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View Full Version : Referred to friend's agent Question (Etiquette)



AuntySocial
09-06-2014, 04:24 PM
I tried searching for another thread with my question, without luck, so apologies if I'm being redundant - I'm asking because I'm out of the loop.

A friend read my MS and liked it so much she pitched the novel to her agent, who asked to see it in full.

Etiquette wise, as I was invited, I assume that I shouldn't submit the MS to any other agents until I hear back from my friend's (it's been two months)?

Is it bad form to nudge if I haven't heard anything after three months?

Is there a good source for boning up on modern agent etiquette? I have no idea how much it's changed since I was last submitting fifteen years ago.

Thank you so much in advance for any advice - I struggle having to plough through the web due to a disability.

Undercover
09-06-2014, 05:27 PM
Three months is standard to nudge, I don't see that being a problem.
And unless you have an exclusive with this agent, I can't see why it would be a problem to keep querying.

That's just my thoughts. Doesn't mean I'm completely right. Someone else may have a different opinion.

thisprovinciallife
09-06-2014, 05:33 PM
Hi! While I'm not an expert on modern agenting, I have learned a lot from AW and following agents on twitter. Hopefully my answers are helpful!

1. Unless you and the agent explicitly stated this would be an exclusive, I don't see why you shouldn't be able to submit to others. I'm sure that she values your time enough to know you might explore other avenues to try to get your work out there!

2. In our world of connections and twitter pitch contests, there are many opportunities for authors to 'fast-track' to a full MS request. Which is wonderful! But once you are there, I think you have to assume that you then become as normal as everyone else who submitted material. Which means, have you checked the agent's submission guidelines? How long does she say it generally takes her to respond to MS requests? If more than that time has passed, you are definitely okay to nudge! It is not bad form - in fact, it might even be helpful to a very busy agent. If you like, to be safe you can wait to query other agents until after you nudge.

3. As far as one source for learning about modern agent etiquette, I'm not sure. Agent's twitter accounts provide a wealth of information, but unfortunately it does take some ploughing through sometimes when you're looking for specific info. But there's always AW :)

Best of luck to you!

alexaherself
09-06-2014, 07:44 PM
Etiquette wise, as I was invited, I assume that I shouldn't submit the MS to any other agents until I hear back from my friend's (it's been two months)?

I would certainly have made no such assumption, myself.

Jamesaritchie
09-06-2014, 10:29 PM
There's nothing at all wrong with nudging after two months, unless guidelines give a specific response time.

You can certainly submit to other agents, but how good is this one? If she's top of the line, and you have this chance with her, be patient. Referrals like this don't come along every day.

Patience really is a virtue.

Old Hack
09-07-2014, 12:37 PM
I don't think you owe this agent an exclusive, unless you promised one when you sent your work in, or agreed to one in any other way.

And I'd wait for the three-month mark before nudging.

AuntySocial
09-09-2014, 06:17 PM
I have to say a huge THANK YOU!! to everyone for your replies, that's given me a much better idea of what to do.

I couldn't find the agent listed on QueryTracker, so no idea how long she takes, though with 20+ clients she'll be very busy....

AW is really great. You guys are all so helpful and friendly. Thank you again. Hopefully I can be of assistance to someone in the future.

AuntySocial
09-09-2014, 06:22 PM
have you checked the agent's submission guidelines? How long does she say it generally takes her to respond to MS requests?

I did look on her website, all it said was that she was closed to submissions. She's only reading mine on the strength of my friend's pitch.

Cheers again for answering my post :)

waylander
09-10-2014, 12:53 AM
US or UK agent?

Old Hack
09-10-2014, 01:24 PM
I couldn't find the agent listed on QueryTracker, so no idea how long she takes, though with 20+ clients she'll be very busy....


Twenty clients isn't many. Most established, reputable agents have a lot more than that, although the few I know who do only have around twenty clients work very deeply with them, and make lots of foreign and subsidiary rights sales for them all.

If this agent doesn't have a record of making lots of such sales for all of her clients, and does only have 20 or so author-clients, you might want to wonder what she's doing with her time.

Jamesaritchie
09-10-2014, 06:08 PM
Twenty clients isn't many. Most established, reputable agents have a lot more than that, although the few I know who do only have around twenty clients work very deeply with them, and make lots of foreign and subsidiary rights sales for them all.

If this agent doesn't have a record of making lots of such sales for all of her clients, and does only have 20 or so author-clients, you might want to wonder what she's doing with her time.

It is a matter of sales. Twenty clients can be a lot, or it can be very few, depending on how well those clients sell.

Most agents represent a pretty fair percentage of as yet unpublished writers, and if this is the case, twenty is very few.
Some agents, however, slowly whittle their stable down to the point where they have only a couple of unpublished writers at a time, and if this is the case, twenty clients could keep the agent extremely busy. If she's closed to submissions, she may have all the business she can handle.

But you have to know which books an agent has handled, who those books sold to, and at least some of the selling writers in her stable, or you know nothing important.

J.Reid
09-12-2014, 03:21 PM
Sending a ms via referral does not imply a request for exclusivity. Keep querying and submitting.

Don't nudge before 90 days. If she's closed to queries, she's already got more reading than she can keep up with, and my guess is she's clearing out the oldest stuff first. Even though you're a referral, you're not jumping to the head of the pack.

Jamesaritchie
09-12-2014, 04:34 PM
Sending a ms via referral does not imply a request for exclusivity. Keep querying and submitting.

Don't nudge before 90 days. If she's closed to queries, she's already got more reading than she can keep up with, and my guess is she's clearing out the oldest stuff first. Even though you're a referral, you're not jumping to the head of the pack.

I wouldn't bet on either of these things. Most of the agents I've known who were closed to submissions didn't do so because they were swamped with reading, but because they already had as many clients as they really wanted to handle.

Also from my experience, referrals do go to the top of the pile. I know they always have with my agents. If a referral from a writer who you already represent, that you believe is good enough to represent, doesn't carry more weight than an unsolicited query from Joe Blow, something is seriously wrong.