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Lalaloopsy
12-19-2015, 03:30 AM
I'm going to start querying in the New Year and I don't know whether to submit to a busy senior agent or a newer agent building his list?

Is there a difference between junior, assistant and associate agent?

Are you less likely to get your book noticed by an editor if your represented by an associate agent from a well known agency?

Or do associates just help out the senior agents?

What do they do?

Thanks.

Jennifer_Laughran
12-19-2015, 04:47 AM
I'd say it depends on the agency. At MY agency, "Assistant" agents are... assistants to senior agents, and sometimes work directly with those agents on client stuff, with an eye to gradually taking on clients of their own, but they are always very much working with the senior agent. They are probably NOT accepting queries of their own, but may respond to their boss's queries.

"Associate" agents are working on their own, developing their own lists, but they still have their senior agent mentor. After they have x-number of sales, they are promoted to "Agent", then "Senior Agent", etc. We don't have "junior" at my agency, but I guess "Associate" is pretty much the same as Junior.

A good way to tell if an agent is "actually selling books" is to do some homework. Look them up and see if they have sales. Use querytracker or Publishers Marketplace. Who are their clients? HOW new are they? If it is really a reputable agency, all this info should be out there. And again, I'm sure that this will be slightly different at any other agency.

(Myself, I took on more clients in my first year as an associate than I have in any year since. I started selling books quickly, and was promoted after about two years. So, I think for my clients, it was good to come on board early! I definitely only take on a few clients a year at this point, if that.)

Lalaloopsy
12-19-2015, 05:21 AM
Thank you so much. This really helped me make my decision. I think I'll select a mix of senior and newer agents.

mayaone
12-19-2015, 08:08 AM
Thank you so much. This really helped me make my decision. I think I'll select a mix of senior and newer agents.
Be careful as some agents whether senior or associate do not accept multiple submissions. I am also getting ready to query and that was great advice. Best wishes

mayqueen
12-19-2015, 08:17 AM
Be careful as some agents whether senior or associate do not accept multiple submissions. I am also getting ready to query and that was great advice. Best wishes
You shouldn't query two agents within the same agency at the same time, but querying multiple agents at different agencies is fine. :)

mayaone
12-19-2015, 08:27 AM
You shouldn't query two agents within the same agency at the same time, but querying multiple agents at different agencies is fine. :)
Hello MayQueen, I am researching agents and although many agents are fine with multiple query's some do say they prefer you query them only until they accept or reject you. Aloha

LJD
12-19-2015, 08:32 AM
Hello MayQueen, I am researching agents and although many agents are fine with multiple query's some do say they prefer you query them only until they accept or reject you. Aloha

I believe you mean simultaneous submissions. I think it's very rare for agents to say no to simultaneous submissions at the query stage (?) though some may ask for an exclusive if they request a full.

mayqueen
12-19-2015, 08:48 AM
Hello MayQueen, I am researching agents and although many agents are fine with multiple query's some do say they prefer you query them only until they accept or reject you. Aloha
That seems odd to me and raises a red flag. At the query stage, there's absolutely no reason to only query one agent at a time. That would take years! At the requested materials stage, that's less suspicious, but I would personally not offer an exclusive if i have the option.

On the topic of exclusives: http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2009/08/exclusives-stink.html?m=1

Roxxsmom
12-19-2015, 09:02 AM
That seems odd to me and raises a red flag. At the query stage, there's absolutely no reason to only query one agent at a time. That would take years! At the requested materials stage, that's less suspicious, but I would personally not offer an exclusive if i have the option.

On the topic of exclusives: http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2009/08/exclusives-stink.html?m=1

This. Some agents get back very quickly after a query, others take weeks or months. Some who say they always respond actually don't as well (I have two with very high response rates who simply never got back to me, and several others who took months). It's confusing for this reason, and it would indeed take forever to go through your list of potential agents if you didn't do them in batches.

Even at the level of a full, exclusives are problematic. For one thing, it's pretty common to be waiting on other queries when an agent comes through with a request. For another, agents take varying time periods to read fulls and get back to you. I'd certainly hope that an agent requesting an exclusive on a full would at least be very clear that they'll get back to you with a yea or nay very quickly.

mayaone
12-19-2015, 11:31 AM
I'm a bit new to querying. All my information came from the 2015 Guide to Literary Agents. And about 10% did say they wanted exclusive querying. Maybe they were the newer agencies. Thanks for all the info

mellymel
12-19-2015, 07:44 PM
^^You should never let ALL your information come from only 1 source. If you do a search on here on the topic (and on the internet), you will see multiple threads with conversations regarding submission etiquette from all kind of people who have been and are going through the process. If the book you read says 10% of agents say they want exclusive querying (we're not talking about an agent asking for an exclusive once they've requested your manuscript), then those agents will specify that on their website. But to be honest, I will be querying the other 90% that don't request a query exclusive. Life is too short and the publishing industry can move very slowly through the various phases from getting an agent to actually getting a published book. I can't imagine sending one query at a time. I'd lose my effing mind. And I have seen many agents themselves who have suggested that exclusive querying (and even agents asking for exclusives after they've requested your full MS) is not fair or beneficial to the writer.

Treehouseman
12-20-2015, 01:44 PM
I queried about 100 agents for my ill fated previous Fantasy MS and none said they wanted exclusives at query stage.

in fact, the ones who wanted exclusives at that stage were almost always a bit scammy and suspicious. It doesn't surprise me that they only advertised in the Handbook - it's not particularly known for vetting the real agents from the suspicious ones.

ctripp
12-20-2015, 05:50 PM
And I have seen many agents themselves who have suggested that exclusive querying (and even agents asking for exclusives after they've requested your full MS) is not fair or beneficial to the writer.

Yes, have seen this as well on Adult lit agents sites and heard it from kid lit Agents at SCBWI conferences. They do often say they appreciate being told of any offer you receive from another Agent, so they can either disregard your query or request a full to see if they too might be interested.
Only this summer witnessed an Agent that had no idea what they were doing state they wanted exclusive submissions and they shortly there after left the biz. The idea being, if you only sub to them, and are (of course) accepted right away, you'll have no knowledge that reading fee's nor fee's for editing aren't standard practice.

mayaone
12-21-2015, 07:41 AM
What is a reading fee? That doesn't sound good.

Quickbread
12-21-2015, 09:43 AM
Just chiming in to add another voice to the contingent saying that simultaneous query and manuscript submissions are both standard and fine and always acceptable.* If you queried one agent at a time, you might never get published. One agent can take weeks or months to respond to a query, if they respond at all. Many agents don't reply to queries they're not interested in nowadays. And for some authors, it can take a hundred or more queries to find an agent.

You have to read every agent's guidelines before submitting, of course, but if I were still querying, I would never query any agent who didn't accept simultaneous queries. That's just strange and not in the author's favor at all. There are too many other great fish in the sea.

* Unless you were to agree to an agent's request for an exclusive on a manuscript. Even then, exclusive requests are rare and should only be granted for a finite period of time, such as 2 to 4 weeks max.


ETA:
To the original poster, my agent was a newer agent when I signed with her two years ago, and I have noticed she's getting much busier now that she has some strong books out there. She's making bigger sales and getting the attention of more prominent editors. That's only going to help me, too. I'm very lucky to have found her when I did. OTOH, my first agent was also newer and left the business because he couldn't hack it. :)

Old Hack
12-21-2015, 11:17 AM
What is a reading fee? That doesn't sound good.

Reading fees are not good.

Some agents--almost always dodgy ones--charge to read submissions. So if you don't pay the reading fee your work is rejected unread. I advise writers to avoid any agents who charge these fees.

mayaone
12-23-2015, 06:56 AM
I read here that some people here have submitted 100 agent query's. I didn't know there was such a plethora of lit agents out there. Also can one find 100 agents that are right for their MS? I have been looking for a good match and so far I've found only two that seem to fit my MS. I have looked online on QueryTracker and various books. Am I on the wrong track? Also thank you for the reading fee answer. I couldn't afford to pay any fee.

mayqueen
12-23-2015, 07:51 AM
I've queried four manuscripts, and each time I've quieted between 100 and 150 agents. And I'm not even in a terribly popular genre (historical fiction). Are you querying in the US or the UK? What is your genre? How narrowly are you defining the parameters for your agent search?

mayaone
12-23-2015, 08:59 AM
I've queried four manuscripts, and each time I've quieted between 100 and 150 agents. And I'm not even in a terribly popular genre (historical fiction). Are you querying in the US or the UK? What is your genre? How narrowly are you defining the parameters for your agent search?
Thank you for your answer. My MS is an unusual memoir with a theme of living an exciting life with a mental illness with an interweaved subplot about the Philippines during Desert Storm. I think you might guess that I have a problem picking an agent

Old Hack
12-23-2015, 01:08 PM
If your book is a memoir, you look for agents who take memoirs. You don't need to make it any more complicated than that.

paddismac
12-23-2015, 04:23 PM
Thank you for your answer. My MS is an unusual memoir with a theme of living an exciting life with a mental illness with an interweaved subplot about the Philippines during Desert Storm. I think you might guess that I have a problem picking an agent

Don't get too precious about what your memoir is about. Every memoir, by its nature, is unusual.

Just a quick hit on QueryTracker gives me 462 agents who represent memoirs. I obviously don't suggest you query every one of them (though I'm sure there are some people who would), but the wider you query, the better your chances.

Good luck!

mayqueen
12-23-2015, 04:52 PM
What Old Hack and Paddismac said. While it's nice if an agent specifically says they want memoirs about Desert Storm (or something else specific to your manuscript), it's not necessary. You have no idea who your work might resonate with, so it's best to query widely. As long as they don't say no memoirs about Desert Storm (or specific thing in your manuscript), query them.

mayaone
12-24-2015, 12:16 AM
Thank you all for the most valuable advice. I think I'm trying to get my theme straight in my own mind for my query. It's not as easy as I thought to write it in a few sentences. I need an elevator pitch. Good thing I'm still revising. I find myself mumbling in public, oh that would be a good line. It sounds like querying is as hard as revising. I've never queried before. Happy Holidays

Quickbread
12-24-2015, 08:05 AM
I read here that some people here have submitted 100 agent query's. I didn't know there was such a plethora of lit agents out there. Also can one find 100 agents that are right for their MS? I have been looking for a good match and so far I've found only two that seem to fit my MS. I have looked online on QueryTracker and various books. Am I on the wrong track? Also thank you for the reading fee answer. I couldn't afford to pay any fee.

It took me 142 queries to find my first agent. And nine to find the second one. My genre is literary fiction. I used QueryTracker and Publishers Marketplace along with looking through the acknowledgements of some books I admired.