Howard Yoon

Finding and Working with the Right Literary Agent

Everything you need to know about literary agents, from the query stage to long-term partnerships


Howard Yoon


Live on March 3, 2022, or watch recording


Early career writers seeking an agent


Closed captions by Otter; transcript provided with recording

The first step to being published by the biggest New York-based publishers is to find the right literary agent. But what exactly do agents do and what should you expect from them? This webinar will answer those questions and help you navigate your journey as an author.

Agents serve multiple duties. They know the book market and know how to increase the commercial value of your project. They have trusted relationships with editors at traditional publishing houses and will serve as matchmaker for your book. They’ll also secure the best deal for you, negotiate your publishing contract, handle your subsidiary rights, and even guide you through the publicity and marketing of your book at launch. Great agents serve you every step of the way.

In this 90-minute online class on March 3, literary agent Howard Yoon walks you through the world of agents and traditional publishing. He’ll tell you what agents and book executives really think and what motivates them to make publishing decisions. He’ll talk about how the pandemic shifted market tastes and how people in publishing have adapted to a post-Covid workspace, for better and for worse. He’ll give you valuable insider information that’s candid and refreshingly honest.

Once you understand the business side of publishing, you’ll give yourself that edge you need to find the right agent and publisher—and to set yourself up for success as an author.

This class will discuss:

  • The role of a literary agent and why you need one
  • What book ideas work now and what book ideas have always worked. You’ll get insight into how to hone your idea, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, to make it unique and distinctly your own, but also familiar and universal for the larger market.
  • How to research and land the right agent for you, including tips and hacks that will get you to the right short list of agents to approach
  • How to write a query letter that positions you and your book in the best light
  • How the really good agents earn more than their commission and are necessary for a successful publishing experience
  • What incentives and drivers make agents hustle for their clients
  • What to expect and what to look out for in your agent relationship, and when you should walk away
  • What happens on the publishing side of things after an agent submits your project, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction—including the editorial board meeting and the possible book offer
  • Common components of book deals and what you can expect your agent to negotiate on your behalf
  • What an agent’s responsibility and involvement look like after the contract is signed

Throughout the class, Yoon will address ways in which authors can empower themselves to make the best decisions and be a partner in the process.

Who should take this class

  • Any first-time author of fiction or nonfiction who wants to be published by a large commercial publisher
  • Anyone who has self-published or been published by a smaller press and wants to make that leap to a larger publisher for their next book

Who should NOT take this class

  • Anyone who wants to write and sell their book to a limited audience. The nature of Big Five publishing is to release books that sell to as large an audience as possible. Anyone who wants to write a memoir for their family, or a local or regional book that will have difficulty selling to a national/international audience, may not want to take this course.

What’s included in all of Jane’s classes

How do I attend the live class?

This class uses Zoom webinar technology (see system requirements). 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 1 hour of registering, please contact us.

  • When: Thursday, March 3, 2022
  • Time: 1:00–2:30 p.m. Eastern / 10:00 a.m. Pacific
  • 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 Zoom’s automated closed caption service (powered by Otter), which is about 80%+ accurate. We also use Otter AI to generate an unedited transcript, provided with the recording.

Howard Yoon

About the instructor

Howard Yoon has been in book publishing for 30 years, as a literary agent, book consultant, ghostwriter, and book editor. As a literary agent, he works closely with his clients at every stage of the book process, from book idea to deal to manuscript to launch. His books have been New York Times bestsellers and national award winners. He has won two teaching awards for his narrative nonfiction writing class at the Masters of Journalism program at Georgetown University, and he currently serves as vice president on the board of 826 National, the country’s largest student writing nonprofit that helps teach creative writing to more than 120,000 public school students.

It was the best, most engaging seminar I’ve seen.


Spectacular! Howard covered so much.


Great presentation. More than I bargained for.


All students receive the following

  • Access to the live class. After roughly 75 minutes, Howard will take questions during class using in-class chat/text. The class will end after roughly 90 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 access the recordings.
  • Presentation slides. All participants receive a copy of the slide presentation in PDF form.
  • 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.