Our Comprehensive Search + Query Guide

We’re here to help you make the biggest, best list of agents who may be a good fit for your work–and show you how to approach them in a way that shows your research and gets their attention.

Below, you’ll find the best ways to search #MSWL on Twitter and ManuscriptWishList.com.

We’ll walk you through:

  • One-click Smartlinks
  • Custom Genre Searches
  • Twitter Advanced Search
  • Saving #MSWL tweets that may be a good fit
  • Submission Guidelines
  • Showing Your Work

Not tech savvy? Don’t worry! We promise you can do this. 

Here are our favorite methods:

One-click Smartlinks

Probably the easiest way to search ManuscriptWishList.com, these smartlinks will automatically search for you to find agents who represent work like yours.

Even better, as we add new agent profiles (and there are a LOT on the way), they will automatically appear in the correct link below. 

Here are some of the most frequently searched genres, age groups, and keywords. Please click, below, to see a list of agents who represent them.

Please note: You will need to scroll down to see search results.

Picture Books
Middle Grade
Young Adult
Women’s Fiction/Romance
Science Fiction/Fantasy
LGBTQ (fiction)
LGBTQ (nonfiction)
Pop Culture

Custom Searches

You can also, of course, search for exactly what you’re looking for.

Let’s say you’re a writer seeking an agent, and your manuscript is a biography of a historical figure.

We recommend that you check all boxes that could apply, so in the example below, “Agent,” “Biography,” and “History” are checked.

Custom Search Steps:

  1. Check the appropriate boxes (agent/editor, genre, age group)
  2. Hit Search
  3. Scroll down to view results

Twitter Advanced Search

To make sure you’ve found all of your possibilities, we also recommend you perform a Twitter Advanced Search.

Type #MSWL into the hashtag field, some keywords after “Any of these words,” and hit Search.

Keep in mind that you will want to use related words, just in case that’s what the agent or editor used to describe something similar. You’ll have a lot of #MSWL tweets to choose from–which is great!

Many people ask for amazingly specific things, so the more tweets you see, the better.

For example, if you’re writing a book about cats, you could try this search:

Saving Tweets (And Agents!) That May Be A Good fit

We know you’ll likely be overwhelmed with amazing, interesting content all day–how (without copying and pasting–though you could do that too) will you save all this info?

The classic approach: Heart your favorites! This will both make an automatic, one-click list for you–and make the agents feel good, too.

You can always view your favorites on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/[your Twitter name here]/likes. For example, you can see the things Margaret Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) likes by going to https://twitter.com/MargaretAtwood/likes

The tech-savvy approach! This comes from the lovely and talented Brittany Constable (follow her at https://twitter.com/constablewrites). She says: If you’re like me and not quite ready to start submitting, you can save tweets in Tweetdeck! Create a new column for collection, then use the four-way arrow to drag tweets into it, or click the ellipsis and say “Add to collection”

Ensuring Each Agent Is Still A Good Fit

Once you’ve created a list of possible agents (good job!), it’s smart to do the following:

  • Click the “See my latest #MSWL tweets” button on their profile. This will show you their very most recent wishes. Do they still match your manuscript? Proceed.
  • Before you send, check that agent’s agency website. This is the most likely place to find their most up-to-date submission guidelines.
  • You can find this button on every ManuscriptWishList.com profile. Click it, and you’ll see that person’s #MSWL tweets.

What To Do With All Of This Information

Generally, if an agent wants a project enough to ask for it on #MSWL, that means s/he will be happy to see that tweet referenced in the opening of your query letter. You can even, if you’re feeling fancy, link directly to their tweet–or just quote a line or so of it in your pitch.

For example, if this is the #MSWL tweet that fits your story:

You could write:

Dear Ms. Robinson,

I noticed your #MSWL tweet asking for witches with real human emotions. My work…[rest of query letter]

Just please make sure your logic makes sense. If they’re asking for a nonfiction book about 17th-century tulip mania (it’s a real thing! Worth a Google), don’t cite their tweet when pitching your contemporary novel that happens to mention a tulip bouquet on page 153.

Because so many writers make large logical leaps, if you include a (short! One line or so) explanation of why you think this will be a good fit, that can help. Some agents specifically ask for this in their submission guidelines.

What Do I Do If…?

Here are the questions we receive the most:

What if I see the perfect #MSWL tweet, but it’s a year old?

In most cases, wishes do not expire. Yes, the market does change–and it’s not quite as likely the agent is still looking for this if some time has gone by–but we still think it’s worth sending.

What if my manuscript is JUST like a #MSWL tweet…that’s from an editor?

In most cases, editors at Big Five houses only accept agented submissions, and editors at smaller presses will accept submissions directly from agents. Generally, their websites will specify, usually in a Submission Guidelines section.

However, a #MSWL tweet from an editor–especially a Big Five editor–can help you with agents. If you mention in your query that “[Editor name] at [big five house] mentioned looking for [short description and link],” this can pique agent interest. Please only do this, again, if it is very clear their wish is applicable to your work.

While agents often prefer that you submit to agents, exhaust all of your options there, and only then submit to editors, direct submissions to editors who accept them are a good path to publication for many. Please make sure they accept unagented submissions before you send.

Further Resources

If, like many writers, you’re often on the go, we have a podcast so you can learn about publishing while also driving, cooking, cleaning, and going about your day.

The podcast is FREE, and brought to you by #MSWL’s educational sister company, The Manuscript Academy. You can either download (with iTunes) or stream (with Soundcloud).

Most episodes are agent and interviews, #TenQueries episodes, and/or first pages analysis–with lessons for everyone. If you’d like to submit your first page for consideration, send it (as a Word doc, please) to Academy at ManuscriptWishList dot com.