View Full Version : Is this a red flag?

09-22-2013, 08:49 PM
This is one of the agents whose behavior I have been casually observing on Twitter (as one does). On multiple occasions I have seen this person directly soliciting people who were not participating in any kind of pitch contest. For example, @'ing them somewhat out of the blue and saying the equivalent of "hey I really like your stuff, do you need an agent?" These are also generally not people who already have a book written and up on their website; one, for example, appeared to be a notable online presence, judging by the amount of followers, and had expressed interesting in writing a book (to which this agent then responded).

I know it's not unheard of for new agents to be super enthusiastic and directly seek clients, but I've generally heard of this happening when somebody was pitching a little more openly, for example by having a query letter on their blog or something. But this particular instance kind of skeeves me out and I'm not sure if it's justified. It's probably also worth noting that this agent has at least 5-6 clients but no sales yet, which is probably contributing to the impression I'm getting (that Agent is trying to ride coattails/doesn't have enough contacts to make a sale on their own).


09-22-2013, 09:23 PM
Have you found anything on them here in the Bewares section or over at Writer Beware or P&E?

Siri Kirpal
09-22-2013, 09:27 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Not saying this agent is the best in the world, but it's not uncommon for an agent to query someone with a large online platform (readership). Especially for nonfiction.


Siri Kirpal

09-22-2013, 09:54 PM
Have you found anything on them here in the Bewares section or over at Writer Beware or P&E?

The agent is new enough that there's nothing on them specifically, and feedback on the agency both here and at P&E seems somewhat lukewarm with possible issues in the past, but those don't really seem to be issues anymore. They don't have any recent sales info publicly available.

It might be as Siri Kirpal suggested--I don't think there's any outright scamming going on here, but I feel like I could potentially have valid personal reasons for not wanting to sign (hypothetically) which others might end up sharing. It's mostly the fact that the agent hasn't made any sales that is worrying to me. Also potentially worth noting is that all of the traditional slusphile clients write fiction (as do I) and no sales there, either.

tl;dr I might be overthinking this and I have lots of hypothetical concerns! Thank you for indulging them.

Old Hack
09-22-2013, 10:53 PM
It sounds a bit dodgy to me too, and if the threads here do indicate problems in the past, it sounds like you're wise to be wary.

I've encountered several people on Twitter who behave in the way you describe, and despite them describing themselves as literary agents they're not agents I'd want to have looking after my books.

You could always PM me the name of the agent concerned and I'll let you know if this is one of them.

09-23-2013, 04:06 PM
I had a head editor of a publisher tweet me asking if I had any novels to send him after coming across my blog. The publisher turned out to be what appears to be a reasonably successful small press with books in brick and mortar stores and an advance (although their website said they only offer an advance on some deals). I was very surprised.

Old Hack
09-23-2013, 04:20 PM
There's a difference between tweeting to an author whose work you've seen and liked, and tweeting at all sorts of random people asking if they're interested in representation, though. It seems to me to be the latter situation that the OP is referring to here.

09-23-2013, 05:29 PM
IMO, it depends on the particulars of the situation. I was an intern for a relatively newish mostly-nonfic agent for a while, and one of my tasks was to research popular bloggers, hot restauranteurs, minor celebrities, reality television, etc. and come up with ideas for potential books based on the market. Then I might write a letter that said "Hey Awesome Person, I love your awesome stuff, have you ever thought of writing an awesome book with me so we can sit around soaking up each other's awesomeness?" (<<paraphrased...it didn't really sound like that)

However, as far as I know, there is usually a more of a Process involved. It involves research and familiarity, and it's not a random shot in the dark. I'm not sure if that's what is happening in the situation you're describing.

But it happens.

However, in any case, all agents should be thoroughly researched...:)

09-24-2013, 09:49 PM
Thanks, everyone! In this instance, it does appear to err on the side of random tweeting, not the much-more-legit-sounding instances you describe. I wouldn't describe it as "total shot in the dark," but variables surrounding the agency and the agent combine to give me a not-so-great opinion. I've decided my stance for this specific instance, but by all means, feel free to chime in with other opinions or experiences about situations where this would or would not be okay, for the sake of others who might be reading!