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Thread: Good Manners & Querying Several Agents

  1. #1
    Young folk Whistle_White's Avatar
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    Good Manners & Querying Several Agents

    Hey everyone,

    Now, I'm not an absolute newbie; I know I can query several agents at once as long as the query/cover letters are personalized and I don't send copy&paste one to 9677 agents on the same day.

    But I have this problem: while getting my MA I met a pro author who took a look at my writing, helped me fix some stuff and then introduced me to an agent. Face to face! I was far from finished with my novel, but Mr. Agent took a look and requested the full manuscript as soon as I had it.

    Now I have it, written-rewritted-beta'ed, and have sent it to Mr. Agent as requested. But I don't want to count my laurels before they hatch: he requested the full, doesn't mean he'll take me on.

    So question: would it be in good manners to query other agents even if Mr. Agent was nice enough to meet me in person and request the full even when I only had three chapters?

  2. #2
    This will all make sense tomorrow
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    If Mr Agent didn't hold you to an exclusive, I'd say go for it. He could take 3-6 months or longer to get back to you - do you want to put your life on hold? Is Mr Agent your dream agent or right up there? Does he have plenty of sales in your genre?

    This is your career here, so ponder carefully rather than getting too caught up in the 'favour' aspect. Besides, nothing hurries the process like getting back in touch with an agent to say Hi, just wanted to let you know I've had another agent offer rep...

    Good luck!
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  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW mayqueen's Avatar
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    I would go ahead and query. You could be waiting for months, like NicolaD said. Unless you're on an exclusive, keep querying.
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  4. #4
    crazy mean SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    You would do well to check the agent out in our Bewares, Recommendations and Background Checks board while you're waiting, if you haven't done so already. It's good to know who you're talking to.

  5. #5
    Young folk Whistle_White's Avatar
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    Old Hack - thank you, that's exactly what I did the moment Mr. Agent was so forthcoming. He's actually the head of a nice agency... only one that doesn't really specialize in my genre of writing.

    Which takes me to NicolaD and mayqueen - thanks so much for your help. The word "exclusive" has never been mentioned, and though Mr. Agent seems very capable he doesn't quite do my genre. His newest employee does and is just starting her own list of clients, which leads me to think he had to pre-approve me or something.

    I will query some more, then. Thanks to all!

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW FCameron's Avatar
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    Hope it works out for you and keep sending those queries.

  7. #7
    figuring it all out eyebee14's Avatar
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    Not an expert, but I think if this agent was on the top of your list, I would give him a set time to review your work. If he passes, I would start querying other agents. I wouldn’t give him 6 months though. Maybe a six weeks. It can’t hurt. But it is really up to you. How well do you know this agent?
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  8. #8
    resident curmudgeon
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    Even if an agent requests exclusivity, this shouldn't apply to queries. But go careful. You may hear from another agent in a week, and then what do you do?

  9. #9
    Young folk Whistle_White's Avatar
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    eyebee - I met this guy only once and he was very nice. What worries me is that his agency doesn't quite do my genre, but I suppose they might start... so no, he's not exactly my top choice, but I feel he trusted me when I didn't have anything to show.

    James - Hah, if I get so lucky to receive two offers of representation, I'll worry right then! For the moment, need to get those queries out....

  10. #10
    resident curmudgeon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whistle_White View Post
    eyebee - I met this guy only once and he was very nice. What worries me is that his agency doesn't quite do my genre, but I suppose they might start... so no, he's not exactly my top choice, but I feel he trusted me when I didn't have anything to show.

    James - Hah, if I get so lucky to receive two offers of representation, I'll worry right then! For the moment, need to get those queries out....
    You may not get two offers of representation, but you can get two requests for the same manuscript, and if you've already handed it to one, you are in a different situation.

    But all agents are not created equal. Some are great, some are just so-so, and some are truly awful in every way. If you make certain year only querying and sending the manuscript to agents you'd LOVE to have represent you, it should be fine.

    But when you hand one agent a manuscript, a top agent you absolutely love, which is the only kind you should query or hand a manuscript, then it's best not to give that same manuscript to another agent until after you hear back from the one who has it.

    You don't save time by handing things out in large numbers, you save time by writing a great manuscript and giving it to the agent best suited to handle it.

  11. #11
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    This is a tough call, but that agent might get done reading the book before you ever hear back on any subs you send out afterward. He's got the jump, so in essence, he might or should be the first answerer. It's all in the proper timing.
    Now, me, I send out more with the belief that getting multiple full requests would be a bit slim, hence, a traffic jam/collision being unlikely.

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