‘The problem now is that it is very, very difficult to get an agent. That’s partly because once the publishers stopped accepting unsolicited submissions, they started to pour into the agencies, and the agencies have even fewer staff than publishers. Unfortunately, in my experience agents are a lot less approachable than the publishers used to be. And I’m afraid that in many cases they lack basic courtesy.
I wrote to five agents after I’d written my first thriller and not one even bothered to reply. Even when I had three books in print and was trying to get and agent for The Chinaman, only two agents out of six replied to my letter. If they won’t even reply to a published author and former Fleet Street journalist, what chance does a first-time writer have?
I get emails every week from frustrated writers who are simply being ignored by agents. But because publishers won’t accept unsolicited manuscripts any more, I’m afraid you have no choice – you will have to get an agent. And you’re just going to have to accept that getting an agent is no easy task, no matter how good a writer you are or how good your book is. I’m sorry, but that’s the cold hard truth of modern-day publishing.’