…I don’t represent poets.
Few U.S. literary agents represent poetry. I won’t add insult to injury by explaining why.
Every year, I receive queries from poets, so it can’t hurt to post the form letter I send in reply, just in case a writer somewhere is conducting online research in the hope of having a book-length collection of poetry published by a respected literary press in the U.S.
The market for books of poetry is entirely different in languages other than English and in other parts of the world, but I’m monolingual, and the poets who contact me usually write in English.
To poets who ask if I’ll consider being their agent (a form letter)
If you’re reading this form reply from Robin Mizell Ltd., chances are you haven’t seen the agency’s website, RobinMizell.com, which provides up-to-date query guidelines. I don’t represent poets. A small number of agents work with the most celebrated poets, but most poets work directly with the publishers of their work.
In many cases, in order to have a book of poetry accepted by a traditional publisher, first you must have your poems published in highly respected literary journals and poetry anthologies. I can’t stress enough the importance of submitting your work only to the best small magazines and presses. The Poets & Writers website lists literary journals and contest deadlines. I think you’ll find its online resources helpful.
If you truly wish to pursue the idea of having a literary agent, then you should look for submission or query guidelines on literary agencies’ websites before contacting them. If poetry is not listed as a category of manuscripts an agent is seeking, then that agent is not looking for new poets to represent.
Learn which literary agencies might be seeking new poets as clients by reviewing the agency listings on free networking sites like these:
Your local library also will have guidebooks such as Poet’s Market. There’s no need to purchase the book. You can borrow it from the library nearest you. Find the closest library by searching WorldCat.org.
Good luck with your endeavors.
If you’re reading this blogpost and can suggest improvements or additions to this form letter, please let me know, either via email or in the comments section. Is there a reliable online resource for writers who want to learn how to find reputable publishers for their poetry?