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Allie
02-04-2009, 11:26 PM
Hey Everyone... I've stopped writing for a few years, but now I'm back and I have a question that I'm sure has been addressed, I just can't find it.

What is the general policy for querying two agents at one agency? From what I can glean off the websites of the agencies, if they have multiple agents, each agent has a different focus area. But there can be overlap.

I have mystery ready for sale, and I'm creating a list of potential agents. There have been a couple of times where two great agents from the same agency would potentially fit for my novel. (In the case of this question, Liza Dawson and Caitlin Blasdell both from Liza Dawson Associates might be a good fit based on other projects that they have represented and their general interests.)

I would like to query them both, because if I'm understanding the agent process right, at least part of formula for finding the right agent is chemistry. But is that against some agency rule? Or is it rude, or in bad taste?

I would obviously not query them at the same time... but if I query one, and she rejects it, could I query the other?

Thanks for any thoughts. :)

Allie

rugcat
02-04-2009, 11:49 PM
It's not at all unreasonable to query another agent at a large house, like Writer's House, where there are many agents. In my experience that seldom works -- but there's no rule against it. If your query is sufficiently good to interest an agent, but they feel it's not right for them, they well may pass it on to another agent at the agency. But if doesn't pique their interest enough to do so, it's unlikely another agent will be entranced. It won't hurt to try, though.

In smaller agencies, such as Liza Dawson, however, they definitely talk with each other on a daily basis, and I think it would be pointless to requery one if the other has no interest. I know for a fact that Liza will show Caitlin something she thinks Caitlin might be interested in.

Keep in mind Caitlin is most interested in SF/F, with popular appeal, and Liza is more interested in thrillers and books with more of a literary sensibility. (To the best of my knowledge)

Madisonwrites
02-05-2009, 12:38 AM
I have actually read that you only query one agent at one house. If that agent rejects you then it is a rejection from the entire agency. The agents talk to one another. If you send Agent 1 at House 1 a query and he doesn't like it, but thinks Agent 2 at House 1 will like it, then he will pass it on.

I wouldn't query more than one agent at a publishing house. Pick one.

Good luck and happy writing! :D

Kathleen42
02-05-2009, 01:20 AM
Query one. If rejected, wait a suitable period of time (I believe N Bransford mentioned 6 months at one point) and query the other UNLESS it specifically says not to in their guidelines.

scope
02-05-2009, 01:48 AM
You can see from the responses you've already received that writers--even some agents--have differing ideas about querying two agents at one agency, whatever the time frame. I'm of the opinion that it's best to submit to one agent at one agency. I think there are more than enough agencies out there who will pick up a writer if the query and all else are good enough. Also, Danthia brings up a valid point about agency editorial board meetings.

rugcat
02-05-2009, 04:37 AM
One agent per agency. You don't want to have two agents both want the same project. The OPs original question was whether it's acceptable to query another agent at the same agency after a different agent there has rejected it.

scope
02-05-2009, 08:56 AM
rugrat,

I know, and my answer is the same. However, if after one year I had queried every agent on my list and was rejected by all, I might be tempted to send a second query to a different agent at an agency. I really don't know.

Allie
02-05-2009, 09:15 AM
In smaller agencies, such as Liza Dawson, however, they definitely talk with each other on a daily basis, and I think it would be pointless to requery one if the other has no interest. I know for a fact that Liza will show Caitlin something she thinks Caitlin might be interested in.

Keep in mind Caitlin is most interested in SF/F, with popular appeal, and Liza is more interested in thrillers and books with more of a literary sensibility. (To the best of my knowledge)


I'm with you... but both Caitlin and Liza showed up on Agent Query as representing mysteries. (With a host of other agents who probably prefer to mainly rep other types of work.) I'll query Caitlin, since it clearly says mystery on her profile page.

But one other side question... If I was an agent -- and I'm obviously not -- and I had to read through anywhere to 10 - 50 emailed queries a day, would I necessarily discuss all of them with my partner? Or would I just speed read them and hit delete, discussing with my colleagues only the ones that might sound interesting to me or to them?

I was thinking the later, which is why I thought I could query both of them, one at a time, without any problem. And since the other agent at the firm would have read another 100 to 200 queries since mine came across her desk, she probably would have forgotten about me by the time I queried her colleague.

Thoughts? :)

Thanks for the replies

rugcat
02-05-2009, 11:21 AM
I'm with you... but both Caitlin and Liza showed up on Agent Query as representing mysteries. (With a host of other agents who probably prefer to mainly rep other types of work.) I'll query Caitlin, since it clearly says mystery on her profile page. As I said, I think at least for this particular agency, it would be useless. Your logic may be fine, but it just wouldn't work.

If you look at Caitlin's sales, you'll see that they're almost all SF/F. Liza Dawson reps some respected thriller writers. Not to say Caitlin wouldn't love to find a great mystery -- it's just not her primary interest.

waylander
02-05-2009, 03:48 PM
It depends on the agency. Writers House - sure no problem.
When I was querying I got rejected by one agent who took my partial and six months later another agent at the same shop took my full and we came close to doing business

Allie
02-05-2009, 06:49 PM
As I said, I think at least for this particular agency, it would be useless. Your logic may be fine, but it just wouldn't work.

If you look at Caitlin's sales, you'll see that they're almost all SF/F. Liza Dawson reps some respected thriller writers. Not to say Caitlin wouldn't love to find a great mystery -- it's just not her primary interest.

It sounds like you have good knowledge about this agency and I want to learn.

I'm not disagreeing with you, but I'm confused. Why would any agency say they would rep material of which they have no true interest? It would give them more work to do.

rugcat
02-05-2009, 10:59 PM
It sounds like you have good knowledge about this agency and I want to learn.

I'm not disagreeing with you, but I'm confused. Why would any agency say they would rep material of which they have no true interest? It would give them more work to do.I'm not arguing either. I'm giving my opinion, which you are free to give whatever weight you think it's worth.

Most agents have a field of expertise -- mystery, SF/F, literary, romance, non-fiction, etc. They have good relations with acquiring editors in that particular genre, and have had good luck in placing mss. Some have more than one area, but most do specialize.

So agent A may have 15 clients in the mystery genre, and only one in SF/F. Agent B may have the exact opposite proportion. They both can legitimately say they're looking for fantasy novels and mysteries, and they are. But from an aspiring writer's view, it makes more sense to query agent A if you've written a mystery, and agent B if you have a fantasy book.

Allie
02-06-2009, 06:22 AM
Got it rugcat... thanks.