View Full Version : Decisions...decisions! (agents)

02-21-2017, 11:48 PM
Sorry to be so sad guys! But maybe some of you can relate.

It's about deciding which agents to ask for representation. After reading so much advice that my head can't fit in more, I'm going with an agent who is:

* established/experienced
* decided to contact both men and women (it was a decision! because initially I thought that women would understand this type of book better (self-help) ...but who knows!)
* NYC agent
* represents my genre (non- fiction/ self-help)
* I read tweets, blogs, interviews so get a feel of personality too- we must get on

I decided to follow my GUT too. This is very important to me.

But when I get to the nitty gritty...OH MY GOD....]

For example, there's an agent that I really like. AGENT QUERY says that she reps self-help (yey) but....Her website says:

'represents award-winning and best-selling fiction and nonfiction. In nonfiction, she is particularly interested in conversation-changing books including journalism, science, technology, business/finance/economics, memoir/narrative, essays and cultural criticism. She is drawn to a range of literary and commercial fiction and is particularly excited about stories that touch on the deeper meaning of life, family, identity and love. A good page-turner is always welcome' - so not a word about self-help books...

Of course...you look at her sales records and authors she reps...and I don't find titles simillar to mine. Would you still query? It can be a rejection - not right for her list...but nothing ventured nothing gained. I have nothing to lose sending a query. Do you agree?

There's also another agent I like and THAT looks much better, he represents the author who wrote a best-selling self-help book and my book is similar to that book....

There's another agent I really really like. I read her blog. It really resonates. BUT she's in California and I'm set on a NYC agent.

HONESTLY...it's so hard to find agents that rep this kind of book... and are into self-help books. Maybe I sould look up self-help titles on amazon and look at acknowledgements sometimes they mention their agent.

DO you think it's safe to query when they have a self-help listed as a genre on Query Tracker but not really talk about this on their website....

I have a very analytical mind and I go into so much detail....trying to make decisions who to contact. Just making myself more confused.

I'm on the verge of sending a mass email to every single agent in NYC! JOKING of course ;) ;) ;)

As always, I really appreciate your insights and advice. Thoughts? :)

Dennis E. Taylor
02-21-2017, 11:58 PM
Agents are aware of Query Tracker. Agents are able to update their information there. I can't imagine an agent not checking to make sure their information was accurate. Even if that happened, after they received the fifty-fifth query for books on fly-fishing, you'd think they'd clue in that there might be an issue.

If it says 'Self-Help', go with it.

Marissa D
02-21-2017, 11:58 PM
Honestly, I wouldn't be so inflexible on the "agent must be in New York" criterion. There are dozens of very, very successful agents based elsewhere in the country--California, Colorado, Georgia. So much of this business is conducted by phone and email that being in NYC is no longer the big deal it used to be.

02-22-2017, 01:09 AM
You have nothing to lose by querying who you want to query (as long as your book and your query are ready).

I've always heard you should send in small batches, and that's been working well for me. Out of 6 queries sent since 10/31, I have 2 partial requests, a full, and a request for revisions. It's possible agents like my pitch, but my book needs work. By starting small, i'm giving myself the opportunity to make some improvements (if necessary) and not waste my chances with all the agents on my list.

So if you haven't even sent queries yet, don't agonize. Just make your master list of all possible agents. Then choose a small set to start with.

02-23-2017, 12:23 AM
It's important to remember that just because an agent doesn't rep something similar to your book right now, doesn't mean they aren't looking for it. And also that sometimes an agent repping a book similar to yours is a reason for them to reject you because they don't want clients in competition.

If an agent you think you might work well with has your genre listed on their web site or agent query, then go for it. Looking at sales can be incredibly helpful to get an idea of an agent's tastes, but those sales don't take into account the agent's *future* sales or plans. This is an industry that's constantly evolving and following new trends, so an agent's tastes and genre preferences can evolve or change. For instance: I write Romance. My agent didn't sell a lot of Romance before me, some, but not a lot. He signed me for my adult thriller and YA work and I was like "Oh, by the way, I write Romance, here's some of it." and so now my agent is selling more Romance than he did before because I'm his client and I like to write it.

I would also advise you to not dismiss the non-NYC agents. In this digital day and age, an agent's location is kind of moot. Any reputable non-NYC agent is going to be taking trips to NYC when they need to. I've had a non-NYC agent and a NYC agent. In terms of editor response and connections, there was absolutely no difference, because both the agents were fab and took care to nurture their editorial connections.

I wouldn't agonize so much over if the agents are 100% going to be interested in your book. No amount of research will tell you that. Sometimes an agent who you are convinced is totally perfect and looking for exactly what you have will reject you (I've been there!). Focus on finding reputable agents who rep your genre, find the ones you like the most, and then query those agents. A query is not a binding contract, you can always say "no" if you get an offer and you decide that the agent isn't for you.

Siri Kirpal
02-23-2017, 02:52 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Agent Query is often outdated. I no longer use it.

But if your gut says to try, TRY!


Siri Kirpal

02-25-2017, 02:56 PM
Thanks so much for all responses!!! :Hug2: Much appreciated. It really gave me more clarity.