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Boomergirl
08-24-2008, 05:53 AM
I have a question regarding older and newer agents:

A few weeks back, I queried an agency, sending my query letter to the head of the agency. She wrote back and requested a full, which I sent off right away. Then, not long ago, I got an e-mail from someone else in the agency, another agent who is the most junior one on the totem pole (and whose profile states she is looking to build her own client list), saying she enjoyed my book but could not say anything further until she had a chance to speak with her boss who was away.

This reads to me as though the senior agent gave my book to the junior agent to allow her to cut her teeth on it.

Now, I've been the low man on the totem pole (not in writing, but in other endeavors) and I understand that everyone has to start somewhere, but my question is, will the most junior agent be able to talk to the big editors/publisher. I.e. if she says, "I'm Jane Doe calling from the John Smith Agency and I have a book to pitch to you" will people listen to her just because she's from a reputable agency or will they brush her off because she's not the head honcho? (This agency has had Pulitzer Prize winners and best sellers among its clients, so obviously, it's an agency I'd be happy to work with) If junior agents can get meetings with the same big people as senior agents, then I'd be fine having her represent me (if they give me an offer * crosses fingers *), because I would be happy to have someone start off with enthusiasm and drive as a junior agent would presumably have.

Any advice?

Carmy
08-24-2008, 06:09 AM
Take heart. If the head honcho didn't send you an outright rejection, she saw value in your work.

On another thread, one of the members-in-the-know pointed out that it is the agency that has the contacts, not the individual agent.

katiemac
08-24-2008, 08:15 AM
This reads to me as though the senior agent gave my book to the junior agent to allow her to cut her teeth on it.

Another way to read it: The agent you sent it to didn't enjoy the book as much or didn't think she could sell as well as junior agent. Agent credentials alone can't sell the book--the agent has to believe in it, too. It sounds like to me junior agent is going to talk it over with head honcho and see if yours is a viable book for the agency, not just to help her get a start.

Boomergirl
08-24-2008, 08:22 AM
Thanks for the replies. If it's the agency that carries clout with the publishers, then I don't mind who in the agency represents me as long as she's got enthusiasm (and this is still an if, since an offer hasn't actually come my way and I hope I haven't just jinxed myself by posting this question).

Katiemac: I left a little detail out: at the time she requested the ms the head of the agency told me she was going away for a while and would not be able to read my book right away. I doubt she'd ask for my ms and give my book to a junior agent if she didn't think she was enthusiastic enough--so many other agents have no problem sending me rejections when they're not enthusiastic enough. (But then, maybe it's my ego talking. I have to tell myself that SOMEONE out there likes what I write. ;)

katiemac
08-24-2008, 08:34 AM
Thanks for the replies. If it's the agency that carries clout with the publishers, then I don't mind who in the agency represents me as long as she's got enthusiasm (and this is still an if, since an offer hasn't actually come my way and I hope I haven't just jinxed myself by posting this question).

Katiemac: I left a little detail out: at the time she requested the ms the head of the agency told me she was going away for a while and would not be able to read my book right away. I doubt she'd ask for my ms and give my book to a junior agent if she didn't think she was enthusiastic enough--so many other agents have no problem sending me rejections when they're not enthusiastic enough. (But then, maybe it's my ego talking. I have to tell myself that SOMEONE out there likes what I write. ;)

Sometimes agents request a manuscript, reads the first couple pages and realizes it's not quite up their alley like they thought--but they know X agent might be a better fit for. Or maybe junior agent has been screening manuscripts for Top Agent while she is away and that's why she needed to talk to Top Agent before discussing things with you.

Of course, I'm not trying to prove my viewpoint on this one (it's barely even a viewpoint, more like a "what if?" ;)), just something to think about. I think the fact they're giving your book another option within their agency is a positive one no matter how or why the decision to hand it off to junior agent was made.

And sure, I think your original question is justified. But at the agency they'll have resources and other top agents with which junior agent can confer if you end up being a good match for each other.

Kirby
08-25-2008, 07:34 PM
I know Writer's House does this quite a bit. If one agent reads it, thinks it's good, but not for her, she'll pass it on to another. I wouldn't be offended. I think it's great and speaks volumes about your writing ability. If the junior agent agrees to take you on as a client, don't hesitate to ask several questions. In the Writer's Market for Agents, there's a part in the book with good questions to ask a potential agent that has requested to represent you. You might want to take a look at it.

Good luck!

stormie
08-25-2008, 07:41 PM
Take heart: the agency wouldn't have hired her if she wasn't good or thought she had potential. Also, just the agency's name alone can open doors. And...that senior agent would have just rejected it if she didn't think it had promise.

When and if you communicate with this junior agent, and if she offeres representation, just make sure you and she are on the same page with how you want your writing career to go, and if you feel you are a good match. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

Good luck!

Danthia
08-26-2008, 01:50 AM
The agency name will get their foot in the door. Editors wants books they can sell, so as long as the junior agent (and agency) gives them good work they'll take their submissions seriously. Junior agents are often mentored/backed my more experienced agents. Many have mentors that get a cut of the junior agent's sales until they're out of their junior status.

Bottom line...

Do you like this agent? Do you feel comfortable that she'll do her best to sell your novel and guide your career? Has she sold anything else? Is it a good agency who will give her good advice and guide [I]her[I] career as she guides yours? After all, if she flops they don't make any money, so they'll make sure she has backing. They won't just throw her to the wolves.

Right now, I'd just do some research and find out more about her. It sounds promising, but until you have an offer on the table it's kind of a moot point. So find out what you can so that if/when she does offer, you're ready for the next step ;)

Boomergirl
08-26-2008, 08:51 AM
Thanks, guys. Will keep my fingers crossed on this whole issue.