View Full Version : Question on Agent Submissions

04-12-2006, 01:08 AM
What do agent submissions look like and how do they differ from writer submissions that get publisher's attention?

I am curious because I am wondering what different things agents do over writers.

Oh and what are the types of items that agents are often asked to include in their submissions and are the writers responsible for writing them up?



04-12-2006, 01:19 AM
Icerose, that is a legitimate question, and one that I have often wondered/agonized over. I have no idea what an agents query looks like, and I've had two agents. I can only guess that your original query is reworked somewhat to give it more punch, and that there is a few paragraphs of the agent's own personal feelings about the book and its audience. I know for a fact that a lot of negotiation and initial querying in done on the phone, and I would have no idea of what an agent's phone pitch session would comprise. It's a mystery, and one that I would certainly like to know about.

I'm wondering if Ms. Snark has covered this subject in one of her blogs. Might have. I'd be interested in hearing of any other's experience in this matter as well.


04-12-2006, 01:21 AM
I am submitting non-fiction, so the process might be a bit different.

Essentially, my agent does a phone or lunch pitch to find out if it's of interest to the editor. Then he writes up a pitch letter of his own and sends it out with the revised proposal (we labored over the revisions through many drafts together). He did not let me see the pitch letter until it had been sent to editors because he didn't want me editing his work, which makes a lot of sense to me. It basically stated why he thought the piece was saleable and of interest, and was tailored to the specific editor.

04-12-2006, 01:22 AM
So how does an agent find out all the contact information. Is there some manual you are handed when you become an agent or are there tailored resources to finding them?

04-12-2006, 01:29 AM
Agents, the good ones, are successful because they have connections in the publishing industry. Many of them used to work in rights or licensing or acquisitions at the big houses and have maintained those contacts over the years. Agents develop friendships and relationships with editors and other people in-house and maintain those contacts through lunches, phone calls and e-mails.

Not just anyone can become a successful agent - it's a waste of time if the person does not have a base of contacts within The Industry and the savvy to expand those contacts all the time.

04-12-2006, 01:58 AM
From my personal experience, my agent, who is new, has attended the following events in the last year:

Book Expo America
Romantic Times Booklovers convention
Novels in Progress Workshop
Backspace Writers Conference.

He has a listing in the Media bistro and Publishers Marketplace (for all clients).
Has a bio section and synopsis of each of our books, with a special 30-page exerpt--in other words we get our own special page on his website.

My agent has told me that "getting in their faces at conventions" is the prefered method of initial contact. Then he follows up with queries and submissions from there to those personal contacts.

He has also asked me who I like as far as publishers, and if I have any ideas on whos who in the SF/Fantasy field that he might have missed. So I like that interaction and respect for my judgement, which kind of makes me feel like a team player. He also has inside contacts with the movie industry with offices on the east and west coast.


04-12-2006, 04:25 AM
Yeah but they have to start somewhere and they may start out with a couple of contacts but an intelligent one would increase those contacts.

Thanks Tri,
That does answer a lot, they get out there and put themselves out there.

And that goes back to submission etiquitte. How do they discover the right thing, do they start out with a query letter if they don't know them or do they send out entire manuscripts? And how do their cover letters and query letters differ from writers?



Daughter of Faulkner
04-12-2006, 11:59 PM
What Erinbee wrote rings true!

04-13-2006, 07:53 PM
Okay so my question then is, how does an agent query/submission differ from a writer's query/submission.

What kind of things are agents expected to know and present when sending in a submission from the start clear up to the sale.

And what kind of etiquitte and guidelines do agents follow, or do they differ from place to place according to the editors tastes, and how do they find out the editors tastes? Do they call, and go from there, send a query through the mail?


Daughter of Faulkner
04-13-2006, 09:39 PM
Your agent has the utmost repect and full attention of an editor / publisher so that editor knows that your agent would not send him something unless it was in pristine condition and most importantly, that agent knows that the editor will more likely than not make an offer for and to publish the mss. In short, he knows where to place the work and how long it will take to get read. They also agree on a time frame for reading the mss. However, if the editor is or will be out of pocket, he will let your agent know that too.

It's like when you pick up the phone and call your best friend you know he / she will take your call. It differs, some call, some have it walked over with a runner topped with a cover, but the editor usually is expecting the submission from that agent. Also they usually e-mail back and forth to let each other know where they are at in their reading of the submission.
It is to your advantage to have a well-connected agent who knows where to place your mss. And lastly, an agent will also send via e-mail a sample of your work to see if the editor expresses an interest to read more.

An editor smiles when he / she knows that a great agent is about to send them an author with promise. The editor knows because of the trust from times past that your agent would not waste his time.

Keep writing!