open! (10% member discount) 

Book a one-to-one call with the literary agent or book doctor of your choice and get that all-important feedback on your work. Warning – these will sell out fast. 


ASK JERICHO: Book your free query letter feedback call with us (Exclusive to members) 

Did you know that members of Jericho Writers get free feedback on their query letter? Submit yours by email or book a phone call with us to whip yours into shape.  


WEBINAR: Pitch Perfect competition (Exclusive to members) 

14 December. Members can submit their elevator pitch now for the chance to win a free one-to-one and a copy of Harry Bingham’s book, ‘Getting Published’. Join us for the live event to see which pitch will be declared winner by a panel of literary agent judges.  



What to say to an agent in a one-to-one 

One-to-ones with agents can be career-changing. Not because they always lead to representation (I’ve had dozens in my time and none of them lead to that!) - but because they offer you professional advice.  

Most one-to-ones are quick. You’ll often only get 10-15 minutes to chat to them. They SHOULD have read work that you’ve submitted beforehand – in which case, follow all the usual submission rules you would if emailing them.  

Try to avoid too much chitchat on the call. A little bit at the beginning can be nice to settle your nerves and as a reminder that agents are just people. The agent should usually do most of the talking for you – the good ones will have made notes on your work. Have a pen ready to write all these down. You can also download an app to record your conversation if that’s easier – just make sure you let the agent know that’s what you’re doing.  

It’s also useful to have your own questions prepared. Think about what it is that you’d most like to know. Perhaps it’s a simple: “what can I do to make this better?” Perhaps it’s more directed at the unique perspective an agent has, such as: “is there a market for this right now?”  

Sometimes, you’ll come away from a one-to-one annoyed. The agent might have said something you don’t agree with, or something you’re not ready to hear yet. It’s okay to disregard advice if your gut says ‘no’. But do think about it carefully. I once had a feedback from an agent that got me fuming mad, only to realise a day later that she was absolutely right. I changed my manuscript and that became my debut novel! 

What are your tips for meeting agents? Or are you nervous for an upcoming one-to-one? Join for free and share your one-to-one stories in the Townhouse here. 

Sarah x 

Plus, don’t miss: 

Agent Submission Pack review service (Discounts available for members) 

Get professional Feeback on your opening 10,000 words, your cover letter, and your synopsis from one of our expert editors.  

Self-Edit Your Novel tutored course bursary closes 29 December 

Every quarter, we give one space on the life-changing Self-Edit Your Novel tutored course with Debi Alper to a deserved under-represented writer. To bag a free spot on January’s course, submit your application before 29 December.  

The Writer, the Plotter, the Editor and you – final webinar (Exclusive to members) 

12 December. Join Holly Dawson for the final part of this course looking at the many different hats a writer has to wear. Members can catch up on the other parts of the course on replay now.  

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