How difficult is it for an older writer to find an agent?

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Agents rarely care how old you are. Sure, youth and beauty are a plus, but minor pluses. The work is the thing, that and the marketability factor.
If you're writing a series, it may be an issue.  For a standalone, it shouldn't matter.

I found one in my late 40s and one in my early 50s. That's the definition of anecdotal evidence, but there it is, for what it's worth.

What do you need an agent for?  I've found that they are nothing but gate keepers for a dying industry.  There is more money and publishing opportunities with the world's largest publisher - Amazon.  I believe the days of traditional publishing for crime fiction is almost gone, limited now to established stars, promotional books for upcoming movies, and those who go to cocktail parties in New York.


You'll know I'm right when NO agents respond to say I'm wrong.  The only real hope for newer writers is ebooks.  And that is very exciting because when the only game in town was traditional publishing, we didn't have a chance.

Rant complete.



To be fair I've never seen an agent respond here to anything. (I have seen an editor though.)


It's true one doesn't need an agent to get one's work in front of the public anymore, but I don't think the agenting industry is dying out, only shrinking and morphing.

I was unclear.  They dying industry is traditional publishing for crime fiction.  I agree that agents will adapt.  I just don't see a need for them unless they are negotiating foreign rights or film rights and I'm no where near needing those.
Oh, I love my foreign rights. And I do need them.  At least one of my foreign publishers has given me more support than I ever got from the two big U.S. houses.
Eric, it (agent glut) needed a good paring down, anyway.  Ebooks make us all work harder and compete better. I can't wait to try.

I agree with Brian. Agents are part of the old model and can no longer help authors.

Submit your work directly to editors who can buy your work, then, when a contract comes your way, hire a good IP attorney for a flat rate fee to help you review and negotiate the contract.

As for age. Fifty is young for writers. If you send an editor a story they like, they'll buy it. Age will not be a factor, especially middle age.

As for traditional publishing being done and out -- I'm not there yet. I think there will be a few more years of shaking things out, (same with book stores, and depending on what that model ends up looking like) but I think they will be around and be an important part of the publishing picture for some time to come. Just different.

David DeLee

Fatal Destiny - a Grace deHaviland novel

Yep.  I don't think age matters, unless as I.J. says, you're writing a series and you're eighty-two and pressin' . . .

When you send a query to an agent, you don't usually mention your age. Why would you? So you are accepted or rejected on your work or your submission letter. Usually they don't even reject you; they just don't bother to answer, 'cause they're just too darn busy, don't you know. I've had one or two polite refusals by email, by none by actual letter, the majority just black holes of silence. Anyway, my book was finally accepted directly by a publisher. I agree they might come in handy for foreign rights, movie rights, etc. but by then you've been published and an agent just might look at you then. Of course, there are always exceptions.
Not if they've got a great manuscript.


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