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Laer Carroll
08-15-2016, 01:23 AM
Doing another round of queries. I refreshed my list of agents and their sites, then reread them trying to pick my next ten.

I see some agencies where they have only two or three agents. I worry that if I become a client and my agent becomes ill or takes a long vacation that my book will take a hit in the attention department, especially when they become back and face a huge pile of work.

I also see some agents who seem perfect for me and my work but who have just a year or two of experience. Should I query them?

EMaree
08-15-2016, 01:52 AM
Doing another round of queries. I refreshed my list of agents and their sites, then reread them trying to pick my next ten.

I see some agencies where they have only two or three agents. I worry that if I become a client and my agent becomes ill or takes a long vacation that my book will take a hit in the attention department, especially when they become back and face a huge pile of work.

I also see some agents who seem perfect for me and my work but who have just a year or two of experience. Should I query them?

Personally....

If the agency (as a whole) has no strong sales record, that's definitely a no for me.

If an agency has a really solid sales record and a new agent onboard, I'm usually fine with that, but I'd make sure to chat with them and make sure they have the support they need from senior agents and connections with editors in place. If the no-sales-newbie-agent is working unsupported from the other agents in her agency, and doesn't have clear evidence of business connections, then it's a problem and I wouldn't sign.

The Call is so, so important for both parties in this situation.

amergina
08-15-2016, 02:39 AM
Doing another round of queries. I refreshed my list of agents and their sites, then reread them trying to pick my next ten.

I see some agencies where they have only two or three agents. I worry that if I become a client and my agent becomes ill or takes a long vacation that my book will take a hit in the attention department, especially when they become back and face a huge pile of work.

Some agencies only have one agent. Some of those agents are damn good, too.

The thing is, in large, multi-agent agencies, if your agent goes on a long vacation, the other agents being there probably won't mean anything when it comes to your situation. An agent taking a long vacation will let you know in advance and probably have some contingencies if they're completely out of pocket (i.e., not checking their email).

Even with a long-term illness or if your agent decides to leave agenting...there's no guarantee that any other agent in a multi-agent an agency will pick you up as a client. In the case of a serious illness that will put the agent out of commission for a long time, you'll probably have to decide with your agent (and the agency) what's best for you. Catastrophic events do happen, but how we manage them is very individual. Agents have had serious illnesses and remained working and making deals for their clients. Just like writers have been horribly ill, and still written and sold books.

I've been a client with an agent at a large agency. I'm now a client at a two person agency (because my agent moved). I think my agent's move was a fantastic thing for her *and* for me and I'm very glad to be at my current agency. Of course, other people may have other reactions.


I also see some agents who seem perfect for me and my work but who have just a year or two of experience. Should I query them?

Up to you. I did pitch to and ultimately become a client of a newer agent...while she was at the aforementioned larger agency. It was a bit of a risk, yes, but the larger agency *is* very well known and I knew she'd interned and worked as an assistant for the head agent for years before she built her list, so I trusted she had the connections she needed. And we clicked in person (my path was pitch to sub to agreement, rather than query).

You do need to do your research, though, because anyone can say they're an agent. Where are they working? What did they do beforehand? Have they sold anything at all? How established is the agency? etc.

Old Hack
08-15-2016, 10:58 AM
I see some agencies where they have only two or three agents. I worry that if I become a client and my agent becomes ill or takes a long vacation that my book will take a hit in the attention department, especially when they become back and face a huge pile of work.

If an agent is ill or on holiday, it's not usual for other agents in the agency to step in and take over. They can't: they don't know enough about the agent's clients, their books or their careers, they might not negotiate appropriate contracts... it would be a disaster. Far better to wait a week or two and let the original agent deal with things on her return to work.

And agents always have a huge pile of work to attend to! It's the nature of the job.


I also see some agents who seem perfect for me and my work but who have just a year or two of experience. Should I query them?

If they're part of a larger, successful agency and are being closely mentored by excellent agents with a good history of success, then they might do very well.

If they've set up shop on their own with no prior publishing experience and no mentors in sight, run a mile.

Laer Carroll
08-16-2016, 02:09 AM
Thank you all very much. Your advice relieves my mind and I'll make use of it immediately.

Feedback such as this is why I consider my nearly four years of being part of AW so valuable. Which reminds me, time for my periodic contribution to help AW pay its expenses!

KingM
08-24-2016, 09:47 PM
I work for an agency that has been only two agents for a long time and recently added a third. I don't think the size of the agency is relevant to answering your concern. Your representation is only as good as your agent, not the reputation of the agency itself. The truth is, if something happens to your agent, you may be picked up by one of the other agents, but maybe not. It's not as though you'd want to be with someone who was only taking you on out of a sense of obligation anyway.

If offered representation, it's worthwhile asking questions about how the agent handles vacations, health issues, etc. Is she going to be in the business for the long haul, or is she either really new or nearing retirement? There's no one correct answer to the questions, but it doesn't hurt to get an answer if this sort of thing concerns you.

@LeaLately
09-24-2016, 04:50 AM
For me it isn't the amount of agents an agency has or whether they are new (in fact I personally think that some of the newer ones have a keener eye and a need to prove their worth) it's the agency's track record as a whole. Which authors have they worked with, which publishers have they managed to get deals with in the past. Has the agency been very active in the last 6mo to 1yr. Don't just look at the agent, what they like, what they are searching for, what their personal hobbies say about them, look at the AGENCY, and occassionally look at their social media account, if they have them, that will tell you a lot about who they are and how aggressive/active they are in the publishing community.

Filigree
09-24-2016, 07:12 AM
If they trained with another agency (many do), look at their mentors' reputations, and at other new agents from that same training background. That may indicate some overall positive and negative traits your target agent may show.