View Full Version : How long?

07-30-2005, 05:00 PM
Hi, everyone.
I recently signed with an agency and then got a couple of requests for my manuscripts from other agencies...with good reputations.

I have since read mixed reviews of the agency I signed with... The agency is listed with the AAR, does have a track record of sales, etc., etc... Although I saw some vague negative references here on AbsoluteWrite, I contacted a current client of the agency, who is a published author, and she said that the agents are great to work with and honest.

I'm worried that if my work is "shopped" around by a substandard agency, it will never be picked up by another if I end my contract.

So, how long should I give an agency before I begin looking for another? Of course, if I knew for sure that the agency is great, I wouldn't mind waiting...

Any insight would be appreciated!:flag:

07-30-2005, 06:13 PM
Peyton, who's your agent? If I've gotten any complaints, I can let you know. Reply privately if you wish, by PM here or an e-mail to Writer Beware: beware@sfwa.org .

- Victoria

07-30-2005, 09:36 PM
Thanks, Victoria!

I will send you a pm... and I will still value other opinions on the topic too! Thanks so much!

Andrew Zack
07-31-2005, 12:05 AM
I find this a bit disturbing. While I know there are less-than-reputable agents out there, I think there's something of a feeding frenzy among writers to label an agent a bad apple. The reality is that any business has bad apples. I could tell you of many a publisher who has violated the terms of a contract; of authors who have cheated their agents; and of agents who have done some unsavory things. And all of these would be companies or people you think are perfectly legit.

This agent you mention took you on in good faith and you have, it appears, no complaints, other than that you have read some questionable things about the agent. Well, I know there are some who have written some unpleasant things about me on here, yet I think my advice and comments speak for themselves. Remember, the last guy someone's wife dated before he married her might think she's a real bee-atch, but her husband loves her. No one is univerally liked and we all have situations we might have handled differently. I think you should go by your personal experience.

As for your concern about being shopped and would you then be able to find a new agent, the truth is that it is a detrimental factor. But it's not who shopped you, but just that you were shopped. If you've been rejected all over town, that's that.

But let me tell you a quick story. When THE FIRM was going around to publishers, the agent was Jay Garon. Jay was an obese, chain-smoking guy who regularly deluged editors with manuscripts. My first week as an editor at Berkley, he sent me a manuscript a day for five days. He truly practiced the "let's throw a bunch at the wall and see what sticks" approach. Did that stop Doubleday from paying him about a quarter of a million dollars for THE FIRM? No.

Bottom line: It's about the book, rather than than agent selling the book, most of the time. A good agent can sell a mediocre book that another agent might not, I admit, but a good book will sell now matter who the agent is, I feel.

Best wishes,

07-31-2005, 03:51 AM

Thank you for your insight... it helps. Of course, being in the business, you realize that my angst comes from the unknown. I agree that my agent accepted me in good faith... but in this business, I have no real way of knowing if that faith is really good...

Like many, I spent years writing my first book, and don't want to see that precious cargo lost forever...

I am thankful that I was signed by an agency, and hope beyond hope that a publisher sees the virtues of my book (or at least marketability :)

Thanks again for your perspective, it does make me feel better about my decisions!