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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

We receive many inquiries here at Willenfield Literary Agency, so we strongly encourage prospective clients to read our FAQ before contacting us.

What exactly does a literary agent do?

Like lawyers, accountants, and other professionals, literary agents provide expertise that has professional value. Agents represent authors and their works to publishers and manage the rights to authors’ book projects. They negotiate contracts on the author’s behalf and can also manage and plan their career. Agents also provide their clients with a robust understanding of the business side of publishing.

Do I really need an agent?

Not absolutely. If a publisher you are targeting does not accept unsolicited submissions, then you most likely need one. You probably need an agent if you would prefer not to deal with the complex and time-consuming technical, legal, and business aspects of book publishing.

I have a question. Can I call to get my answer?

All phone calls must be scheduled in advance. Email is our preferred method of communication. Please direct general inquiries to info@willenfield.com.

What categories do you specialize in?

Broadly, we specialize in high-quality contemporary literature and writing—literary fiction (novels and full-length short story collections) and literary nonfiction.

Are there any categories or genres you do not handle?

Screenplays, stage plays, poetry, genre fiction (such as historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, horror, crime, thriller, romance, and western), children’s literature, young adult literature, religious fiction, practical religion and spirituality, inspirational and self-improvement books, erotica, business, scholarly works, reference guides, true crime, cookbooks, illustrated books, and books with a strictly local or regional audience.

What makes Willenfield different from other agencies out there?

Our emphasis on innovative, cutting-edge literary projects of enduring quality.

What do you look for in a project?

We strive to represent the best writing we can find across both literary fiction and literary nonfiction, regardless of the subject matter. That said, we are also interested in work that can be marketed in many media and territories around the world.

Are you interested in experimental work? What about hybrid forms?

Experimental and hybrid forms are welcome in addition to standard forms—across both literary fiction and literary nonfiction.

Are you currently accepting queries?

We are currently building our list and enthusiastically welcome queries from writers seeking representation for high-quality literary fiction and literary nonfiction projects.

Do you accept queries from writers living in the United States or other countries?

Yes. We are nationality agnostic, so we welcome queries from all countries.

Do you accept submissions by regular mail?

We only accept electronic submissions, via email. Submissions received via regular mail or courier will be recycled unopened.

Do you accept everyone seeking representation?

We are a boutique literary agency with a very specific focus. It means we have to be highly selective and can only offer representation for work that is absolutely right for us.

My book is already published, but I retain the subsidiary rights. Can you represent me for just those rights?

No. We cannot handle the subsidiary rights to a project unless we are also handling the print publishing rights.

Can I email my manuscript to you?

No. Unsolicited manuscripts will not be reviewed. For more information, please refer to our submission guidelines.

I have just completed the first draft of my novel. Can I send sample chapters from this?

No. We only want to see chapters from a fully revised and polished manuscript.

Any submissions-related tips?

Make sure you read the guidelines carefully and adhere to them. And make every effort to submit a professionally presented, typo-free query.

How do you make representation decisions?

When you submit a query we review it against the following criteria: quality and clarity of the query, literary merit of the project and significance, freshness and originality of the project, and project viability and publishing potential.

I received a rather encouraging rejection email. Does that mean I should revise and resubmit?

Unless we specifically asked you to resubmit, please do not.

Do you charge reading fees?

No. Willenfield Literary Agency is committed to the highest standards in literary representation and management. We do not charge reading fees; neither do we charge for our time and expense in reviewing, editing, and developing projects for sale.

What is your acceptance procedure?

If we are interested in representing your work, we will send you an offer of representation by email. We will also send a review copy of our standard agency agreement for perusal so you may understand the terms and scope of representation. In addition, we will arrange a time to connect via telephone and go over the terms and discuss the practicalities of representation. Once the agreement paperwork is signed by both parties, then the agency-client relationship is established.

Does Willenfield Literary Agency use a written agreement?

Yes. Prospective clients will be required to sign an agreement that defines the terms of our working relationship and the scope of representation.

What rights do you handle?

Willenfield Literary Agency offers a comprehensive service. Domestic (Canadian and American) rights will be sold directly, while specialist subagents will be engaged for the sale of international and subsidiary rights.

What are your commission rates?

Our agency commission is 15% for domestic (Canadian and American) sales, 20% for sales of film and television rights, and 20% to 25% for international rights sales.

What expenses are clients responsible for?

We may charge clients the costs of large photocopying jobs or for buying books or galleys for manuscript or book proposal submissions, long-distance courier services, and international or long-distance telephone services. All such expenses must be approved by the author.

What are your response times?

We aim to respond to queries within 6 to 8 weeks for fiction and within 4 to 8 weeks for nonfiction. Due to the large volume of submissions we receive daily, it is not always possible for us to provide a written response to every query. If you have not received a response within the given time frame, it unfortunately indicates that we do not intend to pursue your project for representation. For full manuscript requests, our response time is between 4 to 6 weeks.

Do you offer any internships?

Not currently.

Need further information? Email us at info@willenfield.com.