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Thread: The Big Thread of Questions about Agents

  1. #1

    Query etiquette?

    I wasn't sure where to post it, so feel free to move this around or whatever.

    How long should I wait before requerying an agency? I got a rejection from an agent at one particular agency, but there is another agent at that same agency I'd like to query... Is this a bad idea?

    Also, is it ever okay to requery an agent under any circumstance?


  2. #2
    So cool I am Star's Avatar
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    Wow, you ask two questions that pertain to me - exactly!

    From what I understand, as long as the agency doesn't specifiy that they have a "query pool" (which means agents share thoughts on all incoming queries) then you can feel free to query another agent. How do I know? I queried a junior agent who rejected my work. I brooded a bit. Then I dusted myself off and queried a SENIOR agent at the same agency (without mentioning the junior's rejection). I was signed two months later.

    As for requerying, I say, go for it!
    Why? My agent rejected my first work, but he said some promising things. I requeried him for a different book, and I got signed.

    As long as you use tact and diplomacy, you can always "break" the rules.
    Good luck in your writing journey.

  3. #3
    Living the dream CaroGirl's Avatar
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    Most agencies say no to this practise. Check the submission guidelines for this agency to double check, but generally, a rejection from one agent signifies a rejection from the whole agency.

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW dreamsofnever's Avatar
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    Hi Tomo,
    from what I understand, it's okay to query a different agent at an agency as sometimes your work is not right for one agent, but could be just right for another. Keep in mind that some agents might share assistants and so the assistants might just roll their eyes and send out another form letter without re-reading.

    that said, I would recommend waiting at least 3 months and take the time to retool your query and possibly even your WIP. Make sure what you're selling has some new appeal before sending it on to another agent in the agency that turned you down originally.

    As for requerying, I would say no to requerying for the same book, but yes to requerying for a different project. You should wait at least six months before requerying an agent on a different project. the only time it might benefit you to disregard the six month incubation period is when an agent has given you encouraging feedback and expressed an interest in seeing what else you are working on.

    Hope this helps. Obviously, I'm not an expert but I like to frequent agent blogs and most of this is what I've read on multiple blogs.
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  5. #5
    Whee. New info, thanks. I did get a partial request from an assistant today. That's good, right? She seemed nice (but so would anyone who said yes to my novel, haha). She asked me to mark the partial to her attention, not an agent's. If she liked it, would she have to pass it along to an agent, or would the decision rest in her hands? Do you know what would happen?

    Quote Originally Posted by dreamsofnever View Post
    Hi Tomo,
    from what I understand, it's okay to query a different agent at an agency as sometimes your work is not right for one agent, but could be just right for another. Keep in mind that some agents might share assistants and so the assistants might just roll their eyes and send out another form letter without re-reading.

    that said, I would recommend waiting at least 3 months and take the time to retool your query and possibly even your WIP. Make sure what you're selling has some new appeal before sending it on to another agent in the agency that turned you down originally.

    As for requerying, I would say no to requerying for the same book, but yes to requerying for a different project. You should wait at least six months before requerying an agent on a different project. the only time it might benefit you to disregard the six month incubation period is when an agent has given you encouraging feedback and expressed an interest in seeing what else you are working on.

    Hope this helps. Obviously, I'm not an expert but I like to frequent agent blogs and most of this is what I've read on multiple blogs.


  6. #6
    figuring it all out
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    Re: whether a partial directed to an assistant would eventually go to the agent -- I'm not sure. I imagine that depends on the agency.

    Re: requerying other agents within the same agency -- that also depends on the agency. I've read in interviews that agents at Spectrum Literary and (I believe) FinePrint will pass queries along to other agents in the same house if they think a project might be better-suited to a colleague's list, so if you have queried one agent and gotten a rejection there, you might as well consider it a rejection from everyone at that house.

    At the really big agencies, like Writers' House, I don't believe that's done, so in those situations I'd suggest waiting a couple of months and requerying another agent then. Give it long enough to avoid the appearance of a "rubber manuscript" (or, in this situation, a "rubber query"), at least.

  7. #7
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    The Big Thread of Questions about Agents.

    How does one go about finding a literary agent?





    *MODERATOR'S NOTE* This new thread is not for questions about specific agents, but about agents in general. Thanks, Soccer Mom
    Last edited by Soccer Mom; 08-22-2008 at 10:58 PM. Reason: Explaining the sticky

  8. #8
    Tonight on Mythbusters BenPanced's Avatar
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    Query Tracker
    Agent Query

    Both are good places to start online. Agent Query also has some decent short articles on the subject.
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  9. #9
    Barricade AW Moderator regdog's Avatar
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    Both Query Tracker and Agent Query are good as is the AAR and Publisher's MarketPlace. Also be sure when you find an agent to query you check AW Backgrounds and Beware and Preditors and Editors to make sure the agent has a good rep and is on the up and up
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  10. #10
    Mom by day, writer by night! Sunshine13's Avatar
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    What they said Welcome aboard.

  11. #11
    storm central stormie's Avatar
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    Welcome! Great info here.
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  12. #12
    Yep. I used QueryTracker, and also the 2008 Publisher's Market, which is at your local bookstore. I couldn't actually afford it, so I flipped through it and wrote down the names of agents I thought might like my 'script.


  13. #13
    teh other evil broad auntybug's Avatar
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    What they said.. and then I cross reference everyone here .

    to the cooler!

  14. #14
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    Finish your book. (can't emphasize that enough) Revise and edit until it is as close to perfection as it will ever get.

    Write a query letter and a synopsis. Go here to learn how to write those. The password is vista.
    http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...play.php?f=174 The how-to threads are at the very top of the list.

    Revise and edit until they are perfect. Don't think you're special and write a four page query letter. One page means one page.

    Go to Agent Query for example and get a list of agents who represent what you have written. No point sending a thriller to an agent who represents romance. Check each agent at preditors and editors. http://anotherealm.com/prededitors/

    There are a lot of scam agents. If any agent asks for money to read your novel or to represent your novel he is a scam artist. An agent collects his percentage from your sale. He gets no money until you get paid. Ever. Ever. Ever. Under no circumstances. Ever. Send the agent exactly what he asks for. No more, no less. Don't think you're special and send him the entire novel.

    It's usually a good idea to send to about ten or fifteen agents at a time. If you are very lucky, an agent might respond with a personal note about how to make your book better. If you've sent to every agent, you'll have no one to send the new and improved book to.

    Wait. A long time. Two to three months is an average response time and some may never respond at all.

    All of this information could have been found using the search feature on AbsoluteWrite and on Google. Search is your friend. Use it.

    Welcome to the boards. Tons of good information here. Uncle Jim's thread in the Novel Forum is especially great. Don't forget to check the sticky threads at the top of each forum list. Those are especially useful.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by nevada; 08-12-2008 at 06:42 PM.

  15. #15
    Around AW Moderator
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    What nevada said.
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  16. #16
    Crypto-fascist Soccer Mom's Avatar
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    This gets asked so often in here, that I have stickied it.
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  17. #17
    I have tendencies. Woodsie's Avatar
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    Author Bio

    I'm not sure if this is the right place to put this thread....

    When an agent asks for a bio, what info are they looking for? I have four pages right now, but I'm assuming that's too much information. I'm submitting a query to an agent that wants a bio included. Any help is appreciated!

    I have a website for my book!
    My 'getting published' blog.
    Be my friend...

  18. #18
    Five by Five SuperModerator katiemac's Avatar
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    Keep in mind my zero experience, but I'd whittle your four pages down to two short paragraphs at most. I'd include the regular info--where you went to school, any writing credits, "currently living in XYZ with four dogs and a parakeet," etc. A mention of hobbies, hopefully ones that tie into the novel you're pitching. That kind of sounds like one paragraph.

  19. #19
    :P EriRae's Avatar
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    I would make it a paragraph or two, no huge mass of information. I've only submitted one bio to an agent, and came to find they were not a reputable agency. What agency, if you don't mind me asking? Not WLA or one of its offshoots?
    Last edited by EriRae; 08-20-2008 at 10:28 AM.
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  20. #20
    I have tendencies. Woodsie's Avatar
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    Thanks, katiemac.

    Also, I'm a first time author with no publishing credits what-so-ever. I won a national essay writing contest, but that's it. This is the first time I've tried to get my words in print and it's hard!

    I have a website for my book!
    My 'getting published' blog.
    Be my friend...

  21. #21
    I have tendencies. Woodsie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EriRae View Post
    What agency, if you don't mind me asking? Not WLA or one of its offshoots?
    I don't know what that is, but it's Blumer Literary Agency and they only accept snail mail.

    I have a website for my book!
    My 'getting published' blog.
    Be my friend...

  22. #22
    I have tendencies. Woodsie's Avatar
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    I'm afraid that my bio is going to be lame. I live in my own head. I don't have hobbies that pertain to my book. I paint with oils, I act occasionally, I'm a stylist for a living and I write instead of socialize. I also have four daughters, a husband who is in a band and I have a little white dog.

    I have a website for my book!
    My 'getting published' blog.
    Be my friend...

  23. #23
    exiled Brit
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    This might help

    http://www.fictionaddiction.net/arti...ompsonbio.html

    I did mine in first person, and it didn't do me any harm, but maybe it's different for the Brit market.

    Good luck.

  24. #24
    I have tendencies. Woodsie's Avatar
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    Qwerty, that is so helpful!

    I have a website for my book!
    My 'getting published' blog.
    Be my friend...

  25. #25
    I have tendencies. Woodsie's Avatar
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    Another question: Do you include a headshot with your bio? More specifically, a small 2"x2" with the text wrapped around it. I have professional headshots that I use for acting, so they're not like the one of me drinking coffee in my avatar.

    I have a website for my book!
    My 'getting published' blog.
    Be my friend...

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