How Not to Get an Agent

When I was writing, revising, and querying my first book, I wasn’t on Twitter yet. I didn’t know what not to do, so I learned the hard way about everything embarrassing.

So, if you really want to not get an agent after you finish writing a book, here’s an easy checklist to make sure you’re on the right (wrong) track:

  1. After you finish your first draft, only have friends and family read it. (Or, better, don’t have anyone read it at all.) If you don’t have anyone who knows anything about writing read it, you’ll never know about your book’s flaws. And since even seasoned writers write first drafts full of flaws, your book is sure to have them. If you want to avoid getting an agent, it’s best to send your book off into their inbox full of those flaws.
  2. After making minimal revisions, send a query letter that is three pages long. Yes, I did this! And it definitely didn’t get me an agent.
  3. Query soon after completing your first draft. You don’t want to wait to not get an agent! Why spend years perfecting your draft if you could get rejection now?
  4. Make silly, unprofessional jokes in your query letter. The agent will be sure to ignore anything that comes after them!
  5. When trying to figure out what a query letter is and how to write one, do a basic Google search rather than zeroing in on the magnificent website, Query Shark. That way you’ll find advice from a wide variety of people, most of whom are not experts.
  6. Avoid joining Twitter.

Of course, there were many mistakes I didn’t make, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make those mistakes! If you’re really serious about not getting an agent, you could try

  1. Not researching the agents you query to find out if they even represent the genre and age range your book fits into
  2. Responding rudely to a rejection from an agent
  3. Querying 100 agents all at once without finding out if your query letter works first
  4. Overlooking typos and grammatical errors in your query letter

Honestly, the possibilities are endless! If you really want to remain unagented, I’m sure you’ll find your own creative way to do it, just as I have.

Best of luck to you.


  1. Curious about needed to be on Twitter to get an agent. Is it just to build a following so that your eventual book will have an starter audience?

  2. Honestly, platform doesn’t matter much unless you write nonfiction. But Twitter, as much of a cesspool it can be, has taught me SO much about writing, the publishing world, trends in the market, query letter writing, what agents look for, etc., etc. Basically, it’s just a bunch of (very left-wing) authors, agents, and editors talking all the time about writing and the business surrounding it, as well as about (very left-wing) politics. I really could do without the politics, but I get so much out of the writing conversations that I stay. I just try to limit my time there so I don’t get grouchy.

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