How To Get An Agent & Land A Six-Figure Book Deal

Sometimes I wonder if the best advice for aspiring writers is to get an agent and land a six-figure book deal. If you haven’t heard, publishing houses are interested in books that sell not literary masterpieces or fan favorites. 

That’s where you come in: if your book sells well (and it can!), then everyone involved will make more money because of it (and then they’ll want more books like yours). 

But how do you get an agent? How do you write a book proposal? What makes one good and another bad? And then once all that stuff is done… why would anybody want to publish YOUR book when there are so many others out there vying for attention?

How to Land an Agent & Book Deal w/ Lindsay MacMillan
1. Crafting a compelling book proposal is crucial for attracting literary agents and publishers.
2. Building a strong author platform and online presence can significantly enhance your chances of landing a lucrative book deal.
3. Researching and targeting literary agents who specialize in your genre or niche can lead to more successful submissions.
4. Networking within the publishing industry and attending writing conferences can help you connect with agents and industry professionals.
5. Negotiating the terms of a book deal requires a careful balance between advocating for your interests and maintaining a positive working relationship with publishers.
6. Continuous improvement of your writing skills and staying updated on market trends can set you apart in the competitive world of publishing.
7. Securing a six-figure book deal is an achievement, but sustained success relies on ongoing dedication to your writing and active participation in book promotion.

1. Start With A Really Good Book Proposal

Before you even begin to think about submitting your manuscript to an agent or publisher, you need to have a book proposal. A book proposal is a business plan for your book, and it details every facet of what you intend to write, who will read it (and why they’ll want to), how much money you can make from it, and more.

It should include:

A summary of the book (an elevator pitch)

An outline

A marketing plan

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2. Know Your Genre And Category

Before you get an agent, you need to know your genre and category.

Knowing your market will help you understand what kind of book is going to sell well in that market. It will also help you understand how competitive it is to get a book deal in your chosen category.

If there are too many books like yours out there, or if the market for them isn’t big enough, then getting an agent for one of those books may not be worth the effort. 

But if there aren’t enough books like yours on the market yet, then getting an agent could be just what it takes for your book to break out into something huge!

3. Find A Publisher Who Fits Your Book

Now that you have identified your niche and selected a few agents to query, it’s time to find a publisher. The first thing you need to do is figure out which publishers fit your book. This can be done by researching their catalogs and seeing what kind of books they tend to publish. Do they only publish romance? Or do they also publish speculative fiction?

The second step is looking for publishers who are a good fit for your book. This means finding publishers that specialize in the genre/category of writing that yours falls under (like literary fiction or speculative fiction). 

It also means finding the right type of publisher if you’re writing YA, don’t send queries to adult-only publishing houses; if you’re writing thrillers, don’t send queries to children’s publishing houses; etc.

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4. Research Literary Agents

If you’re serious about getting an agent, it’s time to do some research.

Read literary agents’ blogs and websites. These are usually a great resource for finding out who represents what authors and what sort of books they tend to rep. 

You can also see the kinds of projects that each agent specializes in, so if you want to write something similar to another author they represent, this will be useful information to keep in mind when submitting your work. 

It’s important not only that an agent rep someone whose writing you admire (and why wouldn’t you?), but also within genres or categories in which they’ve had success before for example, if you want your novel published by Random House (a huge publisher), then it would probably help if your literary agent had worked with them before as well!

5. Write The Best Pitch Possible

The term “pitch” can be confusing. Agents and editors often use it to refer to an entire book proposal, but others use it more narrowly to mean just a summary of the story. This confusion tends to make authors nervous about how much work they need to do before sending out their books.

Again: don’t worry about pitching your book with a synopsis or query letter—you’re not going through that process yet! The most important thing right now is that you get your pitch down on paper (or on the screen).

6. Follow Submission Guidelines

You do not have to follow every part of the submission guidelines, but you should always make sure that they are followed before submitting your manuscript. Some agents will accept manuscripts via email, while others only accept them by mail or through an online form. 

You also need to make sure that the correct email address is listed in your query letter (many agents have multiple addresses). Additionally, you should never submit to more than one agent at a time; if an agent requests revisions or calls you personally (which can happen), then you can send them another copy of your work after completing these tasks.

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7. Keep Track Of Submissions

If you want to land a six-figure book deal, you need to keep track of submissions. The best way to do this is by creating a spreadsheet and inputting all the details about each submission in order:

Title of the book

Submission date

Publisher / Agent / Editor’s name

Response (acceptance or rejection) and any additional notes on whether they liked it or not. If they liked your work, keep track of its status after it has been submitted this will help you figure out if/when it might be rejected again as well as what else needs to be fixed before resubmitting your manuscript again so that you don’t waste time on something that’s already been rejected!

8. Listen To Feedback From Editors And Agents

Once you’ve finished your manuscript, it’s time to gather feedback from family members, friends, and other writers in your genre.

After you’ve gotten a wide range of opinions on your work and made any necessary changes to the story, it’s time to submit it to agents and editors but first, you want them to know who exactly they’re dealing with. 

You may have written an amazing novel that will sell millions of copies if only an agent or publisher could get their hands on it, but how can they do that if they don’t even know who wrote it? That’s where bios come into play.

Your bio should be no longer than two pages (one page is preferable). It should include information about what drew you into writing novels in the first place; a little bit about where and when you grew up; 

Maybe some information about what makes your story unique compared with other stories out there; maybe even some info about which books influenced yours (for example JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series inspired me as I was writing my fantasy novels).

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9. Don’t Stalk People You Want To Work With

Don’t stalk people you want to work with. (I have a friend who used to be an agent and she told me the most common thing she got in her inbox was “Hi, I saw on your Facebook page that you’re an agent and I’d like to send my book proposal.”)

If your query letter is rejected or if your manuscript is rejected by every agent, move on. Don’t be angry at them or try to get back at them later. If they don’t want to represent you, it might be because they think other agents will be better suited for what you need as a writer—and that could mean getting an even higher offer than the one before!

Just as importantly: don’t stalk any prospective agents online either especially if they tell you no! After all, stalking someone isn’t going to win their heart over anything else besides maybe the fact that someone wants them dead (which is not a good way of winning anyone over).

10. Make Friends On Social Media With Editors, Agents, And Authors You Admire

The people in the industry are often very approachable online, so take advantage of that opportunity! You can find them on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and start chatting with them about their work, what they like to read, or any other topic that interests you. 

In addition to being a great way to get to know people in this business who can help you out down the line (either by recommending your book or introducing it to an agent), making friends is also just fun you’ll be able to share each other’s successes and commiserate over setbacks.

11. Be Nice To People You Meet At Events And Industry Parties They May Be Your Friends Or Colleagues Later!

You should be nice to everyone, but you especially need to be nice to people you meet at industry events and parties. You never know who they might be later on.

Seriously though, there are so many opportunities for networking with other writers and publishing professionals in this business! And if someone doesn’t have anything for you yet, they may have something, later on, that’ll help you out in some way or another. So don’t alienate yourself from others by acting like a jerk!

It’s important not to act like a snob either even if you do get published first, there’s still a chance that person could end up being more successful than you are (or vice versa). And nobody wants to work with someone who rubs them the wrong way when it comes time for marketing or promotion.

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12. Don’t Believe Anyone Who Says They Can Get You Published, Unless They Work In Publishing

If you want to get published, it’s important not to believe everything you read on the internet. You should also be wary of anything your friends and family tell you about book publishing. The same goes for people who say they can help get your book published.

No matter how much they claim they know what they’re talking about unless that person is a professional in the publishing industry or has attended one of our workshops, then it might be time to start thinking with your head instead of your heart.

13. How To Tell If An Agent Is A Scammer (Don’t Forget This!)

You can gain a lot of insight about an agent by looking at their website, which should have a nice design, contain information about their clients’ work and achievements, and list submission guidelines.

If the agency is new and has no reviews or social media presence yet but wants you to send them your book proposal that’s usually a red flag.

Some agencies charge fees upfront while others don’t. The ones that do will probably be more professional than those who don’t charge anything upfront; however, as long as they’re transparent about how much money they take out of each deal (and why).

It shouldn’t be an issue for you if an agent asks for 15%, 20%, or even 30% of your advance when submitting your manuscript.

14. Expect Rejection If You Are A New Author Most Books Will Not Sell On Their First Or Second Submission Round

You may have heard that agents get anywhere from 500 to 1,000 submissions per month. If you have a new book idea and you’re ready to submit it, expect rejection. A lot of rejection.

You can do everything right and still get rejected by an agent or publisher. It happens all the time! There are many reasons why this might happen:

You submitted too soon (you didn’t give your manuscript enough time for revisions)

The market has changed since you started writing your book (the publishing industry is fickle)

Your topic is too niche (there’s only so much room on bookstore shelves for titles about sword fighting techniques in medieval Europe)

15. Be Professional At All Times Related To Publishing.

Even when it’s not an easy situation for you personally or professionally

Once you’ve landed a book deal, you’re going to be in the spotlight. Your agent and publisher will want to make sure that you’re professional at all times related to publishing even when it’s not an easy situation for you personally or professionally (and it will most likely be one of those). So follow these guidelines:

Be polite and respectful in all of your interactions with agents, editors, authors, and publishers.

Treat other authors with courtesy and respect.

Show gratitude when fans ask for pictures or autographs; never say no unless there’s a good reason (i.e., I’m in the middle of something important).


In short, the key to securing a six-figure book deal is to write the best book you can and then find an agent who will sell it. If you’re looking for an agent, start with this list of reputable agents who are actively seeking new clients.

Further Reading

Paul Jarvis: How I Got a 6-Figure Book Deal Short Description: Explore the journey of Paul Jarvis as he shares his experience and insights on securing a 6-figure book deal, offering valuable lessons for aspiring authors.

How to Get a Six-Figure Book Advance Short Description: Delve into strategies and tactics to secure a substantial book advance in this resource, providing insights and advice for authors aiming for higher returns.

Tips on How to Land That 5 or 6-Figure Book Deal Short Description: Learn actionable tips from seasoned writers on how to increase your chances of landing a 5 or 6-figure book deal, enhancing your success in the publishing world.


How can I improve my chances of landing a high-value book deal?

Enhance your chances by honing your craft, building a strong author platform, and creating a compelling book proposal that showcases the uniqueness of your work.

What factors do publishers consider when offering a six-figure book advance?

Publishers often evaluate an author’s market appeal, previous sales track record, the book’s potential market impact, and the alignment of the book with current trends.

Is securing a six-figure book deal a guarantee of success?

While a substantial advance can be promising, it doesn’t guarantee success. Authors must continue to promote their work, engage with readers, and maintain the quality of their writing to achieve long-term success.

How do I negotiate the terms of a high-value book deal?

Negotiating involves understanding the contract terms, seeking professional advice, and advocating for fair compensation and rights while maintaining a collaborative relationship with the publisher.

What should I focus on after securing a six-figure book deal?

After securing the deal, concentrate on delivering a high-quality manuscript, working closely with your editor, and actively participating in the marketing and promotion efforts to maximize the book’s success.