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IHeartWriting
05-28-2008, 10:46 PM
take into account how responsive they were during the submission process?

I understand that agents are in the business to make money and I don't think that they should have to jump thru hoops for the unrepresented (I don't give a second thought to query letters that go unanswered) BUT I also find the lack of response when they have requested material to be frustrating.

A top tier agent has had a full of mine since 12/2. At the end of March, after almost 4 months I sent a status query. No response. At the beginning of this month, I sent a note saying that a publisher had requested revisions, and would it be okay if I submitted the "new and improved" version. No response.

Meanwhile, another agent, not as high up on the food chain, but still competent, replied right away that she would be interested in reviewing the revised manuscript.

If the publisher were to offer me a contract tomorrow (which can't happen because the revised copy is going out in the mail tomorrow) I'll be hard-pressed to extend the courtesy of letting the top tier agent know about the offer, which brings me back to my question: Did/do your experiences with the submission process color your ultimate decision?

Karen Duvall
05-28-2008, 11:26 PM
I wouldn't know. Ha! I can only tell you that I know of a lot of authors unhappy with their high-powered agents due of lack of attention and no sense of urgency. I imagine if the agency is big, they've got a lot of best selling clients and mega buck deals to worry about, so their newer, unproven clients get neglected in the fallout. I have a friend who had one of this hot shot agents and kicked her to curb after a year. My friend is now happily involved with a one-person agency that makes her feel like the star she is, AND is working really hard on her behalf. It's a wonder to behold.

Irysangel
05-29-2008, 12:49 AM
To be honest, how quickly someone answers your submission should be a factor...and at the same time, it should not be.

My first agent was extremely flattering and communicative when I submitted, and was an extremely quick read. However, the enthusiasm was not on the same level when my book was submitted. He is no longer my agent.

A quick turnaround with a read could be anything. It could be an agent hungry for clients. It could be an agent eager to snap you up before anyone else does. It could be an agent that you hit on the right day at the right time.

And it probably doesn't have anything to do with the submission responses. Sorry. :)

IHeartWriting
05-29-2008, 01:44 AM
Karen -- Exactly! I always wonder what the communication was like with the agent before they signed with them. Were they so excited to get an offer from a big name, that they jumped at the chance, ignoring any previous bad experience they might have had?

Irys -- I'm sorry if I didn't communicate properly -- I'm not really concerned with the speed of a read (that's just part of the submission merry-go-round imho) but the lack of response to follow-up emails which were sent at respectful times. That said, I appreciate your input.

windyrdg
05-29-2008, 03:28 AM
IHeart: The top tier agent you mention doesn't impress me. I think you have to allow sufficient time for the agent to plow through and get down to your work, but the mention of an interested publisher should get them off their duff. A big name is nice, but responsiveness is better. IMHO.

My case is somewhat unique in that only a limited number of agents work in my genre (Christian/Biblical fiction). I had pretty well exhausted the list when an agent asked for revisions to a full I sent her. Another agent requested a partial about the same time...which I sent. When the first agent offered representation, I grabbed it figuring a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. I also have a mainline novel I'm trying to get someone interested in and the second agent only does Christian.

Good luck with the agent who wanted to read the publisher's revision. That's a very good sign.

IHeartWriting
05-29-2008, 07:09 AM
Windy -- I agree about putting stock in the barometer of an agent's responsiveness, and I think considering that you knew you had limited options, that you made the best decision for your situation. May you have as much luck with your mainstream novel!

lkp
05-29-2008, 07:38 AM
Irysangel is right, I think. Your relationship with an agent after signing is completely different than before. Could be better, could be worse.

caromora
05-29-2008, 08:42 AM
I don't take response times during the query process as any real indication. Any number of things could have kept the agent from getting back to you. The best thing to do, I think, is to read what an agent's clients say about him or her, or if you've been offered representation, to actually contact clients and ask questions.

I recently moved my "dream agent" to my list of "second tier" agents. One of her main authors (a hugely successful, big-deal-getting author) has been very candid that the Big Name Agent takes a frustratingly long time to respond to emails and calls. And if the agent treats one of her best-known clients like that, how much longer will she take to get back to me? It's not a deal breaker; she is still a good, qualified agent who regularly gets great deals for her authors. But she might not be the best fit for authors who need more contact.

And the only real way to know is to talk to people the agent represents. Trying to gauge by query response times is impractical because there are just too many factors that we can't be aware of.

Sorry if I rambled. I'm on massive doses of Benadryl. :)

Irysangel
05-29-2008, 07:22 PM
Okay, not responding to emails for follow-ups could be something else entirely. But at the same time, it's hard to say. Some agents just put 'prospective clients' on a very very back burner and devote 95% of their time to their current clients. So getting in the door might take years, but once in the door, the agent is wonderful.

It's hard to say. If you have an agent with a full, you might research his/her clients and see if they refer to the agent's communication on any blogs/websites. If the agent calls you, ask for a couple of referrals that you can chat with, and get feedback from them.

Don't be afraid to ask the hard questions about the communication between agent/client. To be honest, no matter how it is spun, communication is one of the most vital parts of the relationship, and it's hard to get past it if you're not happy with that aspect of your representation.

HTH!

Twizzle
05-29-2008, 08:25 PM
My decision will be colored, absolutely. If I get to make one. :)

I can't offer much experience-wise. I don't have an agent. I've only sent out a handful of queries. And the responses have been very quick, very kind. So discounting anyone for unprofessional behavior isn't an issue. But... there is this one. This one agent who has been, well, just so NICE. So damn freaking nice and funny. If I ever get lucky enough to get an offer, never mind more than one where I had to make a choice, well, hell. I find it hard to believe someone so professional and helpful wouldn't stay that way once you're a client.

I could be wrong, though.

And I'd love to find out if I am. :)

Karen Duvall
05-29-2008, 09:37 PM
The friend I mentioned before, the one who kicked her hotshot big deal NY agent to the curb? The agent was as nice as could be. Funny. Personable. But had really poor communication skills. And she'd lie, too. Probably due to her workload, but that's no excuse. This same agent lost 3 of her clients for these reasons. So first impressions aren't always the true indicator. My friend had no way of knowing things would turn out the way they did.

Nakhlasmoke
05-29-2008, 09:49 PM
I dunno. The agent isn't really there to hold your hand and be your buddy. If you end up having a great friendship, that's just a bonus.

If an agent is the right fit for your work and consistently makes good deals in that market and has no weird/bad things about them (like stealing client's money) then surely that should be what matters?

Also hard to judge on response time alone as there could be a number of factors.

Twizzle
05-29-2008, 10:20 PM
The friend I mentioned before, the one who kicked her hotshot big deal NY agent to the curb? The agent was as nice as could be. Funny. Personable. But had really poor communication skills. And she'd lie, too. Probably due to her workload, but that's no excuse. This same agent lost 3 of her clients for these reasons. So first impressions aren't always the true indicator. My friend had no way of knowing things would turn out the way they did.

That's too bad your friend went thru that experience. It sounds like things went well for her after, though. So many times it doesn't end so happily. :(

You know-I should amend what I said above. When I said she was so NICE. I didn't just mean friendly and personable. Let's just say I worked hard at getting rejected by her-screwed up every way possible. And she didn't reject me. Thank god. And she didn't just give me a second chance, but she went above and beyond. Yes. NICE. in big letters. :) And she was very funny and nice, all the while. And she had cause to not be.

I'll admit, this agent, my decision would be colored. But not determined by this. You'd be crazy to let that solely determine something so important. Fortunately, this agent has an incredible reputation. And this agent's clients are pretty vocal over how awesome she is. I consider myself completely fortunate she's been as helpful as she has been, even if it goes nowhere. And like I said, actually all the agents have been very kind. Very professional.

Bookends-the recent post about revisions with an agent you're not repped by--it touches on this. Granted, they discuss a specific issue--revisions--but it's about how this might (should?) color your decision to go with one agent over another. A very interesting post.

clara bow
05-29-2008, 10:21 PM
The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

Karen Duvall
05-29-2008, 11:15 PM
Bookends-the recent post about revisions with an agent you're not repped by--it touches on this. Granted, they discuss a specific issue--revisions--but it's about how this might (should?) color your decision to go with one agent over another. A very interesting post.

Some years ago, I was actually fortunate to get to work with Jacky Sach of bookends on a full manuscript she requested. It was my first experience working with a real editor (that's her background; she was a editor with Berkley for 15 years) and she really worked hard at helping me shape up my manuscript. It took nine months, but she ultimately rejected me. I was bummed, but I understood. The book was a paranormal mystery (Jacky reps mysteries) and she said that in the end it wasn't suspenseful enough. It really wasn't. I still got the benefit of working with her and I'll be forever grateful for her patience and encouragement. We're friends, but I don't write the stuff she represents (urban fantasy). I tried Jessica, but she doesn't "get me." Ha! She says my main character is odd, and I say thank God for that! I'm glad she noticed. :)

Twizzle
05-29-2008, 11:31 PM
Ha! She says my main character is odd, and I say thank God for that! I'm glad she noticed. :)

:roll:

thank God, indeed.

(and good luck, Karen. I just noticed the time. :) )

scope
05-30-2008, 01:50 AM
I really can't add anything to the great advice you've already received. Only to suggest that you check to make sure that the agent to who you submitted is still there--unless you've already done so.

triceretops
05-30-2008, 02:52 AM
The only thing that might distract my agent away from me is the launch of truly huge books, which sometimes require extra time, media attention, foreign rights sales and other such things. And this has happened frequently in just the recent past. The communication is still there and instant, but I've noticed that my submission trail has suffered just a wee bit. I can't blame my agent for this at all, because those high-ticket items are paying his expenses, and without those, he would not have the paper and ink to get me out to the editors.

I was read very fast and taken on as a client very swiftly. I think this demonstrated an energy and enthusiasm in my book. We didn't do any tinkering back and forth, except for some minor editing and rewrites. Since then, he has been just as expediant getting back to me. So he seems to be in the habit of working fast. This has been only in my observations. He's kind of a speed racer, and I believe that is part of his personality.

Tri

IHeartWriting
05-30-2008, 04:21 PM
Much thanks to everyone for sharing their opinions and advice!

RoccoMom
05-30-2008, 07:05 PM
To be honest, how quickly someone answers your submission should be a factor...and at the same time, it should not be.

My first agent was extremely flattering and communicative when I submitted, and was an extremely quick read. However, the enthusiasm was not on the same level when my book was submitted. He is no longer my agent.

A quick turnaround with a read could be anything. It could be an agent hungry for clients. It could be an agent eager to snap you up before anyone else does. It could be an agent that you hit on the right day at the right time.

And it probably doesn't have anything to do with the submission responses. Sorry. :)



and its most likely the same with the editor responses. My agent has only just started submitting, so I'm not really sure how she handles it - if she waits till they're all in, but i do know that she did give me one update already. It's nail-biting time!