New Age is a grab bag category in publishing. Angels, astrology, magic, paganism, Native American spirituality and Eastern traditions are just a few topics considered New Age material. The category is so large that a quick search of the Agent Query database brings up more than 1,000 names. That's too many to query. You need to refine your search. A literary agent who represents nonfiction books about yoga likely will not be interested in a novel about pagan romance. The more narrowly you define the book, the better your chances of finding the right agent.
Learn to define different categories of New Age books. A good source is Llewellyn Bookstores (See Link under Resources), a major publisher of metaphysical titles. Go to Llewellyn's "Browse Subject" page and scan the staggering array of books. Click on different subjects to get a sense of what types of books are out there. Then categorize your own book.
Read acknowledgments in New Age books that are similar to yours. Acknowledgments are the pages, usually in the beginning of the book, where the author thanks those people who helped her. Authors often thank their agents. Start keeping a list of those agents' names.
Seek out conferences that feature New Age writing, such as the International Women's Writing Guild's 2010 "Remember the Magic" Conference. Look through schedules posted online. When you find literary agents leading workshops on topics similar to yours, add their names to your list. You don't need to actually attend the conference, though personal connections can be very helpful.
Search through Publishers Lunch, a free weekly newsletter that records most publishing deals. (See Link under Resources.) Publishers Lunch lists sales by category, so if you're looking for an agent for a New Age novel, read through the list of deals in inspirational fiction. Nonfiction categories of interest might be advice/relationships, health, lifestyle and religion/spirituality. Write down the agents' names associated with deals.
Although Publishers Lunch is free, you need to subscribe to it, so it can take a few weeks before you start receiving it in your email.
Go to Agent Query. (See Link under Resources.) This time you'll plug in specific categories most relevant to your book. A shorter but more useful list of about 100 agent names will come up. Now you have a solid list of agents to query.
Research contact information for New Age agents on your list. Most have websites where they give submission guidelines. Some will want you to send a full manuscript by email. Others will want a proposal. Others will want you to use snail mail. It's important to follow the agents' instructions.
You're ready to start querying agents. Not all of them will respond and not all will like your New Age book or query. But, it only takes one.
Tips & Warnings
- Check out your potential agents on Preditors & Editors, a website that posts reviews of agents. (See Link under Resources.) P&E makes public names of agents who are "Not Recommended" for unethical or inappropriate behavior. This might include sending authors' names to vanity presses or charging fees.
- While you're waiting for agents to get back to you, start working on something new. It's a good distraction and gives you something to fall back on if your current book doesn't work out.
- Be careful of an agent who asks you for money up front. Literary agents make money when they sell your work, not before. As the expression goes, money should flow toward the writer.