PDA

View Full Version : Are new agents a good bet?



KookyKat
04-02-2012, 12:44 PM
What are everyone's thoughts on new agents? When I say new, I mean agents who’ve been promoted to ‘agent’ status recently after having been an assistant to a major player for a few years? Agents who don’t yet have any sales under their belt but who were regarded well enough to be promoted to agent status at a big agency? Has anyone got an agent like this? Any experiences with agents like this?

My concern is a) lack of long-term established relationships with editors, b) lack of sales fullstop: what proof is there they CAN sell a book, c) lack of honed editing skills.

Writers Digest says: 'Newer agents are golden opportunities for new writers because they’re likely building their client list'. But that's only useful in increasing your chances of snagging them as an agent. What about after, when it really counts? When it comes to getting your novel published?

waylander
04-02-2012, 01:02 PM
Worked for me.

New agents have the support of the other agents in agency, so will be introduced to the editors that the agency has connections with. As assistants they will have been doing a load of reading for the agent they assisted and should have picked up enough editing skills to get promoted.

Cyia
04-02-2012, 02:18 PM
My concern is a) lack of long-term established relationships with editors, b) lack of sales fullstop: what proof is there they CAN sell a book, c) lack of honed editing skills.



These are three mistaken assumptions.

If they've been working for an established agency and promoted in-house, they a) have established relationships with editors who will usually give them the benefit of their agencies reputation, b) will probably have made sales or at least assisted in the sale of work for whomever they interned, c) see b -- editing client's work can be part of their "pre-agenting" job; especially first-pass editing.

My agent was an intern before she was an agent, and was recommended to me by an established agent at said agency. It's worked out pretty well :)

aruna
04-02-2012, 02:59 PM
I've had two new agents, both with majoy houses. The first worked very hard to sell my novel, got a few bites, but finally did not sell it. And then she changed job, stopped being an agent, and I was left orphaned. That's always the risk.

The second agent -- well, he has not sold my book either but he knows I'm writing and I've the feeling he believes, and is waiting for the right project and right time. He's doing well at his agency, and seems to have made the most sales there recently.

Before being an agent he was an editor himself so no question of lacking experience.

So it can work both ways.

taylormillgirl
04-02-2012, 03:04 PM
Worked for me.



Yeah, me too, except mine is with a small agency.

While querying, I made it a point to target newer agents because I hoped they'd be more likely to take a chance on a newbie like me with no pub credits and only two completed mss under my belt. When my agent offered rep, she made sure to tell me that although she was new to the game, she'd already sold two deals and a third client was going to acquisitions the next day. But most importantly, I was impressed by her "phone demeanor." She sounded really assertive--the kind of person I could picture chasing deals instead of cutting and running after one round of submissions.

Anyway, I wouldn't shy away from querying newer agents.

Cyia
04-02-2012, 03:10 PM
I made it a point to target newer agents because I hoped they'd be more likely to take a chance on a newbie like me with no pub credits and only two completed mss under my belt.


You don't need a new agent for any of this.

lauralam
04-02-2012, 05:13 PM
There's pluses and minuses, but overall I don't think it would be a risk, especially if they're at a good agency.

Positives (theoretically):

1. Their list will be smaller, so they'll have more time for you
2. They can ask more experienced people for help if they're stuck
3. They'll (hopefully) have a desire to prove themselves and have a lot of energy and excitement because it's all new

Disadvantages:
1. Their name might not be instantly recognizable like some of the big agents
2. They might still be gaining more contacts and networks.

But, at the end of the day, they are people too. There are some newbie agents who are probably better agents for YOU than established agents, and vice versa.

suki
04-02-2012, 05:35 PM
It always depends on the particular agent. Always.

Old. New. Green. Blue. It will always, always, always depend on the specific agent.

A new agent who has hung out a shingle as an agent with no support from other, more experience agents? And no internship experience? No relevant other experience (ie, a former, long term editor in the genre) And no proven sales, or few sales? No, not a good bet.

A former long-term editor who has now hung out a shingle as an agent? Well...it depends - research more, ask a lot of questions, tread carefully...

A new agent who has been interning at a large agency for several years, and has assisted with the sale of several books in your genre, to good houses, but has now gone off on her own, with no agency support? Maybe, yes. Maybe, no. Look more closely.

A new agent at an established agency for has been interning and is now taking on his/her own clients, and will continue with that agency, or another established agency, where he/she will have support of other established, well-connected agents? Sure, maybe, a good bet.

It's always a bet. You do your research up front, get a feel for the agent, and then make a calculated risk-benefit analysis.

I signed with a newer agent - he had less than 10 clients at the time. I paid attention to his stats (how often he requested manuscripts, how often he signed a new client, had he sold a good percentage of those clients' projects, to which houses did he sell, what kinds of sales, etc.). When I was comfortable with the objective evidence that he had the skills and experience, as well as the back up of other established agents, then I got a feel for him personally through emails, calls, and talking to his clients. Then I weighed all that information and decided he was a good choice for me.

And after some revisions together, he sold my book fast to a great publisher. So...worked for me. :)

But you must always, always look at the specific agent - not new, old, this agency, that agency. Research the agent.

~suki

Corinne Duyvis
04-02-2012, 06:36 PM
It can go either way. I've seen dozens of new agents show up and disappear or change jobs within months. Others are now considered superstars in the industry. It's impossible to tell beforehand (though of course you should keep a look-out for red flags).