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Kristoff
10-28-2010, 03:48 AM
I know this is a "problem" most folks would curbstomp their own mother for, but I'm going to be fielding multiple calls from agents interested in repping me over the next couple of days (cue bouts of furious air guitar).

Does anyone here have experience/advice with this? (The agents are all reputable, from well established agencies with well known clients - basic google-fu/P&E/PM research was performed prior to query) Can you give me some insight as to what ultimately prompted your decision on one agent over another? Was it concrete, factual stuff, like client list, sales record, etc? Or was it something more intangible - just a "gut feeling" type deal?

I have a feeling it'll be more the latter, but any insight folks could give would be much appreciated.

ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff*ckkk! !!

Calla Lily
10-28-2010, 03:59 AM
Awesome!

Both, for me: I'd made a mistake once by going with my gut only. The next time around, I went with both sales and gut. Plus, my agent basically sold himself to me--his experience, his contacts, why he was the best person to rep my book, and why he loved my book.

Good luck, and breeeeathe. :)

hillaryjacques
10-28-2010, 04:00 AM
Write out a list of questions to ask each of them (or ask if you can email them the list after the phone call - sometimes it's nice to have answers in writing). I'm sure you can find suggestions here in the forums for what to ask. Some agent websites also have helpful lists of questions about the agency, workflow, etc.

A few keys: what timeline is the agent looking at to submit you? If it's "undetermined", they may a very full workload and you may find yourself at the bottom of the priority list. Ask how often they go on vacation, whether you would be dealing with the agent or an assistant...things of this nature. Ask questions about your genre or similar books to see how familiar they are with those.

Then, just see how you feel during the call. Does the agent talk non-stop and not let you get a word in edgewise? Does he/she actually sound familiar with your ms? Would he/she be willing to email you some first impressions of concerns with the ms prior to your accepting an offer? That was the key for me. One agent sent a page of issues that she thought we could work on to make the ms better, and every single one made sense to me. A couple were things I'd struggled on and done as much as I could with, but a few were eye-openers...the key bits that would take the story to the next level. I based my decision on that.

Congratulations!

Stacia Kane
10-28-2010, 07:34 AM
Congratulations! :)


For me it was sort of a combination of things. I actually went with the first agent who offered, even though I had several other fulls out and I knew I was supposed to give them a chance. But I didn't even feel like it was a decision, honestly. He requested my full three hours after I sent the query, and he offered two days after I gave him the full, which was a big deal to me. I wanted someone who really wanted me, you know? And who wasn't going to waste any time in getting what he wanted. He'd obviously read and loved the book, which is of course a big deal (actually he hadn't finished it; he was about halfway through but he didn't want another agent to get in there first, and he said it was obvious from the first half of the ms that I could fix whatever plot issues he might find). I also really liked that when I asked him "What if the book doesn't sell?" his reply was, "I don't think there's a chance that it won't sell." Which, you know, cool.

We talked for probably about an hour and a half that first night, and it was great. I really liked him and felt comfortable, and I liked the things he had to say. We talked about stuff other than the book, just general family/life stuff, which was good. I don't need my agent to be my friend, but I'm glad he is, you know?

It's good to ask them what their working style is. Will they call you once a week to check on your progress? Once a year? Do they expect to hear from you once a week etc.? How much work do they do with their clients mss, and how much will they sit and brainstorm?

Ask what some of their favorite books or movies or music are, if you want.

I've had two or three friends now who've switched agents, or who went with one agent over another because something just clicked with Agent B that didn't with Agent A. When I talked to my agent something just clicked. I really think that just happens.

It's a business relationship, yes. But it is a friend relationship too, or it should be. So think of it that way; when you meet someone you like and start hanging out, well, how do you know it's someone you want to keep hanging out with? I always think starting a new friendship is a bit like falling in love, or it's a platonic kind of falling in love; you meet, you want to talk and spend time together, you want to talk all the time...there's just a chemistry there, and you can't fake that, and you know it when it happens.

So I honestly wouldn't worry. You have a good list of questions to ask in the above posts, and I'm sure you have a lot of good questions on your own. It's not purely "go with your gut"--you want to be sure your working styles mesh, that the agent wants you to have a nice long career, that they don't think your book would be way better if you added bunnies--but you will know when it clicks and when it doesn't. It shouldn't be an effort to talk to your agent, you know?

Good luck, let us know how it goes!

C.T. Richmond
10-28-2010, 08:16 AM
First off, a big congrats! Wahoo!

When I was trying to decide on an agent, I focused on three main things:

1.) Someone who had a good sales record in my genre.
2.) Someone I felt comfortable talking to.
3.) Someone who I had 100% confidence in to represent my work.

I was lucky enough to receive three offers of rep, and I really liked all of the agents personality-wise. Ultimately, I decided to go with my current agent because he knocked all three of my criteria out of the ballpark. Plus, I liked how quickly he followed-up our conversation with an email that offered to answer any further questions. That impressed me a lot.

Looking back, I feel the same way as Stacia. Like her, something simply clicked when I spoke with my agent!

A couple more things... I'd definitely print off a list of questions to ask the agents so you won't forget anything important. Be sure to jot down their answers too when you speak with them. It's amazing how much you can forget when you're going through this! :)

Also, I gained a lot of insight into the agents' communication styles by speaking with some of their clients. I'd suggest asking the agents for a couple referrals.

Best of luck! Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions. :)

Giant Baby
10-28-2010, 09:10 AM
Congratulations!

Beyond sales records, etc, once I'd narrowed down who had a vision for my book I was most excited about, two things became the next most important to me:
Does the agent represent the author or the book? For me, knowing my agent is invested in my career and thinking about the long haul makes the current submission process a lot less distracting. That's a biggie for me.
Who was I most comfortable talking to? What is the agent's communication style? This is a business relationship, but it's a business relationship centered around a damn personal product. I really, really believe writers should talk to as many interested agents as they can before deciding, even if they think they already know who they intend to sign with. I really, really do.
Good luck! Let us know how it goes!

triceretops
10-28-2010, 09:48 AM
I had multiple offers and this time I went for the age of the agency (how long in business) and the sales record. I had one A list, two B list and one C list agent. So it wasn't very hard for me to make a decision. I had gone with my gut before, enthused about their enthusiasm, but that didn't produce fruit. My present agent has multiple best-sellers behind her, is more subdued and stealthy, and is very very calm and precise about things.

Oh, check to see if they specialize in your genre and have made numerous sales in that area.

Tri

Susan Littlefield
10-28-2010, 10:07 AM
Stacia,

Wow. Your response very much inspired me.

Susan Littlefield
10-28-2010, 10:08 AM
I know this is a "problem" most folks would curbstomp their own mother for, but I'm going to be fielding multiple calls from agents interested in repping me over the next couple of days (cue bouts of furious air guitar).

Does anyone here have experience/advice with this? (The agents are all reputable, from well established agencies with well known clients - basic google-fu/P&E/PM research was performed prior to query) Can you give me some insight as to what ultimately prompted your decision on one agent over another? Was it concrete, factual stuff, like client list, sales record, etc? Or was it something more intangible - just a "gut feeling" type deal?

I have a feeling it'll be more the latter, but any insight folks could give would be much appreciated.

ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff*ckkk! !!

Kristoff,

Congratulations! I am so excited for you.

This has not happened for me yet. But, then again, I just sent out some queries on the weekend. I have received one rejection, one request for a partial. I'm excited. Can I let you know when it does happen? :D

cspradbery
10-28-2010, 12:00 PM
Congratulations!

For me it was the agent who just seemed to love my work and obviously really WANTED to rep me, which worked out well as that was the agent I wanted too. I got a feeling from the other agent that she only saw the book as a possible sale rather than a piece of work she really connected with. I think talking to the agents will give you a much better idea of how they feel about your work and how they will work with you.

Good luck, how very exciting!

Kristoff
10-29-2010, 04:31 AM
Thanks for the replies all! Much <3

Well, it has begun. I'll let you all know how it goes!

Kristoff
11-04-2010, 03:01 AM
Update - four offers of representation now. 0.o

ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffckkkkkk

hillaryjacques
11-04-2010, 03:33 AM
Congratulations! Do you have a clear front-runner, or at least a couple of agents in the lead?

Now might be a good time (if you haven't already) to subscribe to Publisher's Marketplace and take a look at recent sales. Although, not every agent reports in a timely manner, and some rarely report at all.

Corinne Duyvis
11-04-2010, 03:33 AM
Whoa! They're not joking around. :D

Congratulations! You must be so thrilled!

Kristoff
11-04-2010, 05:27 AM
Hillary - yup, I'm on PM. I was a good little research bunny before I queried :) There's a front runner, yeah, but I'm trying my best to keep an open mind.

Corinne - Thanks! "Thrilled" isn't the way I'd describe it. "Completely losing my tiny mind" is more accurate. XD

Gokstad
11-30-2010, 10:49 AM
. . . I'm going to be fielding multiple calls from agents interested in repping me over the next couple of days . . .
Does anyone here have experience/advice with this? (The agents are all reputable, from well established agencies with well known clients - basic google-fu/P&E/PM research was performed prior to query) Can you give me some insight as to what ultimately prompted your decision on one agent over another? Was it concrete, factual stuff, like client list, sales record, etc? Or was it something more intangible - just a "gut feeling" type deal?

ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff*ckkk! !!

In my case, got two offers, and the decision really made itself. One agent wanted substantial revisions in a direction that I thought was inconsistent with the characters, as I had imagined them. Also, he was a solo with fewer sales. The other agent wanted a couple of minor tweaks, and was from an agency with a dozen agents, major sales, and top-of-the-line reputation.

Plus, I had much better chemistry talking on the phone to the second guy.

rainsmom
11-30-2010, 10:57 PM
Figure out what's important to you. Do you want an agent who is big into editing and guidance? If so, then choose one like that. If not, such a person may not be the right agent.

What's your vision of the book? Make SURE your agent has the same vision.

Do you think the book is ready to submit? Do the agents agree? If not, do you agree with their arguments, and do you share the vision for changes? It's not a bad idea to get some editorial feedback just to see how they communicate and if you mesh well with their styles.

Have all of the agents published books like this? Do some have better contacts in this area than others? How experienced are they overall?

What about future books? Are you the type to genre-hop? Maybe you should focus on agents who also rep other genres you're interested in.

Finally, personality is very important. If you want someone sweet and helpful, then don't choose someone who is brusque and businesslike.

.