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Noddy Rider
12-30-2006, 08:24 PM
Hi all,

I've been offered representation by an agent who doesn't check out as evil, but has a short track record and seems a bit too anxious. (I've posted about this elsewhere; she wants to send my proposal out to editors without making any changes.)

Could you please comment on my draft email to her, with the subject line "Thanks":

"Dear X,

Thanks for sending the copy of your agency agreement.

After much thought, I have decided to pass on your offer of representation. I know that I am taking the risk that I won't find another agent who shares your enthusiasm for this project.

Thank you again for your time and consideration."

Comments? Is it OK that I don't put in a reason, like "not a good fit"?

Thanks.

Noddy

Bartholomew
12-30-2006, 08:42 PM
Just be sure not to burn any bridges.

Siddow
12-30-2006, 08:44 PM
Why did you query an agent who isn't a 'good fit'?

Is there something wrong with the agreement? You could negotiate that. Most people would LOVE to have an enthusiastic agent offer representation. Maybe she doesn't want to make changes because no changes are neccesary.

Personally, I think you're cutting off your nose to spite your face. But I'll go look at your other postings, and come back if I've changed my mind.

Siddow
12-30-2006, 08:58 PM
Okay, I see this is non-fic. I'm no expert by any means, but the way I understand it to work is that the final product is actually sold on the idea, and then developed with editor input. Not a lot of sense for the agent to suggest changes at this point. If the idea is solid, then the fine details will be worked out along with the editor who has taken on the project.

I have no clue who the agent is (wanna tell us?), but a short track record is not really a worry if she's fairly new to the business. If she's had her own agency for years and only sold two books, I'd worry about that. If she's a new agent at an established agency, then again, not a lot to worry about there, either.

If her 'sales' are to PA and iUniverse, run.

But again, I ask, why did you query someone whom you didn't want to represent you?

Noddy Rider
12-30-2006, 08:59 PM
Thanks for the quick responses, siddow and bartholomew.

I have no writing experience and didn't think anyone would be interested in my book, so I queried a lot of agents. I was STUNNED when many asked for the proposal. This agent made her offer good for 30 days, so my alternative is to wait another few weeks and see if anything else shakes out. Do you think that's the better plan? She's of the has-her-own-agency-but-hasn't-sold-much variety.

Thanks again.

Noddy

rugcat
12-30-2006, 09:01 PM
Why did you query an agent who isn't a 'good fit'? I think many writers, after a certain number of rejections, will query any agency which seems legit, even if itís not their first or even tenth choice. When an offer of representation materializes, second thoughts rear their ugly heads, a sort of buyerís remorse.

Also, you canít really do an in depth background check of everyone youíre submitting to. The time to do that sort of research is when an agent shows serious interest. I once submitted to an agent who was interested in repping. I luckily have some contacts in the publishing world and was able to get some discreet feedback that led me to decide I did not want this agent representing me, despite being totally legit.

Toothpaste
12-30-2006, 09:03 PM
Can you tell us specifically what she's sold?

And yes, maybe you should wait on the letter, if you have 30 days.

KCH
12-30-2006, 09:17 PM
I'm not understanding why you feel you have to formally reject her so soon, without having another agent in hand. Take your time.

Ask her where she plans to shop it, and why. Get a feel for why she's enthusiastic. Her short track record as an agent is only important if she's only just hung up her shingle with no industry background or contacts. Do you know her background? What if she'd been an acquisition editor at Random House for fifteen years? She'd have expertise and contacts to surpass most agents with earlier-minted shingles.

And I wouldn't necessarily interpret her no-changes stance as a negative. Agents each have their own style. Some get very involved in the content before sendng anything out. Others don't, finding it much more efficient to take on only those writers with sufficient skill and talent to produce salable material. As a business person, would you want the headache and delay of shepherding a book to salability?

FWIW, my first book got shopped as-is. And sold that way too. If you have a book that's well written, fills a need and has a substantial market, then tinkering around with it while someone else gets a similar book to market first is self-defeating.

Good luck...and congratulations!

Siddow
12-30-2006, 09:17 PM
I would wait out the 30 days.

And I just want to say I think you're very brave to query without writing experience. I admire ballsy people. Read my sig line.

Noddy Rider
12-30-2006, 09:32 PM
I just want to say how grateful I am that I have found this site. I've been here about 2 minutes, and everyone has already been so welcoming and helpful. This is a tricky business with so many traps for beginners like me!

The agent has a background in academia.
She is not listed in the AW Bewares index.
She is listed in P&E but without a $ and with the comment "Link reported broken."
Agent Research does not list her (I sent them an email to see if they have any info).
She does not have a website.
Publishers Marketplace has a listing including books published.

I don't want to name her or list those books because of the burning bridges thing ... and who knows, she may end up being my agent and we'll sell a bestseller and live happily ever after. So I'm going to give it a few weeks.

I really do appreciate you guys!!! :) I can see I'm going to have to force myself to work on my book instead of hanging out here.

Noddy

Bartholomew
12-30-2006, 09:37 PM
Welcome, Noddy Rider. I hope it works out, and best of luck. :)

victoriastrauss
12-31-2006, 01:45 AM
Noddy, contact me (Writer Beware) privately and I'll check the WB database to see if we've gotten any complaints, reports, etc. about this agent, or have any other concerns. All correspondence with Writer Beware is held in confidence, so you won't be burning any bridges.

Email me at beware@sfwa.org

If you've got 30 days to decide, you don't need to respond right away. Give it a bit of time to see what you hear back from other agents.

- Victoria

nancy02664
12-31-2006, 02:10 AM
She does not have a website.

A webpage may not be worth it for many agents (especially when sites like Agent Query and Publishers Marketplace already exist), so I wouldn't necessarily count this as a negative thing.

I queried about ten billion agents (give or take...) last spring, and was surprised by how few had their own sites. The one I ended up signing with did not have a website, but a very solid track record, so the lack of a website wasn't a concern at all.

Celia Cyanide
12-31-2006, 04:32 AM
This agent made her offer good for 30 days, so my alternative is to wait another few weeks and see if anything else shakes out. Do you think that's the better plan?

Yes.

I would follow up with Victoria (she really knows her stuff) but unless she hears something negative about this agent, I would not discount the agent completely. If she is the only offer you get, why not take a chance? She may not have sold much yet, but it doesn't mean she never will.

Bartholomew
12-31-2006, 07:38 AM
Yep. Good looking websites can be hard to pull off. If an agent doesn't need one, and they don't have time to run a blog, there isn't a real good reason to do so.

johnzakour
12-31-2006, 07:49 AM
Listen to Victoria. If Victoria has no warning flags about her then I don't see a lot of problems.

If she's willing to take a shot with an unknown writer, I don't see why you wouldn't be willing to take a shot with an little known agent.

At the very least wait the 30 days....