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Thread: Unable to find agents

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW
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    Post Unable to find agents

    I've been trying to find agents to submit to and I did find 40. All rejections. Is there some magical list out there that shows me more agents to try to query to?

    The genre is contemporary fantasy. I've been to query hell already and SYW for cleaning up my first chapter so that's all taken care of. I just need to find more people to submit to. Please help.

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    Have you tried querytracker? You may be narrowing a search too much -- if you're doing 'contemporary fantasy' in a search try something different? I'm not sure what that is actually, but I'm not a big fantasy person -- but I'd just try fantasy, urban fantasy (if it fits), etc. I'm NOT suggesting querying agents who don't rep what you've got, but if you widen search terms and then check the agents you find, you may find more matches.

  3. #3
    Great Old One CameronJohnston's Avatar
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    +1 for Querytracker. It's an excellent resource. Have you also looked for agents outwith the US?
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  4. #4
    ....... Harlequin's Avatar
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    Manuscript wishlist?
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  5. #5
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    Have you been through the list of SF/F agents that is on this site?

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW Treehouseman's Avatar
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    Querytracker is the penultimate list - there is no other list more comprehensive anywhere.

    (P&E is as old as Moses now, there's agents on there who have long since gone the way of all flesh!)

    Keep going!
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  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW CEtchison's Avatar
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    Check agentquery.com in addition to querytracker.

    Any information gathered from either of those sites needs to be crosschecked with the agent's website.
    Be so good they can't ignore you. -- Steve Martin

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  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW Dmbeucler's Avatar
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    If you only found about 40, you are missing a lot. I'm querying a fantasy novel now and my list has over 150 agents (although some are agents at the same agencies, some are closed right now, etc)

    I assembled my list by brute force from AW's beware boards, Publisher's marketplace, and query tracker, and I still find more agencies to add as I go. Making my list took me about 10 or more hours? But I also tracked what each agency wanted in a query, response times, and went through every single agency's record, and set up a tracking system... because yay being over prepared.

    Good luck!

  9. #9
    Back on Track Carrie in PA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KittenEV View Post
    I've been trying to find agents to submit to and I did find 40. All rejections. Is there some magical list out there that shows me more agents to try to query to?

    The genre is contemporary fantasy. I've been to query hell already and SYW for cleaning up my first chapter so that's all taken care of. I just need to find more people to submit to. Please help.
    You've cleaned up more than your first chapter, right?

    Did you get any feedback from those 40 agents? Did you get requests for partials/fulls and then get rejected, or were they all rejections right out of the gate?

    But to your question - yes to the advice above, widen your search terms. QueryTracker is awesome, but can't be comprehensive. Also manuscriptwishlist.com, get a copy of Guide to Literary Agents, do a simple google search -- of course in all instances be sure to research the agents properly.
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  10. #10
    please distract me mccardey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carrie in PA View Post
    You've cleaned up more than your first chapter, right?
    I was going to say the same thing. Don't query till you have the whole ms as shiny-bright as it can possibly be. You don't get very many second chances.

    Good luck!

  11. #11
    I got it covered Undercover's Avatar
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    I vote for Querytracker too. I think AgentQuery might be a little outdated too, the last time I checked.

  12. #12
    starting over Marian Perera's Avatar
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    Consider a (free) subscription to Publisher's Lunch. Every week you'll get an e-bulletin that lists recent sales in different genres, and which agents made the sales to which publishers.
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  13. #13
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    PubLunch is worth it to get the nibbles and hints. Also you can join QueryTracker to get some granular levels of reporting from other authors' experiences with agent response times and manner.

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  14. #14
    Not so secret agent
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    Quote Originally Posted by KittenEV View Post
    I've been trying to find agents to submit to and I did find 40. All rejections. Is there some magical list out there that shows me more agents to try to query to?

    The genre is contemporary fantasy. I've been to query hell already and SYW for cleaning up my first chapter so that's all taken care of. I just need to find more people to submit to. Please help.
    You should be querying agents who represent fantasy, not just "contemporary fantasy", which is often how we spin an urban fantasy nowadays. There's no accounting for taste, so even if an agent doesn't list what subgenera of fantasy they're looking for — in that case, fantasy is fantasy.
    *opinions are my own*

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  15. #15
    Benefactor Member WeaselFire's Avatar
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    Going to go the darker route here...

    Assuming you have selected the agents properly, are you certain you're getting rejections of a great novel that just needs an agent? Maybe the rejections aren't related to the number of agents, but rather the quality of submission.

    While I honestly believe that any agent I send a manuscript or query too should be so awed that I would deem them worthy of my submission that they would immediately forward a contract, reality never seems to believe the same as I do.

    Jeff

  16. #16
    ....... Harlequin's Avatar
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    I dunno, I'm fairly confident I'll never get an agent, no matter how much polish I put into it (and so will try the slushpile route).
    "Though one evil spirit may drive a woman out of Eden, all the devils in hell cannot drive Heaven out of a woman."

    -- George MacDonald

  17. #17
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    You never know. Polishing a mms is one of the few variables a writer can address.

    I ineptly queried a bad novel in 2009 and of course got nothing but rejections...if I got a response at all. I've been getting better at cleaning up mms and writing queries in the three mms since. Latest one only ended up with 32 agents on my list, but out of that I've had personalized rejections and several full or partial requests. Still, it's not likely to find an agent, given my track record. I'm waiting for the agent clock to run down five months after querying, and making plans to either hawk the book to two big publishers, give it to a small press I like, or invest in self-pub.

    I have a certain ennui about the process by now. If an agent likes it and thinks they can do something with it, that's wonderful. If not, that's not the end of the world for that book and its companion stories. I have options.

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  18. #18
    ....... Harlequin's Avatar
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    I think options exist, but that agents specifically are a dead end route for me. Small presses seem to av least have interest so I've abandoned querying agents st present.
    "Though one evil spirit may drive a woman out of Eden, all the devils in hell cannot drive Heaven out of a woman."

    -- George MacDonald

  19. #19
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Just make certain they are small presses worth querying in the first place. And if you do nothing else with them, nail down easy, painless, and fair rights reversion clauses in your contract.

    This M/M space opera
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  20. #20
    Benefactor Member WeaselFire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harlequin View Post
    I dunno, I'm fairly confident I'll never get an agent, no matter how much polish I put into it (and so will try the slushpile route).
    Dark side again...

    Maybe the story isn't one that will sell right now. Maybe it's time to shelve the work and move on. But if you haven't queried at least 100 agents, you're nowhere near the point where you can tell. If you have targeted your queries to the proper agents and polished the queries, then your list of agents is much stronger than if you picked the first 40 agents you found alphabetically.

    By the way, the slushpile route is what you're doing.

    Jeff

  21. #21
    ....... Harlequin's Avatar
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    Publisher slushpile I mean, sorry.

    I don't want to derail the thread but it's not meant as an idle comment. I haven't been a numpty about the process (well, not totally anyway) and have specific reasons for coming to that conclusion. Occasionally, other routes to traditional publication can work out better in individual cases.
    Last edited by Harlequin; 08-12-2017 at 12:57 PM.
    "Though one evil spirit may drive a woman out of Eden, all the devils in hell cannot drive Heaven out of a woman."

    -- George MacDonald

  22. #22
    figuring it all out bin_b0x's Avatar
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    If you're looking for a long list of agencies across different countries, LitRejections wouldn't be a bad place to look.

  23. #23
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin LuckyStar's Avatar
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