Several years back when I was searching for the best literary agencies in India, there were very few names to be found. There were many self-proclaimed literary agents, but the good, authentic ones were very few. After all these years, I tried searching for literary agents in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai and many other bigger cities.
The story doesn’t seem to have changed much. You still find the same agency names that have gained more credibility over time. And yes, there’s a bigger number of unknown names claiming to be agents but with very little data on their track record and book sales to the big (or even small but good) publishers. So most first time authors in India, seeking representation, continue to send query letters to literary agents in the USA (New York, being the hub of such activity).
If you are in the same situation that I was in when I first started my hunt for the top literary agencies to represent my MBA book, here’s a short list to get you started.
Note: This listing considers only the agenting aspects of these businesses and not their editing services (if at all they provide those).
Literary Agencies in India
Red Ink Literary Agency | http://redinkliteraryagency.com
Agents: Anuj Bahri (New Delhi), Debbie Smith and Sharvani
Authors: They represent a pretty small number (under 50 at the last count, or maybe they’ve not listed them all) of authors. Amish Tripathi (The Shiva Trilogy: The Immortals of Meluha, The Secret of the Nagas and the last one in the pipeline) is big name in there.
Submission guidelines: They ask you to fill up a small form on their site with the basic details. Be careful what you type in there. That’s your query letter! They don’t accept poetry, plays and screenplays
Jacaranda | http://jacaranda-press.com/
This might be one of the oldest (since 1997) and most respected literary agencies in India. The agents have moved out of India, but they have solid ties with the Indian publishing industry.
Agents: Jayapriya Vasudevan (Singapore)
Authors: Anita Nair, Shashi Warrier, Sameer Kamat 🙂
Submission guidelines: Accepts email queries only. Send them a query letter to email@example.com and more details on if, when and how to make the submission.
Read my interview with Jacaranda literary agency where Jayapriya talks about her work and how new authors can get her attention.
Siyahi | http://siyahi.in/
Agents: Mita Kapur (Jaipur), Namita Gokhale
Authors: Sidin Vadukut (he’s written the Dork Trilogy) plus around 80 others (including Yana Gupta!)
Submission guidelines: Accepts email queries. You can send completed manuscripts (along with details about yourself and a synopsis of your work) to the following email IDs: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Turnaround Time for the response is 8 to 10 weeks.
Sherna Khambatta Literary Agency | http://www.shernakhambatta.com/
A small Mumbai based agency with a dhinchak website completely designed using Flash. I prefer regular text/HTML content (so I usually turn off my plugins). I had to go the extra distance to view this one. There doesn’t seem to be too much recent information about this agency in the public domain.
Agents: Sherna Khambatta (Mumbai)
Authors: About 10 in total, with 5 Indian authors
Submission guidelines: Accepts email queries with sample chapters. Response time is 7 days for the query letter and about a month to review the full manuscript. Email ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t rely only upon the information provided here. Visit their websites as there may have been updates that I’m not aware of.
Also make sure that your manuscript is in the best possible shape before you even think about sending a query letter to agents and publishers. Spend some time to review and the ideas posted here –> Improve your writing skills.
If there are any other good literary agencies that you might be aware of, post their details (website, track record, big wins, big clients, deals involving big advances) as a comment.