Submission Tips

What makes a good writer?  If you have to ask, you're probably not ready for a literary agent.  (Plenty of publishers will still consider your work even without agency representation.)  But if you believe you're good enough to merit literary representation, please read on.

Things To Be

  • Confident

  • Talented

  • Marketable

  • Objective

  • Scrupulously Self-Critical

  • Patient

  • A Good Typist

Things Not To Be

  • Insecure - If you lack confidence in yourself, in your writing, or in your ability to become a full-time freelance writer, you'll never be able to stand up to the rigors and the brickbats that lay ahead.

  • Marginally Talented - If you haven't yet developed into the kind of writer who works diligently at turning out only the best examples of whatever literary genre you're creating, you're not ready for agency representation.

  • Conveniently Self-Forgiving - No one--from Ernest Hemingway to Homer and back again--ever wrote a single draft that "sang."  Every writer worth the name knows when and how to rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite some more.

  • Impatient - Patience really is a virtue, as difficult as it may be to nurture ... especially in the publishing industry.

  • A Bad Typist - There is simply no room for sloppiness, laziness, and typos in professional writing.  Even the best book ever written, whatever that may have been, would have had difficulty getting past an initial editorial reading if every other word were misspelled.  If you can't type, learn.  Otherwise, find someone who can and beg, cajole, or pay him to type for you.  Nothing turns off a seasoned editor--or literary agent, for that matter--faster than a manuscript with half a dozen typos on the first page.

While The Swetky Agency is a full-service literary representational agency, we do not baby-sit undeveloped writers, offer typing, ghostwriting, or manuscript-preparation services (although we will provide pre-presentation editing suggestions, when needed).  We do not charge writers a reading, handling, or editing fee.  We do not, except under very unusual circumstances, correspond with our writers by telephone, fax, or instant messaging--only by e-mail.  (Some of our agents put in 14-hour days.  We need to keep their time free for reviewing, selling, and contractual consultations.)

What we do offer our clients is a place for good writers to go when they have a good product and want the best agency possible to represent them diligently in the publishing, film, and television industries.

What We're Seeking

In fiction book-length manuscripts (60,000 words or more only), we're looking for any property that is marketable with the exception of Poetry and Children's Picture Books.  We do accept Juvenile and Young Adult fiction and nonfiction.  We do not handle articles or short stories except when collected in book-length anthologies.

In nonfiction book-length manuscripts (60,000 words or more or equivalent with illustrations only), we handle any property that is marketable.

In screenplays, we're wide open to full-length feature films, television MOWs, animated series, and television series concepts.

How To Format
Your Manuscript Properly


For a look at editors' preferred book formatting, check out these illustrations:


For additional tips on proper formatting to give your property a competitive edge: Formatting Tips

Remember that editors are used to seeing manuscripts in one specific format and do not approve of, appreciate, or condone other formats.  Get used to setting up your manuscripts according to the samples here and always use this format for your book-length material.  Otherwise, you'll have one strike against you from the very start!

Screenplays and Scripts

ALWAYS use Writers Guild of America approved formatting for all of your film and television scripts.

How To Submit

Submit an initial-contact query via e-mail (the only way that The Swetky Agency accepts unsolicited queries) by going to the Submission Form Index page and following instructions.

If we find your submission of interest (that is, if we believe you're a writer of professional caliber with a marketable proposal), we'll ask you for additional information.  Ultimately, our goal is to issue an Author-Agent Contract

Please do not send any portion of your book until requested, and do not submit material via regular mail. 

We look forward to hearing from you, and we hope to see your work soon.

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NOTE: All material on this site is copyright protected.  No portion of this material may be copied or reproduced, either electronically,  mechanically, or by any other means, for resale or distribution without the written consent of the author.  All copy has been dated and registered with the American Society of Authors and Writers.  Copyright 2006 by The Swetky Agency