An Agent Just Requested My Manuscript! Now What?

by | Jun 8, 2011 | Book Marketing Basics

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Don’t panic! Celebrate! Some people wait years to get an agent to actually request to read their materials, whether it be a manuscript or a book proposal. I should know, I’ve helped over a hundred clients get to that first step, and I know exactly how you feel.


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Remember, that this is just the beginning. Your manuscript or book proposal better be good and it better be ready, because you often only get one shot to make the right impression with these agents. This is what you should have been doing while you were waiting for them to reply. If you need it, though, there’s help out there. In fact, there are even former editors from major publishing houses and former agents that are willing to help you whip that manuscript in shape.

Once you’re certain it’s perfect, you’re ready for the next step, which is to note exactly what it is that they are asking for. Often times, they’ll tell you to send the first 10 pages or the first 50 pages. Do exactly as they say. Nothing less, nothing more.

Book crease

Image by liza31337 via Flickr

No, it doesn’t necessarily mean they liked your concept more or less just because they requested to see 10 pages rather than 50, or the full manuscript instead of a partial. They have their own personal reasons, and more often than not, it’s in the best interest of time management.

Make sure that it is properly formatted. If you visit their website, or search Google, you’ll be able to make sure your manuscript is presented in a way that they expect.

Jeff Rivera

Image by adrian.coto via Flickr

Guest post by Jeff Rivera, who is the founder of  With over 100 clients to date, he has a 100% track record of getting at least 10 literary agents to request to read his client’s manuscripts and proposals.



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  1. Sreyoshi Chatterjee

    Dear Sir,
    A literary agent has asked for my full manuscript. I have submitted it to her. I have not received any confirmation email yet. How long should I wait for a reply? What is W8 on file? She has asked whether I have one or not? I have sent the manuscript as an attachment to a cover email. Will that be fine?
    Thanking you,
    Sreyoshi Chatterjee.

    • Penny Sansevieri

      Sorry about this delay – I’m not sure what a W8 is, do you mean W9? Literary agents can sometimes take weeks or months to get back to authors!


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