Reviewed By Stephanie Green
Copyright © 2008 by Stephanie Green, All Rights Reserved
The brainchild of writer and web developer Christopher Hawkins, LitMatch:
Literary Agent Directory, Response Times, and Submission Tracking is
proud to be run by writers for writers. Their aim is simple; to be the
largest and most up-to-date directory of literary agents and agencies on
the net. As this article went to print, LitMatch listed a searchable
database of 1,680 agents in 774 agencies, so they're well on their way
to achieving that goal.
LitMatch has several features that set it apart from other agent
databases. First of all, they've incorporated an advanced agent and
agency search. This programme allows you to search for agents via their
authors (to find out who represents your favourites), genre, keywords,
country, agents with blogs, members of the AAR and other organisations,
agents with websites, agents accepting email submissions ... the list
goes on. Each agent listing contains useful information: the sex of the
agent (important for correctly addressing those queries), the genres
they represent, their listed authors, submissions guidelines, and
response times. Agents can edit their listings to ensure all information
is kept up-to-date and accurate.
But the features don't stop there. You can sign up to the site as an
author, enter the titles of your manuscripts, and track your submissions
directly through LitMatch. When you update your submission information,
it updates the statistics on the site, so you're adding to the resource.
If you know something about an agent that isn't listed, you can send it
to the moderators to look at. Authors can also leave comments about
agents, either as private notes for themselves ('possibly Miss Snark's
secret identity', 'don't touch with a ten foot writer-pole', etc.) or
public comments for other authors ('Agent Such-and-such was polite and
helpful', 'Highly recommended!', etc.)
When you log on to the site you can view your submission statistics at a
glance: the titles of your books, how many submissions you've made, how
many are pending, and your overall percentage of positive submissions.
When you have a lot of material out at once, these statistics can help
give you an idea of which submission packages are working, and when it's
time to revise your query letters.
They've included a comprehensive FAQ to answer any site-related or
submission-related questions. LitMatch even runs a blog updating writers
on issues like beginning the querying process, following submission
guidelines, and avoiding scams.
LitMatch strives to keep their information concise, accurate, and
unoffending. They screen comments made on agent listings before these
can go public, and ensure all submissions statistics are in general
terms only. Privacy of authors and agents has been one of their
concerns, and they've dealt with the issue well.
Both the search function and the submission tracking system are easy to
use and effective. The added features -- particularly the addition of
agents' sex and the searchable client listings -- set LitMatch apart
from other agency databases on the net. I think LitMatch is on to a
winning formula and highly recommend this as a resource for writers.