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lee lee
03-14-2010, 01:06 AM
I know people may be reluctant to post negative experiences with agents (although if you aren't, please do), but I would like to know about any personal experiences.

I met Lauren Abramo at a conference and the first thing she asks is this, "Is it finished?" If not, she doesn't want to hear a pitch. She thinks it will change too much.

I also met Maya Rock at a conference (she was at the Writer's House, and has since left to pursue other opportunities.) This did not surprise me.

I met Alexandra Machinist (Linda Chester Agency) and was really impressed with her. She gets back to you right away and is not just really nice, but also super smart. She told me at the get-go to send "the whole thing." Now I have to tell you, I do not understand in the digital age why agents ask for partials. In the past it saved printing and postage, but what exactly is the point now?

The thing I learned from going to conferences is that it is better to have no agent than a bad one. I hear people on here talking about agents (I have met) like they are the best choice in the world---and I am almost certain they have not met these people.

So please share whatever you know.

I

Cyia
03-14-2010, 01:12 AM
Have you looked around this forum at all? Your thread is exactly what Bewares and Background Checks already does. You search for the specific agent/agency and read their thread for people's experiences with them.

suki
03-14-2010, 01:27 AM
Lee Lee, welcome to AW. I see you are new around here. When I was new it took a while for me to find my way around - I actually read a bunch of threads in each forum before posting, so that I would get a feels for what threads already existed. So, welcome, and enjoy your stay.

Cyia is exactly right - the entirety of Bewares and Background Checks is about what you are asking, but organized by agent/agency. I don't think it would really be productive to dupilcate that in a general hodge podge thread. :)

So, look around Bewares & Background Checks. My advice is to look at the specific threads of the agents you want to discuss/are interested in.

The search function on the bar just to the left of your screen name (above) will let you search by specific agent/agency name. Then you can discuss your experiences or read the experiences of others in the agent/agency specific thread. (Hint: If you click on "advanced" in the search pull down box, it will let you search only within Bewares and Background Checks instead of searching the entire forum).

I suggest you really spend some time looking around Absolute Write, and read the sticky threads in the forums you are interested in to see what information is available and how best to find it.

Also, as a reminder, this forum is open the public and searchable - so you do want to think about whether you would be comfortable with the people you are posting about to read what you post - your screen name can lead back to you easier than you think. ;)
~suki

JulieB
03-14-2010, 01:56 AM
Welcome to AW, lee lee!

Here's the giant index of agents, publishers, and others (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=792). Chances are you'll find a thread of an agent you'd like to learn more about. If not, do start one!

lee lee
03-14-2010, 04:43 AM
Well, that's just it Julie et al., it's a GIANT index.;)

I have read through several of the agency listings from 2005 forward---I read every single post---but I only ran across one person who had a face to face experience with an agent. Many people comment on how great an agent is, but I have met some of those agents and, as I said, I think some of those warm comments here were based on a digital experience somewhere, either an online comment or an e-mail.

We have a list of the 20 worst agents---it would be nice to have a list of the best agents based on the actual experiences of memebers. Don'cha think?

I am not desperate for just any agent. I do not send to someone unless I have met the person or met another agent in their house, who I like, who recommends them. Since that greatly limits who I have submitted to, I was interested in trying to pull out actual personal experiences without wading through all those lists. I do think it would be quite valuable for everyone.

However, if you all feel that this is not valuable (pulling out the actual experiences) then I bow to your experience. I can delete the thread, if that's the case.

Giant Baby
03-14-2010, 05:22 AM
Hi Lee Lee,

You're absolutely correct, the index--like this forum as a whole--is enormous. If you're looking for for experiences that will point you toward an agent, there's no way you can read it all.

The best thing is to go through the usual resources to find agents who represent books like what you've written (if you're looking on-line, check Agent Query (http://agentquery.com/), Query Tracker (http://querytracker.net/), and definitely Preditors & Editors (http://pred-ed.com/pubagent.htm). Publishers Marketplace (http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/) is an excellent resource, but there's a small annual fee.) Make a list of agents you think you're interested in querying, and then come here and check their threads in the index.

If you really want to get a gauge of writers' first hand experiences with agents, you could check through the Ask the Agent (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=58) thread here. The thread's name is a little misleading. Other than in the specific subfolders stuck to the top for agents who are currently answering questions, most of the questions there are about agents, not answered by them. You might find a thread to bump. But if not, posting a question like this in that thread might get more response.

stormie
03-14-2010, 05:32 AM
Lee lee--many writers don't meet with their agents at all, yet they have a great working relationship. And books that are sold to top publishers.

That said, a certain person can have a top agent who is respected and much liked and great at getting his/her clients books sold, yet that person and that agent just don't click. And that's without meeting.

It's more about the writer and the agent being able to communicate via email or phone and as I said, work together.

Welcome to AW--yes, there is a lot of info, but worth reading.

Cathy C
03-14-2010, 05:35 AM
I think there's probably a lot of members here who have met multiple agents. I know quite a few myself. The trick is, that even if I've met them, and like them, it's no indication of whether we could actually work together productively--so it does little good to post about my experience. Much depends on what you want out of an agent. Personality (meeting them) is only ONE guideline.

But yes, as Stormie says, a lot of represented authors might not meet their agent for years. I think the first time I met mine was at the 2 year mark, at a conference.

M.R.J. Le Blanc
03-14-2010, 05:41 AM
We have a list of the 20 worst agents---it would be nice to have a list of the best agents based on the actual experiences of memebers. Don'cha think?

Well, yes and no.

Yes, because it would certainly help who to target. No, because the best agent for me won't necessarily be the best agent for you. There's genre to think of first off, then personality. Some agents are great, but if you have a clash of personality it's going to be a miserable relationship.

Giant Baby's got the right idea though. Whittle down the list to agents who rep your genre through those sites and go from there. No sense researching agents who don't even rep your genre :) and welcome to AW

lee lee
03-14-2010, 06:01 AM
Thanks so much! I have manuscripts out with agents who I have researched and also met. I am very specific---but the one thing you generally cannot find are personal impressions.

I still think it was a good idea, but I do not want to spend more time defending it. I am willing to delete the thread if someone can tell me how to do it?

Cyia
03-14-2010, 06:13 AM
You can't delete threads. You have to PM the forum's mod to do it for you.

JamieB
03-14-2010, 06:30 AM
Thanks so much! I have manuscripts out with agents who I have researched and also met. I am very specific---but the one thing you generally cannot find are personal impressions.

I still think it was a good idea, but I do not want to spend more time defending it. I am willing to delete the thread if someone can tell me how to do it?

Just a quick bit of advice. And this comes directly out of the mouth of the agents that were at a conference taking pitches, but it may not apply to all. They came right out and said that if you were at the conference and brave enough to sit in front of them and pitch, they were going to ask for pages. Like I said, it may not be the case for all. But don't limit yourself to only those you've met in person. What's the phrase about cutting off your nose to spite your face?

I've met some lovely agents at conferences and sent them pages. It didn't end up being a match for me. Might work for you, and I hope that it does, but like many others have said, most writers don't come face to face with their agents and still have books sold.

I wish you the best of luck with the approach you've chosen and hope it works out.

Alanna B.
03-14-2010, 06:43 AM
:welcome:Lee Lee, it was a good thought. Sometimes the thousands of threads on this website can seem overwhelming.

NDZone
03-14-2010, 06:57 AM
I don't know that you could pick a top ten list of agents. I can think of 8-10 off the top of my head who are enormously successful, but don't rep my genre. To me they're worth nothing (well, you know what I mean!).

And as someone mentioned above, as long as you've research your targets well, nothing beats clicking with your agent. If choosing between a superstar with a hundred clients who's willing to give me a round of subs, and a successful workhorse willing to stick it out with me, give me the workhorse. Too many variables exist to pick a general top ten IMO.

Ken
03-14-2010, 08:19 AM
... in general, the most common gripe I hear about agents is communication issues. That was a bit of a problem I had myself with my former agent. All their replies to my emails were 2-3 words long consisting of basically just an "Okay, that's fine." So I never got any feedback on anything and never had an opportunity to speak with them on the phone, either. I was so thrilled to be offered representation that I immediately emailed them back and said YES!!! Communication issues aside, they were a good fit in many ways, sharing the same literary tastes as me. And they did love my work.

If I manage to get another agent, by some miracle, in my current quest for representation I will definitely look for one who involves me more and is open to offering feedback. I've talked to some here who converse regularly with their agents and have even had lunch with them! I'm not asking for that much, but just a good working relation would be awesome. Really, really awesome :-)

stormie
03-15-2010, 02:01 AM
Thanks so much! I have manuscripts out with agents who I have researched and also met. I am very specific---but the one thing you generally cannot find are personal impressions.

I still think it was a good idea, but I do not want to spend more time defending it. I am willing to delete the thread if someone can tell me how to do it?

Why would you want to have this thread deleted? So many people with experience have given advice. It's a good thread for those in the beginning stage of looking for an agent. You don't have to defend yourself, and you've been nice about it and thankful for our responses. I'd say this thread is informative. :)

jana13k
03-15-2010, 05:01 AM
leelee - What genre do you write? I have met several agents, but they are mostly in the women's fiction arena, most also with YA clients.

cate townsend
03-17-2010, 08:46 PM
Another good way is to check out author blogs. Many of them will post their experiences with their agent, and you can also learn a lot from agent blogs. There's a sticky list of them posted in this forum.