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Life After the MFA Series
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A notebook with the words "Life After The MFA" written in it, surrounded by flowers
May 2022
And we’re back with your latest installment of the Life After the MFA email series! Today we’ll tackle how to snag a literary agent.
To get us started, Poets & Writers offers a detailed overview of the start-to-finish process of Publishing Your Book, where you’ll find information on small presses versus large publishers, the ins and outs of the submission process, how to craft book proposals, the contents of a standard book contract, and much more.

However, P&W’s guide also points out that publishing houses do not consider unagented manuscripts. So how do you get your work in the hands of an agent so they can get it in the hands of publishers? Let’s dig in:
In our Writer to Agent Webinar Series, agents from Folio Literary Management, along with guest agents, editors, and authors, talk publishing. Find these episodes and more on the AWP website:
Over the years, many panels at the annual AWP Conference have focused on the process of finding a home for writers’ completed manuscripts. We have included three from our Podcast Series here that speak specifically to the relationships between agents, editors, and writers:
  • Author & Editor: The Relationship that Builds a Book presents writers Jess Walter, Chuck Palahniuk, and Monica Drake, alongside editor Calvert Morgan of HarperCollins, who “discuss the alchemy behind creating such great works of fiction as Beautiful Ruins and Doomed. More than just a conversation on the nuts and bolts of getting a book published, they will look at how the author/editor relationship affects the novel on the shelf.”
  • And How to Begin after ‘The End’: Publishing Pros on Turning Your Manuscript into a Book presents a panel of agents and editors discussing “practical advice for literary writers whose novels, memoirs, and collections are ready to meet the world.”
  • In Agents Without Borders, West Coast agents Betsy Amster, Elise Capron, Rebecca Friedman, Aimee Liu, and Angela Rinaldi discuss the benefits of finding literary representation based outside of New York.

That’s plenty for now! Next month we’ll look at what goes into publishing your writing.
Warmest wishes,

Your AWP Membership Team