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CrankItTo11
11-13-2008, 11:44 PM
A writer friend once told me that I should only consider NY, NY agents. He was quite adamant about it. As I am searching for agents to query, I wonder if that advice is sort of old school. I realize that the agent's track record, how much they like your work, and how well your work fits in with what they represent is what matters the most... so how much does it really matter if they are in California instead of New York City?

Any thoughts?

WendyNYC
11-13-2008, 11:50 PM
I asked an acquaintance of mine who is an editor at one of the big publishing houses that same question. She said that location doesn't matter, but that the majority of the big agents are in NYC. I asked her about a few specific agents outside of the city and she knew and respected all of them.

"A" Is For "Agent"
11-13-2008, 11:53 PM
I would say that the only advantage to being in NYC for agents is it's closer to network and more efficient for such things.
It's harder to set up a "lunch" meeting from my home in Erie, PA, for example.

waylander
11-14-2008, 12:32 AM
Provided an agent is known and respected in NY then location matters less than it used to. Not just my opinion, Kristin Nelson says so too on her blog and she is doing pretty well from Colorado. However, she does go to the major cons and makes a couple of trips a year to NY to meet with editors.

stormie
11-14-2008, 12:35 AM
Doesn't matter. It's great living in an age where we have email and fax machines and cell phones. And the agents are the ones who travel if need be.

RLB
11-14-2008, 12:47 AM
There are great agents in Wisconsin and complete scammers in NYC; location doesn't really matter - only their sales, track record and reputation. Of course, most great agents are in NYC, but there are a few major exceptions.

victoriastrauss
11-14-2008, 01:45 AM
Location doesn't matter--but an agent who is far from NYC will still need to make regular business trips there to do business. Publishing is still very much a let's-do-lunch biz.

And as always, track record is the bottom line.

- Victoria

"A" Is For "Agent"
11-14-2008, 01:49 AM
Well-put, Victoria.

MsGneiss
11-14-2008, 02:00 AM
Most _______ (fill in the blank) are in New York City. Including agents. Modern communications make agenting possible from anywhere. It seems that agents usually end up making several trips per year to New York to meet with the publishers, but it's not necessary for day-to-day operations. As most of the above comments already indicated, it's the track record that's most important.

KTC
11-14-2008, 02:06 AM
What about from the point of view of convenience between writer and agent? If you're a writer far from New York...will you be expected to make trips to see your NY agent, should you land one? Or could the cyber-world be a substitute to face-to-face meetings? Would this be personal preference of agents, or would they look at the address of the writer and decline because of inconvenience? I know these sound like dumb questions, but being near Toronto...there are enough agents here to count them on one hand and still not tire of holding up too many fingers.

Stacia Kane
11-14-2008, 02:35 AM
What about from the point of view of convenience between writer and agent? If you're a writer far from New York...will you be expected to make trips to see your NY agent, should you land one? Or could the cyber-world be a substitute to face-to-face meetings? Would this be personal preference of agents, or would they look at the address of the writer and decline because of inconvenience? I know these sound like dumb questions, but being near Toronto...there are enough agents here to count them on one hand and still not tire of holding up too many fingers.


Nope. I'm in England; didn't make any difference to my agent. We did meet up for a drink when he was here for the London Book Fair, but in the ordinary course of events we email or talk on the phone; there's very little need to meet in person. In fact--I just realized this--none of the agented, published writers I know live in or particularly near NYC. :)


As RLB and Victoria have said, it's all about sales and track record. The agent in Booneville MO who has solid sales is far better for your career than the one in NYC who's been in business two years without a single sale. Don't worry about where they are. Worry about what they've sold.

Good luck!

waylander
11-14-2008, 02:41 AM
I've met my agent twice since I signed with him....and he's 40 miles away.
Most of your interaction with your agent is by e-mail or phone

scope
11-14-2008, 04:29 AM
I guess by now it's clear that location really doesn't matter. New York would be best for reasons already stated, but don't get hung up on that -- it's not all that important! Just get a good agent -- using the criteria already mentioned. Also try to get an agent with whom you feel you can have an open, communicative relationship.

Carmy
11-14-2008, 08:27 AM
Great! That widens the scope.

Excellent question.

MsGneiss
11-14-2008, 06:28 PM
Ironically, I live in New York City, but my agent is in San Francisco.

endless rewrite
11-14-2008, 06:44 PM
I'm in England and recently moved agents from one nearer to me in the north to one in central London and for me it has made a big difference. That might be because I write scripts and my agents just seems to do a lot more networking, sees a lot more plays etc and have a lot more contacts by being in the thick of it. She's great and seems to be hot-wired into what is going on and who is looking for what.

I have met up with her three times in the last six months in London tied in with other work stuff but she still makes an effort to set up meetings etc at companies closer to my home. We talk on the phone at least every couple of weeks and email back and forth. My other agents seemed mainly to set me up with local contacts and meetings yet most of the work was going on in London. But her main contacts were out of London.

My new agent just has a much higher profile because of the agency and because of its location she really is in the hub of things and it shows. It is still a meet up and do lunch business so if you can manage it, get an agent who is where the meet ups are. However, it does all depend on how good your agent is and how established the agency is so the bottom line is to look at sales, look at who they represent and always try and meet up first and see how you get on. I did that with both agents and then went away and thought it through before accepting.

elroy
11-15-2008, 11:32 PM
I'm going to go against the grain here and say, IMHO, it might matter. I say that based on my own experience. I live just outside of NYC. I've now had experiences with two agents that were not in NYC. One was new and was in Portland, OR and probably just didn't have enough of a foundation to make any difference no matter what. The other was in DC and had more experience, but I still felt like she was at arm's length from the industry and didn't work her contacts well. In both cases, the relationship didn't result in a sale. This could have everything to do with me and my horrible work and oh yeah, I'm unpublished.

The other reason I say this is because of my own personal NYC experience. I know how I network the contacts that I weave for my 'day job' thanks to the proximity to NY. I can pop in on people more easily, have lunch and meet face to face and that gets me work. If an agent is not in NYC and they're not established firmly with publishers, they either have to be extremely well-connected or making a lot of trips to the city, to confs. and work that much harder. Again...this is just my opinion.

One more thing that probably influences my NYC-centricity. My work has a very strong city flavor that I hope rings with publishers who live and/or work in NYC. Lord knows there're pubs that run screaming from anything w/NY flavor, but it's just my hunch.

elroy