How to attract a literary agent
In an article about a new contest for first-time novelists, agent Luigi Bonomi shared this advice:
BEGIN THE FIRST PAGE WITH A GREAT SENTENCE that pulls the reader in. Your first important reader is likely to be an agent (if you're looking for representation), and Bonomi says, "If the first page is well written, captivating, intriguing with the promise of a great plot to come, then the agent will continue reading. After just a few pages, they will get a sense of whether this is a story for them."
As an example, he cites the opening sentence of Coming Home, a psychological thriller by Annabel Kantaria: "I was making bechamel sauce for lasagna when I found out that my father had died."
His other tips for winning over an agent:
- Open mid-scene, so the reader is interested immediately in the story. You can go back later and fill in what happened before that scene, if necessary.
- Provide the agent with a 2-3 page synopsis of about 600 words that includes the ending.
- Double space your manuscript and proofread it carefully.
The contest for first-time novelists
The details of the contest, which has a £20,000 first prize and is free to enter, are here. Entries must be received by April 16, 2016, and if your novel isn't finished you must be able to complete it by October 30, 2016.