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LloydBrown
06-15-2005, 09:12 PM
Thanks to aid on this board and others, I think my NF proposal & cover letter rock. I think I'm going to get back more than one agent interested in representing me.

I just remembered that a few years ago, before I knew what I was doing, I sent out a book proposal to 10 publishers and 4 of them were interested. That's without an agent. Market research turned up way too many similar titles, however, and I abandoned it. I had nothing new for the market.

So the question becomes "which agent do I choose?"

Obviously I want to look at an agent that can potentially reprepsent the fantasy I'm writing, too. Having the same one for F & NF would be ideal.

Am I the only one that prioritizes by rates? 15% seems to be standard, but foreign rights seem to be either 10% or 20%. Few in between.

No charging postage & phone calls seems to be another one. I'm spending $150 on supplies & postage this week, and I don't want to repeat that any more than is necessary.

On to other priorities:
Years in business. Duh.
Number of clients: do I want a large, busy house with more clients, on the asumption that they have better resources & relationships with the publishers? Or a small house, hoping for a closer working relationship with me?
That sale-to-client ratio I mentioned in another post still looks like a good way to compare.
I hear that location doesn't matter as much as it used to. All other things being equal, however, I think I'd still prefer NY to Dallas.

What's the ideal agent like?

victoriastrauss
06-20-2005, 01:37 AM
Obviously I want to look at an agent that can potentially reprepsent the fantasy I'm writing, too. Having the same one for F & NF would be ideal.Yes, it would be, but don't count on it. Many agents specialize in one or the other. Authors who do both fiction and nonfiction (or who write in different genres) often have different agents for each kind of book.

Am I the only one that prioritizes by rates? 15% seems to be standard, but foreign rights seem to be either 10% or 20%. Few in between.15% is the standard for domestic rates. Standard for co-agented sales is 20-25%, since the commission is split between two agencies. Among successful agencies, you won't find much variation in these percentages.

You shouldn't automatically be paying more for foreign or dramatic sales unless a co-agent is involved.

No charging postage & phone calls seems to be another one. I'm spending $150 on supplies & postage this week, and I don't want to repeat that any more than is necessary.I think it's very unlikely you'll find a successful agent who won't charge postage, phone, photocopying, etc. back to you. This is standard practice. However, look for an agent who lets these costs accrue, and deducts them from your advance in the event of a sale. Avoid agents who ask for an upfront fee or deposit, and do some extra research on agents who want to bill you on an ongoing basis. Neither are typical practice among successful agents, and many agents who charge upfront or bill are either questionable or inexperienced.

Years in business. Duh.No duh. What you're looking for is experience. An agent who's been in business for a short time might have years of experience with another reputable agency, or have previously worked in publishing. Don't automatically rule out new agents--just make sure they're qualified.

Number of clients: do I want a large, busy house with more clients, on the asumption that they have better resources & relationships with the publishers? Or a small house, hoping for a closer working relationship with me?This is an individual decision. Either way, you should have a close working relationship with your agent, and a small, select agency can have as much clout as a larger one. However, if you turn out to be a midlist writer, you can fall to the bottom of the priority list a lot easier in a very big agency.

That sale-to-client ratio I mentioned in another post still looks like a good way to compare.See my comments in that thread.

I hear that location doesn't matter as much as it used to. All other things being equal, however, I think I'd still prefer NY to Dallas.Location doesn't matter IF the agent makes regular business trips to New York to do business, renew connections, etc. That said, successful agents do tend to cluster in and around NYC and LA.

- Victoria

LloydBrown
06-20-2005, 06:54 PM
That was a meaty reply. Yum, yum!