wine on the keyboard

Agent Talk

by Kay~Kacey on 9/7/2005

okay, let’s talk agents. The good, the bad, the ugly.

So…do you have an agent as an unpublished author? (or did you get one before you were published?) Have you met him/her in person? And how did you find him/her? At a conference? Query/submission? Contest?

If you are looking for an agent (or looking to change) what is your dream agent? Do want one who is hands on and sends stuff back to you to revise before she sends it out? Do you want more of a “here is an idea of how you might improve it” but less…”DO THIS before I send it.” Or do you want a hands off agent who just knows the business and knows it well and will submit the work you send her.

And…to ask yet more questions. How do you feel about agents begin in NYC, versus agents being from other parts of the country?

Okay, more things to talk about. Would you get an agent if you’re trying to break into category?

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Rene September 7, 2005 at 7:21 pm

I’m trying to get an agent. I’ve heard how often unagented submissions end up in the slush pile and really don’t want that to happen to me. My dream agent is the one who sells my book in a multi-book deal. That’s about it.

I’m not really all that concerned with location. Some of the biggest deals have been brokered by non-NYC agents.

If I were writing category, I’m not sure that I would bother unless I wanted to make the leap into HQN or Red Dress.

Kelly C. September 7, 2005 at 7:46 pm

Lot’s of questions! Um, I’m unpubbed and have an agent. I did meet her at a conference after I signed with her. I had a total of 3 phone calls with her before I signed. I discovered her through RWA’s list of agents, and queried her because she was looking for something similar to the book I had. She’s pretty hands on, and I appreciate the extra perspective. She also has a background in writing so I value her input. She isn’t in NY, but it’s not a problem, emails and conference calls are great, as well as trips to NY and meeting at writing conferences.

If I were writing category, I would submit to agents, contests, and editors, trying to find any opening. :grin:

But one thing I’d like to add is I pitched to an agent at a conference before I had an agent and she did offer to read a partial, however, I didn’t connect with her or feel she was very friendly. I never mailed the partial. :angel:

Amy K September 7, 2005 at 8:40 pm

Um, I dunno? :mrgreen:

The very last question is one I ponder weekly, so I’m looking forward to hearing answers. My personal answer of the week is that for right now, I can do as much as an agent could. However, I think the more you write in category and the more complex your career gets (different lines, continuity series, different publishers) the more an agent would be worth the money for a category writer. Since we need every dime we can get right now, I’m glad to not have an agent.

As for who or what I would want, that’s where the I dunno comes in. ;)

Michelle September 8, 2005 at 5:35 am

If I can ever break into single title historicals, I definitely want an agent, preferably a NY one. I actually had a partial ready to send to a new agent in NY to look at, and when I got an editorial request for revisions, I stopped. I never mailed the proposal to the agent because I don’t believe in handing over a commission to someone who didn’t do anything for the sale. Now I might use a future sale as leverage, e.g. they don’t get my money, but they’ll see I have a track record. At the moment, I’m doing okay on my own with “category” historicals. If one were to someone offer to take me into single title, I’d go with that as long as we get along.

I’d want an agent who communicated often. I want frequent updates. As for editorial feedback, not unless I really trust them. Editors and agents’ tastes don’t always match.

Suzanne September 8, 2005 at 6:26 am

An agent for category is a waste of money, but you do need one for single title.

Leanna September 8, 2005 at 7:04 am

I had an agent. Loved her. But not necessary for category. Necessary for Single Title though. Always check out agent though. What’s that site that’s good…editors and predators? Sorry, I can’t remember, not enough caffeine is coursing through my veins yet. :)

Teresa September 8, 2005 at 7:15 am

Hmm, well, I would prefer an agent in NYC, or at least in the same state BUT, I also realize in this day of email, fax etc, it’s not necessary if you really click with someone. Especially if they visit NYC frequently.

I am actively looking for an agent. About to submit based on my interview at National and if that doesn’t pan out, I’ll submit to others on my list.

As I don’t write category, I’m no expert, but I’ve heard it can still be helpful to have an agent to help with the contract.

Re: level of interaction – I would appreciate feedback, that’s for certain. Would worry a bit if all they did was look at it and send it right out there. Not that I don’t have confidence in my writing, but there’s always room for improvement :lol:

Kelly September 8, 2005 at 7:41 am

I’m gearing up to start my search. I have a request from Elaine English from the conference but my dream agent would be Kelly Harms who used to be with Avon. She’s requested to see D&B just before leaving Avon, so I plan to send it to her at the agency she’s now with. I’ll keep my fingers crossed and hoped she’s still interested.

Sharon September 8, 2005 at 8:47 am

Hmm well, I had a NYC agent. I fired her recently. My biggest point is communication, and bluntness. My agent was too “nice” and noncommital, not to mention her communication skills were not, shall we say, very good?

I sent out a handful of queries to a very short list of agents and have several requests out, so we’ll see what happens with that. So what do I want THIS time? Someone direct and blunt. I don’t want/need a handholder, but communication is not too much to ask for. I don’t want my time wasted any more than they want their time wasted. And I want an agent who can help with career guidance/molding.

Melissa September 8, 2005 at 9:56 am

I’m also trying to get an agent. I’ve looked at both sides of the spectrum and with my head for business, I truly believe getting an agent is the only way to go. I don’t know that they must be in NYC – I think there are a lot of agents getting good reputations that don’t live there, so I don’t think it’s an absolute must.
If I wrote category, though, I don’t think I would go the agent route.

Tori September 8, 2005 at 10:28 am

I don’t have one and haven’t given a lot of thought about getting one yet. Though perhaps I should….

Danica September 8, 2005 at 6:27 pm

You know, I have a request from an agent similar to Kelly C’s experience, where she just didn’t seem all that enthused, rather like she was tossing me an obligatory bone for having the guts to pitch, not so much that she wanted to read it. Haven’t sent it, not sure I’m going to. I ran into her at another conference, and she was polite, but distant, and yet she remembered me by name and face. So I don’t know.

I don’t know if I have a specific agent in mind when I think of a dream agent, but I do know that my standard for whether or not I hire one is going to be how enthused she is about the book. If she’s not excited about it, how is she going to get an editor excited? And I should clarify, I don’t necessarily need a female agent, she was just the pronoun I used.

Cece September 13, 2005 at 8:00 pm

I think Sharon and I fired the same agent! :rofl:

I don’t care where they’re based at as long as they act like a professional, communicate in a timely manner, are honest and up front, sell my work and is hands on and gives editorial feedback.

Teresa September 14, 2005 at 4:40 am

I often think about this. Is time for me to start trying to get an agent. . . I’m not sure. But at the end of the day since I want to be published in both e and print format in ST I think I do need one. . . eventually.:wallbash:

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