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Amber Sanders
01-23-2007, 08:31 PM
Hi all. I'm new here. I just signed with an agent for my first novel. I'd like to contact this agent's other clients and introduce myself. I feel like we're all in the same boat since we are all repped by the same person. What is the etiquette on this? Would I be overstepping my bounds?

Any help greatly appreciated.
-Amber

Toothpaste
01-23-2007, 09:11 PM
Hmm . . . maybe you should just simply ask your agent. I bet they wouldn't mind helping you out.

victoriastrauss
01-23-2007, 09:18 PM
Don't even think about doing something like this without talking to your agent first. If she thinks it's OK, go ahead, but be prepared not to get responses.

- Victoria

Maprilynne
01-23-2007, 09:39 PM
Dear Amber,

Although you all have the same agent, that doesn't mean you are all "in the same boat." Your agent probably represents several genres and their authors are all at different stages. There is very little reason for a romance author who is just finishing up revisiosn on her first book to contact a non-fiction political author who is on their eleventh bestseller. Other than the fact that the smae person sends them their checks, those two authors have very little in common.

Think about this: what are you after here? Do you want other authors at the same stage as you to celebrate/commiserate/etc. with you? Are you looking for established authors within your genre for networking purposes? If either of these is your purpose, there are much better and easier way to go about that. Join whichever National Writers organization matches your genre. (Romance writers of america, Sci-fi Fantasy Writer of America, Sisters in Crime, etc.) Look online for a new authors group, join a writing community (like this one!:))

If you are trying to network socially, you need to understand that these other authors are not your co-workers. They did not sign with their agent and also every newbie who comes along. They just signed with their agent. Soem of these authors are quite busy and just don't have time to network or mentor young budding authors.

I totally understand your desire to socialize with other authors, but asking your agent for her clients' information is really asking her to be unethical.

Does that make sense?

Maprilynne

P.S. Who (or what house) did you sign with? And if you are not comfortable sharing that information, I a totally fine with that.:) Congrats!

Kasey Mackenzie
01-24-2007, 11:33 PM
I agree with the others. The only exception I can see to this situation would be if you had an offer from the agent and not yet signed. In that specific case, it would be acceptable to contact some of his or her clients in order to get their opinions of the agent's abilities/trustworthiness. Simply wanting to contact them just because you have the same agent...not so much.

stormie
01-24-2007, 11:41 PM
Hi Amber, and welcome to the boards! No, I wouldn't contact the other clients. Not even the new clients. There's no need to, really. Everyone's work is different, and whatever editors your agent pitches your ms. to, would not be the same as another of his/her clients, even if you write in the same genre. So you're not really in the same boat. You just have the same agent.

ETA:
The only exception I can see to this situation would be if you had an offer from the agent and not yet signed. In that specific case, it would be acceptable to contact some of his or her clients in order to get their opinions of the agent's abilities/trustworthiness.
If that were the case, though, IMO, it would be better to check out the agent on boards like these or Preditors and Editors, rather than contacting the other clients at all.

johnrobison
01-25-2007, 12:12 AM
In my experience with agents (I am from a writing family) it appears that many of an agent's other clients are in very different places from each other at any given time.

One author has a bestseller on the charts. Several are in limbo, with no book in process. Some are selling foreign rights. Some are breaking into the business. Being an agent is like being any other kind of professional.

You do not expect to make friends with your doctors other patients, or your lawyers other clients, right?

Referrals are another matter . . . many good agents only take new authors by referral, just as many doctors or accountants only take new business by referral. That's how I got an agent for my first book.

There is no connection between you and most of an agent's other authors.

That said, you may in time develop a friendship with an agent and possibly other writers and you might find yourself spending time together socially. If so, by all means contact those you are friends with. But leave the others alone unless some circumstance brings you together.

Kasey Mackenzie
01-25-2007, 02:40 AM
ETA:
If that were the case, though, IMO, it would be better to check out the agent on boards like these or Preditors and Editors, rather than contacting the other clients at all.

Sure, that's a great starting place, but I have seen reputable people suggesting that you contact existing clients once you have an offer from an agent, if you're still trying to decide whether or not to accept the offer. People in the professional world contact other clients/customers all the time to check on other professionals' credentials. It's just a good rule of thumb to ASK the person whose credentials you are checking for a list of clients to contact rather than just randomly calling up said clients.

At any rate, I still maintain this is one of the few exceptions to the rule. =) Otherwise, I definitely wouldn't bug my (hypothetical, at this point!) agent's other clients until and unless I made their acquaintance personally.

Maprilynne
01-25-2007, 03:33 AM
Sure, that's a great starting place, but I have seen reputable people suggesting that you contact existing clients once you have an offer from an agent, if you're still trying to decide whether or not to accept the offer. People in the professional world contact other clients/customers all the time to check on other professionals' credentials. It's just a good rule of thumb to ASK the person whose credentials you are checking for a list of clients to contact rather than just randomly calling up said clients.


I have also heard that pre-signing it is totally appropriate to ask your hopeful agent for some clients to contact. But that way they can give you the names of people who have agreed to be contacted and don't mind talking. It's a world of difference that basically cold-calling.

Maprilynne

Amber Sanders
01-25-2007, 05:14 AM
Wow! I didn't expect to see so many replies so soon. Thank you guys so much for your help. I already checked out the agent with P&E. I don't feel comfortable sharing the agent's name on the net, but everything is legit. I was hoping to contact the other clients that write in my genre (romance) for networking purposes, but I completely see that's it's a bad idea, so I'm glad I wasn't hasty and came to check here first.

Thanks,
Amber

Maprilynne
01-25-2007, 07:09 AM
Just FYI, we have a great Romance board here in Get With the Genre.:)

Maprilynne

WildScribe
01-25-2007, 07:13 AM
The only other exception that I've heard of is when an agent repped two very similar books. The women contacted each other and started marketing as a team. Of course, that is not what you are after.

aruna
01-25-2007, 10:17 AM
Well, I am going to say something comepletely different!
Basically, the others are right but I went about it differently
When my agent offered and I accepted, I googled her and found the blog on another author newly taken on by her. She had a livejournal comment about this agent, and how wonderful she was. So I dropped a note into her livejournal, saying that I also had been newly taken on by her.
She was delighted to hear from me!
Since then we exchange mails on a regular basis, keeping each other up to date on the stand of our mansucript and the process. She's a non-fiction author with a work quite different to mine and we are each other's greatest supporters. When she gets an editors rejection, I'm the first person she tells it to. When my agent said she would not be subbing my book in December because of the holidays, that it was better to wait till January, she's the first person to hear of my disappointment, and to cheer me up telling me it was all for the better. We comment in each other's blogs and share a lot of personal stuff as well. She was delighted to meet me, because I have been pubished before and could tell her a bit nore about the process.

But keep inmind that this was the exception, and the main reasonit worked was because we both signed within weeks of each other, and so were in that bubbling over with enthusiasm stage, eager to compare notes.

As the others have said, it does not work otherwise, and I'm not encouraging you to go searching for your agent's other clients on the web.
What I did do, though, was contact another client from the same agency (not the same agent) here on AW - someone I already knew - to say, hey, I made it in! Of course, that's different again.

Maprilynne
01-25-2007, 08:20 PM
See, that just seems different to me.

Mainly because the other authors put themselves out on the net to be contacted, and they also made the information of who their new agent was public. By announcing it on a blog they invited people like you to coment about it and thus strike up a relationship. On top of that, this was another author in the same position as you.

Same thing with contacting someone on AW. They made the information available and made themselves available for comment by accepting PM's.

I agree that both of thos ecases are exceptions.;)

Maprilynne

Kasey Mackenzie
01-25-2007, 08:23 PM
I agree with Maprilynne. =) That doesn't strike me as a no-no at all, Aruna. =)

Anonymisty
01-25-2007, 10:32 PM
When my agent offered and I accepted, I googled her and found the blog on another author newly taken on by her.

I recently did that, too! I was playing on Google, and discovered the blog of one of my agent's newer clients. I read her posts for about a week before commenting, and when I finally did comment, I told her who I was and how I'd found her. She's since visited my LJ, and commented back to me. We haven't become close friends, but it's nice to know someone else who's working in the same boat as I am. *smile*

Cathy C
01-25-2007, 11:07 PM
One thing you CAN do, if you happen to be on MySpace is to search for your agent's name or the agency name and offer to Friend them. I just recently did this with both our agency and publisher and have met a bunch of new people I otherwise wouldn't have! We've chatted by MySpace Messaging ever since. :)

Carmy
01-26-2007, 09:06 PM
Your agent became your business partner when you signed the contract. In any other business, would you consider it ethical to contact other clients unless you thought something underhand was going on. Is your agent likely to think you don't trust her?

Contacting other clients before you sign the contract is a different matter.

Anonymisty
01-28-2007, 05:34 AM
Your agent became your business partner when you signed the contract.

And this brings up a point that I've thought about but not yet posted. I'm communicating in a friendly manner with the other client, but I've already decided that I will not, under any circumstances, discuss the terms of my sales with her or any other clients I might meet.

That sort of information sharing should be as forbidden as discussing salaries with coworkers in the office. It never ends well.

Jamesaritchie
01-28-2007, 10:57 PM
Your agent became your business partner when you signed the contract. In any other business, would you consider it ethical to contact other clients unless you thought something underhand was going on. Is your agent likely to think you don't trust her?

Contacting other clients before you sign the contract is a different matter.

The time to contact other clients is before you sign the contract, before you are business partners. This is done in business all the time, and an agent should have no problem with a potential client wanting to know how existing clients think of her.

I would never go behind an agent's back to do this, but she should have no problem with a potential client talking to a willing existing client.

In ANY business I want to talk to existing clients. "Business" is the key word, and when money, potentially huge money, is on the line, there's nothing at all wrong with wanting to know how existing clients feel about your potential business partner.

spacejock2
01-29-2007, 03:46 PM
My agent is on Myspace and has a number of his clients in his friends list. When he added me I got friend requests from a few of the other clients, and I sent invites to the rest.

I didn't write 'hello, we have the same agent' messages but a number of them saw the details in my profile and commented.

Any author on Myspace expects random requests. It's not the same as emailing them to introduce yourself, and if they're just using it to announce book releases they'll be happy to have as many people in their list as possible.

I certainly wouldn't discuss contract specifics with anyone, though.