Research Agents and Publishers Like a Pro

research agents and publishers like a pro

This class is now over and is unavailable for purchase. Sign up to receive announcements about upcoming classes.

Learn how to efficiently research and assemble a quality list of agents and publishers who are right for your book.

You have a polished manuscript or book proposal, and you’re ready to start pitching agents and publishers. But how do you figure out who to submit to? And how do you evaluate the quality of the agents and publishers you do find?

In this 60-minute live class on September 9, taught by Jane Friedman, you’ll learn not only how to research agents and editors using a variety of online resources, but also how to evaluate fit and reputation, so that you don’t unwittingly end up with a schmagent or a publisher that’s really a self-publishing service.

This workshop will cover:

  • Specific free and paid sites you can use to research agents and publishers
  • The role of social media in researching agents and publishers, as well as pitching
  • The role of Google in surfacing quality agents and publishers (tip: never, ever click on the ads!)
  • How to evaluate the agents and publishers you find, determine if they belong on your hit list, and avoid potential scams
  • Using your research to help improve your query or pitch
  • A methodical process for submitting work (tip: don’t submit to agents and publishers at the same time)
  • If and when you should ignore the submission guidelines of agents and publishers
  • “Back door” methods of pitching agents or publishers

Who should take this class

  • First-time and unpublished authors who are preparing to submit their work to agents
  • Traditionally published authors who are shopping around for a new agent or publisher
  • Self-published and hybrid published authors who plan to pitch agents or editors for their next work
  • Authors of any genre and category
  • Creative writing students and graduates of MFA programs who want to learn how to research agents and publishers

Important: This workshop is for authors seeking publication in the U.S. market. It is not suitable for UK-based authors who want to research the UK market, Australian authors who want to research the Australian market, and so on. However, Canadian authors will find that some of the same resources apply to them.

Authors in overseas markets, such as the Australia or the UK, often believe their home market is too small, and therefore want to pitch U.S. agents and publishers. However, it’s generally better to start in your home country first, especially if your characters, settings, and themes are tied to your home country. If your book is not culture-specific, however, and you discover an agent overseas who you think is the perfect fit, then there’s no harm in pitching as you would an agent or publisher in your home country.

How do I know if this webinar is worth the cost?

This is an important question, and it’s a tough one to answer—especially since so much online education is available free of charge. Furthermore, every student is different, and a valuable webinar for one person can end up being a disappointment to another. For this reason, we offer full refunds if you register, attend the entire class, and fail to get the information you were looking for. Please email us directly to request a refund.

Do I have to attend the live class?

No. Everyone who registers will get access to the recording. However, if you’d like to attend live, keep reading.

How do I attend the live class?

This class uses Zoom webinar technology. You will join through your Internet-connected computer or mobile device. When you register, you will receive information via email on how to join the class. If you don’t receive it within 10 minutes of registering, please contact us.

  • When: Wednesday, September 9, 2020
  • Time: 1 p.m.–2 p.m. Eastern Time / 10 a.m. Pacific Time
  • Fee: $25

The webinar is broadcasted via the internet with live audio delivered through your computer or mobile device speakers. The visual presentation is displayed directly from the presenter’s computer to your computer screen. The Q&A is managed through a chat-style submission system with questions read and answered by the presenter for the entire class to hear.

Closed captions are provided during the live class. We use Rev’s automated closed caption service, which is about 80%+ accurate. For students joining the class through the Zoom app on a mobile device, you can disable the closed captions by going to your settings and turning off closed captions.

Jane Friedman

About the instructor

Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in business strategy for authors and publishers. She is the former head of Writer’s Digest and oversaw the Writer’s Market annual guidebooks, which published market listings of publishers and agents for 100 years.

Jane is the author of The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press); Publishers Weekly said that it is “destined to become a staple reference book for writers and those interested in publishing careers.”

In addition to being a columnist with Publishers Weekly and a professor with The Great Courses, Jane maintains an award-winning blog for writers at; her expertise has been featured by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, PBS, CBS, the National Press Club and many other outlets.

Thank you for a well-presented and enlightening webinar on publishing. I have taken twelve-sessions-long university courses that did not cover that much material. As well, thank you for answering all questions, including mine, after the session was closed.

Lise Lévesque


Don’t ever underestimate Jane Friedman, former publisher of Writer’s Digest. She is one of the most knowledgeable people on the planet on the publishing industry, and she just gets smarter and smarter with every passing day. She also understands intuitively and instinctively, when there are rules, when there are no rules, and when people should be conscientious and kind anyway.

Christina Katz


Jane eats, breathes, and focuses almost all her waking hours on the publishing industry. She attends conferences, talks to agents, meets with authors, teaches classes, reads prolifically.

Debra Marrs


You’ll receive the following

  • Access to the 60-minute interactive class. After 45-60 minutes, Jane will take questions using in-class chat/text. The class will end after roughly 60-75 minutes.
  • A recording of the class—audio and video. This is especially helpful if you have a conflict with the class time or something comes up and you can’t make the session. Each registration comes with access to the archived version of the program and the materials for 30 days. You do not have to attend the live event to get a recording of the presentation.
  • Presentation slides. All participants receive a copy of the slide presentation in PDF form.
  • Additional answers to questions, if needed. If there isn’t time for Jane to answer all the questions during the live event, she will answer them in writing afterward. All participants will receive the answers with the follow-up recording.
  • Rough transcript. We use Otter to create an automated transcript of the entire webinar, which we’ll share with you in addition to the audio and video recording.

Event Attendance & Anti-Harassment Policy

We strive to provide an environment where all present—whether attendee, presenter, or staff—can feel supported. In order to ensure a welcoming event, here is what we expect from all who participate.

  • That the presenter and the presenter’s work be treated with respect by attendees and that all attendees treat each other with respect and a generosity of spirit.
  • That attendees will refrain from harassment of any sort including (but not limited to) comments or questions of a racist, homophobic, sexist/sexual, or threatening nature. This includes actions that disrupt or interfere with anyone’s ability to participate. Offenders will be disconnected from the live event.

System Requirements to Join the Webinar

We will be using Zoom webinar technology.

You’ll need:

  • An internet connection: broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE)
  • Speakers: built-in or USB plug-in or wireless Bluetooth

Recommended bandwidth:

  • 600kbps (down) for high-quality video and 1.2 Mbps (down) for HD video
  • If you connect through audio only: 60-80kbps (down)

Supported operating systems:

Supported tablet and mobile devices:

  • Surface PRO 2 running Win 8.1
  • Surface PRO 3 running Win 10
  • iOS and Android devices
  • Blackberry devices

Supported browsers:

  • Windows: IE 11+,  Edge 12+, Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+
  • Mac: Safari 7+, Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+
  • Linux: Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+

For a detailed listing of system requirements, check Zoom’s site.