How do I submit my work for consideration by the Margret McBride Literary Agency?
Please see our Submission Guidelines page.
What is a query letter?
A query letter is usually a one-page letter describing the work you would like us to consider for possible representation.
Will Ms. McBride read my query letter?
Usually a member of the staff or a staff intern reads them first. If they find your letter interesting, he/she will pass it on to another member of the Agency, probably the person most likely to be interested in the topic of the work or the style of the work. If a staff member is interested in seeing more, we will contact you by phone, e-mail or SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope).
What factors are considered?
A project gets our attention when it is a subject we enjoy or are passionate about. Your letter or proposal should be well-written and your ideas are expressed in an organized and thoughtful way.
How long before I will receive a response?
Please allow 6-8 weeks for a response.
What if I sent a query but did not receive a response?
If you sent your work via snail-mail, we do not response unless an SASE (Self-Adressed Stamped Envelope) has been provided. Feel free to send another query letter. We do not track query letters.
If you sent your work via email, it's possible we may not have received it. Feel free to check in via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) after a few weeks have passed.
Is it okay to include sample pages/chapters?
You are welcome to include additional material for us to consider, but please do not mail us originals or anything that is not easily replaceable. We will not be responsible for any items mailed to us that we did not specifically request. If you would like supplementary material returned to you, please be sure to include an SASE with enough postage for its return.
If you are sending supplementary material via email, please note we do not open attachments unless we requested additional material from you.
Can I query more than one agent at the same time?
Yes, send simultaneous submissions. However, please note this in your letter and inform any member of a literary agency who may contact you that you have queried several agents.
Can I meet with Ms. McBride before submitting my work?
Nope. We need to review your material before we get to that step.
Does my manuscript have to be finished before finding an agent?
First-time fiction projects should be complete. Nonfiction projects are considered with a complete proposal.
Do you consider self-published books?
If you pass on my project, will I get feedback or editorial suggestions?
No. Unfortunately we are unable to devote the time that would require.
How long has the Agency been in business?
MMLA has been in business since 1981
What publishers do you work with?
We work with all the major New York publishers but we have also worked with smaller, independent publishers as well. We do not work with so-called "vanity presses."
How many projects will the Agency handle at the same time?
We are a small boutique agency so we must be careful not to take on more than we can handle. As a general rule, we try not to take on more than 10 projects per year.
How much do you charge for your services?
The Agency receives fifteen (15%) commission on all domestic proceeds from the sale of our client's book project to a publisher. This includes all advance and royalty payments for the life of the book.
If we retain translation rights (rather than including them in the sale to the publisher): When a sub-agent is used, for foreign rights sales or other sales, 10% commission is paid to the sub-agent and 15% to our agency. If no sub-agent is used for a foreign rights sale the agency retains 25%.
Aren't all the top literary agencies in New York?
No, there are many very successful agencies throughout the country.
What does an agent do?
Should my work be copyrighted?
As soon as a writer finishes a manuscript, it is automatically protected under copyright law. However, many writers are more comfortable securing an official copyright certificate prior to submitting their works to agents and editors. When a writer sells a project to a publisher, the publisher will register the copyright in the author's name.
How do I know which agent is right for me and my project?
First, find out which agents represent the type of work you have created. Second, trust your instinct. Although agents are a unique and persuasive breed, you should be able to tell whether an agent has read your project and loves it and wants it to become a success. You want an agent who will find an editor who loves your project, too. Of course, always have an agent with a successful sales record, like we do, and one who meets with publishers frequently. There are websites such as www.predatorsnadeditors.com that can show you what to watch out for.
Do I really need an agent?
Yes, if you want to be published by a major publisher. Most editors from publishing houses prefer an author who has representation.
Will I need an attorney also?
If you do, find a publishing attorney. Some attorneys are not familiar with publishing contract language. Your agent should be able to handle the negotiation of the publishing agreement and your attorney will make sure your contract has no conflicts with other contracts you have.
Will you work with me on my project?
MMLA works with authors who have finished projects or proposals. We offer advice on how to polish your project, but we do not edit manuscripts. We can, however, provide referrals for experienced freelance editors.
What kind of advance can you get for me?
This is not a question we can answer until we see what the market is for your project.
Will I get my advance right away?
No, an advance is not received until after the contract is finalized. Sometimes this can take up to a coupe of months, depending on how backed-up a publisher's contracts department is.
After you sell my project, I imagine I'll have to quit my day job to concentrate on my new career, correct?
We do not advise clients to quit their day jobs until their royalty checks exceed their current earnings. There are so many variables in publishing, only time will tell when you can make a living from what you write.
Good luck and much success. Remember, every successful author had the same questions you have right now. Believe in your work and believe in yourself. The rest will follow.