Events downtown

May 18

How to Land a Literary Agent
Location: Online, ,Maine US
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Event website

A Business of Writing Workshop w/ Ursula DeYoung


For writers hoping to find representation, agents can seem like insoluble mysteries. How does a writer capture their attention? What makes them pursue some authors and not others? What are they looking for in a manuscript? Beginning writers often don’t realize that, even after they’ve signed with an agent, they may still have a lot of unanswered questions. The publishing world is complex and confusing, and it’s not always clear why agents do what they do.

This seminar is designed to provide information and advice to writers seeking an agent. The session will be divided into three parts. The first part will focus on the query letter—what to include and what to avoid—and on the basic requirements for manuscripts submitted to agents. The second part will cover helpful questions to ask when choosing an agent: the agent’s preferences in genre and style, the pros and cons of bigger vs. smaller agencies, etc. The third part will introduce participants to strategies for negotiating the agent-author relationship once they’ve had the good luck to sign with one. What should authors expect from agents, and vice-versa? What obligations do agents have to their agencies? When should writers listen to their agents’ advice, and when should they decide for themselves?

Drawing on her own experience in working with four different agents, as well as on discussions she has had with a range of editors, agents, and fellow writers, instructor Ursula DeYoung will offer participants a thorough guide to the world of literary representation, with the ultimate aim of increasing their confidence in finding and approaching potential representation for their work.

Please note: This seminar will not be helpful for writers of research-based nonfiction or children’s picture books.

+ PLEASE NOTE This workshop will occur ONLINE via Zoom. Students do not need to create an account to participate, but should test out Zoom before their class if they are first-time users. The week of the workshop, students will be emailed a link that they may click to enter the class.

+ REQUIRED EQUIPMENT A reliable, fast internet connection (broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE), speakers & a microphone (built-in or USB plug-in), and a webcam (built-in or USB plug-in).

Ursula DeYoung is a writer, teacher, and editor living in Cambridge, Mass. After receiving her doctorate in History from Oxford University, she transitioned into writing fiction, often set in the past. Her debut novel, Shorecliff, about a family gathering on the coast of Maine in 1928, was published by Little, Brown in 2013. She is currently working on two new novels: Whittier & Co., an exploration of class and friendship in the early 20th century, and a 1961 murder mystery A Death and Nine Lives. She is the founding editor of the online literary journal Embark, which features the openings of unpublished novels. Currently she teaches creative writing at the GrubStreet Writing Center in Boston and also works as a freelance editor.