View Full Version : Agent referral for query letter

01-23-2015, 04:55 PM

I'm sorry if this has been asked elsewhere--I tried searching for it, but couldn't find anything.

A well-known agent rejected my novel after reading the full, but recommended that I query several other agents who represent YA (as the book is sort of crossover, but she only represents literary fiction and didn't think it was right for her list). She said a lot of really complimentary things about the book and gave me the email addresses of some other agents, encouraging me to query them.

I asked her whether I could use her name when contacting these agents and she said yes. So my question is--how, exactly, do I word this? Do I say at the beginning of my query letter, "X of the X agency recommended that I query you, based on the YA appeal of BOOK?" Do I say that she rejected it because she doesn't represent YA? Or is this sort of information not relevant at all in a query letter?

Thanks for any help you can give me!

01-23-2015, 04:57 PM
Just to clarify: she gave me the email addresses of four different agents. I don't know whether she knows them personally or not, although I'm assuming she knows them vaguely?

01-23-2015, 05:17 PM
Hmmm. You are going to get some very good input pretty soon.

I suspect this is worth flagging in the email title; referrals to another agent are not typical for queries, and it's a flag I'd think the next agent would want clearly marked for prioritization. Details could follow in the text.

I'm interested to see what the AW sages say.

01-23-2015, 05:26 PM
Haha oh, sorry, I read quickly and thought you meant to flag the subject in the title of this thread! Too early in the morning for me.

But thanks for your input!

This is how I've currently started the query: "X of the X Agency recommended that I query you, based on the YA appeal of my novel, which she thought might fit better with your list. MY BOOK is a literary novel with mystery elements, complete at 113,000 words."

Don't know if this sounds okay (or not) to anyone? Help much appreciated.

01-23-2015, 05:30 PM
Looks good to me.

I would also put "(referral)" at the end of the email title, but that may be a faux pas or unnecessary. You will get more input on this, I am sure.

Aggy B.
01-23-2015, 05:34 PM
I had one agent do this (suggest I query someone specific with my novel). I did what you're thinking of doing - added a line to the beginning of my query that said "X recommended I query you with this project because you have a fondness for Steampunk and she thought we might be a good fit."

I doubt you need to point out that First Agent doesn't rep YA and that's why she turned it down. The point of the referral is to stress why she thinks the Other Agent is a good fit for your MS. ("X recommended I query you because of your love of literary YA." Or whatever.) Keep it brief, but put the mention of the referral up front.

And good luck! :)

01-25-2015, 12:53 AM
So cool! I have nothing to add except good luck :)

01-25-2015, 01:12 AM
Congrats on the referrals. Definitely put something in your subject line of the email like "Novel Query: Referral from Generous-Agent Name".

01-25-2015, 08:06 AM
I'd mention the referral in the subject line as others have said and in the first sentence of your query. Seeing you were referred to me by an agent/client always helps. Even a less-than-stellar query.