Many writers believe they must have a literary agent in order to get published, but this is not always the case. There are approximately thirty agents in Canada and, because there are so few, it can be difficult to find an agent who will represent you. Competition for agents is tough, but keep in mind that approximately eighty percent of published Canadian writers do not have agents at all.
Please note that many agents only accept query letters and not unsolicited manuscripts. Before submitting manuscripts to literary agents, check the submission guidelines on their websites to learn about their submission requirements and areas of interest/specialization. Some agencies do not accept unsolicited manuscripts at all, but rather require an introduction from a more seasoned writer.
After reviewing your work, the agency will decide whether or not to represent you. The Union's booklet Author and Literary Agent contains a list of questions to ask your agent, and should help you to reach an agreement. Be sure you have a letter of agreement or contract with the agent outlining the terms of your arrangement.
Your manuscript should be finished and very polished before you try to find an agent. Unless they request a revised manuscript, assume that agents who have rejected an unpolished draft will not want to look at a more polished one. Most agents receive hundreds of submissions a day from prospective new clients.
One way to get assistance in polishing your manuscript before you submit it to an agent or publisher is through The Writers' Union of Canada’s fee-based Manuscript Evaluation Service.
In addition to Canadian agents listed below, check out the listings under “Agents and Attorneys” at Preditors and Editors. There you will find information about American and British agents, most of whom are willing to consider the work of Canadian writers.
Canadian Literary Agents
This list is provided for convenience only and does not constitute a recommendation by TWUC of any of the services offered by the persons or agencies listed.
RICK BROADHEAD AND ASSOCIATES
THE BUKOWSKI AGENCY
14 Prince Arthur Avenue, Suite 202
Toronto, Ontario M5R 1A9
Agent: Denise Bukowski
Unsoliciteds: No; submit query by mail
THE COOKE AGENCY INC.
320 Front Street West, Suite 1105
Toronto, Ontario, M5V 3B6
For contact information and submission guidelines please visit the website www.cookeagency.ca
Agents: Dean Cooke, Sally Harding, Suzanne Brandreth, Ron Eckel, Rachel Letofsky
Unsoliciteds: Queries only, no mss. See website for submission guidelines.
THE HELEN HELLER AGENCY INC.
4-216 Heath St W.
Toronto, Ontario, M5P 1N7
Agents: Helen Heller
Queries only: Commercial and literary fiction and non-fiction.
ANNE McDERMID and ASSOCIATES LTD.
83 Willcocks Street
Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1C9
Literary and commercial fiction and non-fiction. No children's literature.
Submission Guidelines: submit written application and sample writing with SASE
(No electronic submissions or unsolicited manuscripts.)
P.S. LITERARY AGENCY
20033-520 Kerr Street
L6K 3C7 CANADA
(No longer accept submissions via mail)
(Do not send email attachments unless specifically requested. )
THE PAMELA PAUL AGENCY INC.
12 Westrose Ave.
Toronto, Ontario, M8X 1Z9
Agent: Pamela Paul
Film and TV writers, film rights, children's fiction, literary fiction, playwrights.
Unsoliciteds: By referral only.
BELLA POMER AGENCY INC.
355 St. Clair Avenue West
Toronto, Ontario, M5P 1N5
Agent: Bella Pomer
Unsoliciteds: No; not accepting new clients.
BEVERLEY SLOPEN LITERARY AGENCY
#711, 131 Bloor Street W.
Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1S3
Agent: Beverley Slopen
Unsoliciteds: No unsoliciteds; tends not to handle illustrated or children's manuscripts.
CAROLYN SWAYZE LITERARY AGENCY
7360 - 137th Street
Surrey, BC, V3W 1A3
Agents: Carolyn N. Swayze, Kris Rothstein
Unsoliciteds: Queries only, no mss. Submit query by mail with resume, brief synopsis of available work, first few chapters and SASE. Full proposal required for non-fiction. No phone queries.
TRANSATLANTIC LITERARY AGENCY (TLA)
2 Bloor Street East
Toronto, ON, M4W 1A8
Principal Agents: David Bennett, Lynn Bennett, Don Sedgwick, Shaun Bradley, Samantha Haywood, Marie Campbell.
WESTWOOD CREATIVE ARTISTS
94 Harbord Street
Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1G6
Established: 1995 (incorporating Sterling Lord & Lucinda Vardey agencies, established 15+ years)
Principal Agent: Bruce Westwood
Unsoliciteds: Queries by email only, no mss. Do not handle screenwriters.