View Full Version : What does an Agent's "second read" mean, if anything?

03-30-2010, 07:28 PM
B xxx

03-30-2010, 11:38 PM
Hello everyone,

Firstly, I apologise if this is the wrong place for this. I was uncertain about where it would fit in best.

I find myself in an unexpected situation. Having finished my young adult novel, I posted the first few chapters on a well-known website and was approached by a literary agent asking for the entire manuscript.

After checking their legitimacy, (they seem to be well-established and genuine) I obliged, and expected to hear nothing for an age.

To my surprise, yesterday I received an email saying my manuscript was being given a second read, and did I have a synopsis.

I'm completely new to the industry, and I haven't found out if there's any significance to the "second read" business - beyond the "we're still thinking about it" stage.

Any ideas? Is there some inner process such as "Reader A looks at everything and picks out the good ones, and then passes the best on to Reader B for further filtering?" Or am I barking up completely the wrong tree?

Thank you in advance, everyone!

03-30-2010, 11:42 PM
What's the agency, and have you checked them out here in Bewares & Background Checks and/or on P&E? Plenty of scammers can appear legit at first or second glance.

Do they have clients you've heard of who have published books you've heard of? If yes, then CONGRATS! A second read could mean they're passing it along to a senior agent (if they're a junior one) or that the agency works on committee, where everything has to be run past everyone.

03-30-2010, 11:47 PM
Hi Cyia,

They're the Barbara Levy Literary Agency - Established for 24 years and although it's hard to find, I did work out a couple of published authors who they represent and that I know of. They're on P&E with a $A, so they're legit and have made sales.

Thank you for the congrats, and I'll take the second read as a positive thing. I wish I knew more about the business. I was going to do more research before I started submitting, but they came to me and asked before I'd even written a darn synopsis, and I wasn't quite ready for them :D

Thank you for the wonderful advice. Fingers crossed!

B xxx

03-30-2010, 11:52 PM
Good luck...I think that's great. Do research though while you wait. It can't hurt to know as much as possible about the business since, as Cyia mentioned, there are plenty of scams out there. But don't be a skeptic to the point of lunacy...do your research now and be thrilled that you are already so far ahead of the game.

03-30-2010, 11:54 PM
Second read means serious interest.
At worse you should get some very solid feedback on your novel

03-30-2010, 11:56 PM
Thanks Milly,

I'm currently hovering around on Writer's Beware, jotting down notes of questions and things to ask should they decide to represent me. (And that's still a HUGE question mark). It's encouraging, though, to know they're taking an interest in the MS< even if it comes to nothing in the end!

B xxx

Edit: Oh, thank you, Waylander. I have to admit I'm hoping for critique if they do eventually say no. Standard rejections would only frustrate me (don't they frustrate everyone? :D)

03-31-2010, 01:10 AM
Oooh, good luck!

03-31-2010, 02:33 PM
Thanks, VFury, I'm trying not to get too excited, because it could still be WEEKS before I know one way or the other. However, quietly hopeful I can manage :D

B xxx

03-31-2010, 07:40 PM
"Second read" in my experience means somebody else at the agency is also reading it, so more than one opinion of your writing may be evaluated. It could, however, just mean that the agent is re-reading it.

04-09-2010, 04:30 AM
Second read means someone else at the agency is reading it.

04-11-2010, 09:00 AM
A second read in a literary agency usually means that another agent in the office is reading the manuscript. It's DEFINITELY a good thing, because the agent is seriously considering your manuscript. I'll get a second read either if I'm excited about a manuscript and want some feedback before I offer representation, or if I'm on the fence about it and want a second opinion.

Hope this helps! Good luck!