free literary agent databases
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6 free literary agent databases for fiction and nonfiction

It's never been easier to identify agents who might represent your book, thanks to these free literary agent databases and other resources.

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Associates links, which means if you click on them and make a purchase, I will receive a couple of pennies (at no extra charge to you).

Looking for a traditional publishing contract?

You need a literary agent.

A good agent will work hard to sell your book to a publisher and negotiate a larger advance and better contract than you would for yourself.

A good agent will work hard to sell your book to a publisher and negotiate a larger advance and better contract than you would for yourself.Click to tweet

What’s more, many editors – particularly those at the biggest publishers – prefer working with agents. They know that agents filter out work that isn’t publishable by vetting the author’s book concept and writing in advance.

They also know that agents speak the lingo and understand the process. There’s no need to educate them on the process or what to expect.

An agent is your publishing advocate

In addition, without an agent, an author has no advocate when it comes to contract negotiations.

The publisher generates the publishing contract, which by nature focuses on that company’s best interests.

Do you know enough about book publishing agreements to negotiate a fair and balanced contract for yourself?


Then keep in mind that a literary agent works to get the best deal for the author, because that’s also the best deal for the agent.

A literary agent works to get the best deal for the author, because that’s also the best deal for the agent.Click to tweet

Free literary agent databases

Now that you know you need an agent, here are six free literary agent databases that will help you find one along with a few other helpful resources.

The databases are listed in alphabetical order. Click on the database name to go to the resource.

1. AgentQuery

This free database is one of the largest searchable resources available. Search it by keyword, nonfiction genre, and fiction genre.

The site’s detailed advice on how to write an agent query letter includes helpful examples.

2. Association of American Literary Agents 

This trade group formerly known as the Association of Authors’ Representatives lets you search its member database by agent name and genre/category. To search, select “Find an Agent” in the upper right.

Members must meet experience requirements and adhere to its ethics code. I find this reassuring.

3. List of Literary Agents

You have to provide your email address to get access to this database.

Do that by registering using the form on the right under the stock photo of people who don’t look like literary agents. On the confirmation page, click the large “enter” button on the right . Once you “enter” the membership area, select “The Directory of Literary Agents.”

There, use the drop-down menu to search for your fiction or nonfiction genre/category to get a list of agents.

4. Manuscript Wish List

I love this resource. It has a clean and simple look and everything is written with a smile.

Skip right to “The Comprehensive Search and Query Guide” to get instructions for all of your search options on one page. Easy, easy, easy, thanks to the editors.

5. Poets & Writers Literary Agent Database

It’s a three-step process.

First, select from a list of 32 genres and categories that starts with autobiography/memoir and ends with young adult. Then select whether you want agents that allow electronic submissions (of course you do). Then hit “filter.”

This resource seems particularly useful for fiction authors.

6. QueryTracker

One of Writer’s Digest’s top websites for 15 years (including 2023), QueryTracker gives you free access to a searchable database of more than 1,600 agents. The only requirement is that you join the site by providing your email address.

Free membership also includes query tracking tools.

Other resources for finding a literary agent

You don’t need to limit your search to these literary agent databases, either. Other options include:

One of my favorite methods is to read the acknowledgements of similar books to find out if the author thanked the agent (they usually do). The agent is likely to be open to more projects and proposals in that genre or category or about that topic.

(As you write that mandatory nonfiction book proposal to share with prospective agents, be sure to use our free Book Marketing Plan Template and instructions to help you craft the essential marketing section.)

Just remember: If your book is good enough to get a contract with a legacy book publisher that pays advances, ignore the voices around you saying, “You don’t need an agent!”

Because you do.

Do you have a literary agent? How did you find yours? Tell us in a comment! 

(Editor’s note: This article was first published in February 2019. It has been updated and expanded.)

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  1. Priceless links, Sandy, thank you so much for sharing them. I normally use AgentQuery, but now I’ll search through the others too. Love your site & blog! (I often share your links and blog posts with my writing colleagues.)

    1. I’m so glad this post is helpful, Kerry! You’re welcome. And thanks for sharing links from time to time — I really appreciate that.


    1. Literary agents are paid on a commission basis. They earn a percentage of your advance from the publisher and a percent of any royalties if you earn them. This means that if they don’t sell your book to a publisher, they don’t earn anything. And that’s why they’re selective about who they represent. They need to feel confident they can sell the book — otherwise, they’re wasting their time.


    1. I looked up how the writers get paid online. It says that they pay the writers under the table. Is that true?

      1. Who says writers are paid under the table? I’d love to see that link. No, it’s not true.


      1. Once we find an agent and or book gets published do we have to pay back the agent we were working with?

        1. Anonymous, if you’re consid working with an agent, you’ll want to first spend time researching how they work. Here’s information on how literary agents are paid:


  2. I need a literary agent to help with financing my second book My Loving heart.The book was reviewed by Dorrance publishing and excepted. I want to find a way to pay for publishing it.

  3. I have recently wrote a novel fiction, and completed the sequel to the first book. I need help because I’m computer illiterate,and don’t know where to begin.

  4. Happy New Year
    I appreciate your efforts on behalf of authors re agent info.
    joan ramirez


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