PDA

View Full Version : Maybe I missed it, but...



Shadow_Ferret
02-22-2007, 09:26 PM
I notice that we have a lot of Worse Agents and Agents to Avoid threads. There's the whole Bewares and Background Checks forum detailing all this.

But is there a thread on the Best Agents or Top Agents?

I keep hearing "start at the top" but how does one start at the top when you don't know one agent from Adam?

My apologies if this is a oft-asked question, but I couldn't find it.

Toothpaste
02-22-2007, 09:37 PM
You know Shadow, this is a really great question. I remember being on a different writing forum and asking that question, and all I got were flaky, "Go with the best agent for your book" answers. I'd like to see a tangible list! Anyone?

Del
02-22-2007, 09:41 PM
Look for an agent that suits you and your work. Then see if they have any negative reports to worry about.

One thing to remember is even agents with good track records have failed on some books. I'm looking for someone that feels good and isn't a crook.

Regarding the "top". I went to the top neurosurgeon on the east coast. He spent 30 seconds on 70 images from 2 MRIs and declared me healthy. I saw him all of 3 minutes. "Top" doesn't mean $%$@ to me anymore.

ETA: This so called healthy body is considered permanently disabled by the SSA.

MidnightMuse
02-22-2007, 09:53 PM
I think it's a valid question - and I have no answers, obviously. For me, I consider agents who repped books I've really enjoyed as "top" and desirable. And when I'm checking out their web sites, if they've repped a lot of books I recognize, they go to the top of my wish list.

Toothpaste
02-22-2007, 10:04 PM
But surely there are certain agents out there that people talk about and desire to have represent them. Maybe not a top list, but who are people's dream agents then?

Shadow_Ferret
02-22-2007, 10:12 PM
There has to be some agents or agencies that are at the top of their game, that when you think of an agent, that's who you think of.

I mean, I can look up my favorite author's agent or agency, but that doesn't tell me if that agent is necessarily highly sought after or if they are in the upper echelon of their field.

To narrow it down, my current WIP is an urban fantasy. Now I can do a search on agentquery for that and get a list, but again, I don't know those agents from Adam. It doesn't give their reputation in the field.

Del
02-22-2007, 10:32 PM
Every time someone mentions an agents name I am certain they become inundated with submissions. Where would this lead other than an overworked agent. The top agents on a list are going to have an overload also. Your likely to not get a thoughtful effort on your work, more of a once over looking for what ever would trigger their immediate interest.

I'm not saying don't look for the best. This is just an opinion. I just think once they've achieve a top rating it is inevitable that their efforts will lessen. I'd rather have someone who is excided about their work and still trying to make that name.

DeadlyAccurate
02-22-2007, 10:33 PM
There has to be some agents or agencies that are at the top of their game, that when you think of an agent, that's who you think of.

Sure, but that doesn't mean they're the best agent for you.


To narrow it down, my current WIP is an urban fantasy. Now I can do a search on agentquery for that and get a list, but again, I don't know those agents from Adam. It doesn't give their reputation in the field.

You could read trade papers, follow blogs and message boards, and you can get a decent feel for it. "Start at the top" doesn't mean "find the number one absolute best agent in the entire known universe" and query her, then find number two. There are lots of great agents.

(P.S. Try Jennifer Jackson. She reps Jim Butcher.)

Shadow_Ferret
02-22-2007, 10:59 PM
"Start at the top" doesn't mean "find the number one absolute best agent in the entire known universe" and query her, then find number two. There are lots of great agents.


I thought it did mean start with the absolute bestest and work your way down.

That's how I've always done my submissions of short stories. Started at the absolute bestest highest paying market and worked my way down.

Toothpaste
02-22-2007, 10:59 PM
I think all Shadow is looking for is something like that last sentence "(P.S. Try Jennifer Jackson. She reps Jim Butcher.)" I'll list some top UK agents, but I don't know if that is helpful at all:

Curtis Brown (also in the states, hi Nathan!)
PFD
ICM (also in the states)
Christopher Little has become immensely popular now that he reps JK Rowling
Ampersand Agency
My agency, Darley Anderson is pretty darn good too.

Anyone want to chime in with some american ones? Come on people.

Del
02-22-2007, 11:20 PM
I thought it did mean start with the absolute bestest and work your way down.

That's how I've always done my submissions of short stories. Started at the absolute bestest highest paying market and worked my way down.

Short story markets are a different animal. Yes, start at the top and work your way down. Top can be gauged by pay and circulation.

You have to gauge an agent by his track record. How do you compare one to another? It's deeper than just the number of books they place. Some get higher advances but your book is going to earn what it earns. If your book doesn’t earn out that high advance can actually hurt your career. And then some agents have a foothold in film. That’s a plus if your novel is suited. Then there is simple preference. An agent might take your book on but it isn’t really their cup of tea so their effort goes to the other guy that hit closer to their interests. In comparison suppose this lesser agent is really hot for your story. He’ll give it a harder push.

Maybe it is like getting quotes on construction. You get three and take the middle one.

PeeDee
02-22-2007, 11:24 PM
It's a good question, Ferret.

I'd still love to see a list formed, because I think it'd be a useful thing, but my method for looking for agents (apart from listening to people around here talk) is to find books I really adore and see who the agent is.

My first choice of agent, for example, would be Neil Gaiman's agent, except that in her agency's submission guidelines, you have to tell them what is special and unique about your book, which scares the beejeepers outta me.

But you get the idea.

Shadow_Ferret
02-23-2007, 12:54 AM
My first choice of agent, for example, would be Neil Gaiman's agent, except that in her agency's submission guidelines, you have to tell them what is special and unique about your book, which scares the beejeepers outta me.

My first choice was actually as DeadlyAccurate suggested: Jennifer Jackson. I'm waiting to hear from her. But after that? I have no clue where to go from there.

I only sent it to her because I've heard a few good things about David Maas Literary Agency on this board. But after that, where next? Is Jabberwocky better than Lowenstein and Yost? And where does Richard Curtis fit in? I can name the agencies, but I have no clue as to how good they are. Or how recommended.

Judg
02-23-2007, 01:27 AM
Shadow, I'd venture to say that's an extremely difficult question to answer. Something along the lines of "Who would make the best wife or husband?" It's pretty easy to make a list of things to avoid: drug users, drunks, philanderers, spendthrifts. But who is right for one isn't necessarily right for another.

First of all, you have to narrow it down to genre. Then you want to weed out the ones with obvious flaws (fee chargers, crooks, ones with no sales record). After that you'd look for someone with either a good track record or, in the case of a new agent, who has a background that would have provided proper training. And then you want one who is excited about your book and with whom you feel at ease. There is no "one size fits all" even if there is a "one size fits nobody".

In your case, if you're writing urban fantasy, I'd suggest researching the agents of some of your favourite authors and also going to the Fantasy forum here and asking about the agents of participants on that board.

Look for agent blogs also to see if you like their mindset. Most of them - with the notable exception of Miss Snark - use their real names.

Caveat: I'm unpublished and unagented, but I've been reading up on this a lot. Take my suggestions for what they're worth only.

victoriastrauss
02-23-2007, 01:40 AM
Reasons not to have a "best agents list":

- The best agent for one person can be the worst agent for another. Agents specialize. You don't just need an agent who's successful, but an agent who is successful in your subject/genre/market. Also, business styles and personalities vary. My agent might be appropriate for you in terms of her interests, but a poor fit in other ways.

- Some people love their lousy agents. The threads at B&BC are full of people who are very happy with their scam or marginal agents. If you started a thread on "best agents" you'd inevitably get posts from these people. That's information not worth having.

Good agents are easily identifiable by their track records. They regularly sell books to publishers you've heard of.

- Victoria

Toothpaste
02-23-2007, 03:37 AM
So how about instead of a best agents list, a most famous agents list. This whole sort of thing really infuriates me, because while I totally understand where everyone is coming from, when you are new to the industry and have no names at all to looks at, and youread through the lists of names everyone seems the same. Which agents are the ones that typically people go, "ooh you've signed with them? Awesome!" Because there are such agents out there. I know that there are with acting and that when you talk with other writers there are such agents with writing. I know in the end the best agent is the one that is perfect for you. And Victoria I totally 100% agree with you. But seriously people, there have got to be the big famous agencies out there.

I don't see why it is so hard for people to list their particular dream agents. We agree. There is no top 20 list because everyone has different needs. So why not just individually give a shout out to the agents you personally admire.

Shadow_Ferret
02-23-2007, 05:21 AM
Shadow, I'd venture to say that's an extremely difficult question to answer. Something along the lines of "Who would make the best wife or husband?" It's pretty easy to make a list of things to avoid: drug users, drunks, philanderers, spendthrifts. But who is right for one isn't necessarily right for another.



Yes, but even then, there are Most Eligible Bachelor and Bachelorette lists. There are Sexiest Person Alive lists. So it is done. I guess I'm having a hard time understanding what's so hard about suggestions on who is the Most Eligible Agent.

And what would be the criteria? Seems simple enough to me. They have some top name clients. They get top flight deals for their clients. Things like that.


Good agents are easily identifiable by their track records. They regularly sell books to publishers you've heard of.

ANd how do we identify these track records?

PeeDee
02-23-2007, 05:24 AM
Agents usually have web-sites on which they lsit their recent sales. That's a good start. And I bet you could get away with e-mailing the authors from there and asking genreal questions about the agent. (though I may be incorrect on this second point.)

Shadow_Ferret
02-23-2007, 05:35 AM
Gah! I had it brought to my attention that it is the DONALD Maas Literary Agency, not DAVID Maas. I feel like such a dope considering I was looking at their website when I typed that.

For some reason I have David on the brain.

I hope that's not how I addressed the envelope. :scared:

Oh god! I just looked at the query letter and I had too Ss in Maass. :(

*sigh* OK. I guess I'll start researching who is next in line.

PeeDee
02-23-2007, 05:38 AM
Friends don't let friends query drunk.

;)

Judg
02-23-2007, 05:47 AM
Shadow, there are a LOT of comments on agents and agencies in the Bewares and Background Check forum. There are numerous threads asking about specific ones, and in many cases the responses are favourable. You might spend some time reading over there.

Other than that, I can only suggest starting a thread asking, "Are you happy with your agent and why?" Again, probably best done in the Sci Fi/Fantasy forum for your purposes.

And FWIW, I have always thought those lists of most eligible and sexiest whatever were a bunch of hooey.

victoriastrauss
02-23-2007, 05:47 AM
Yes, but even then, there are Most Eligible Bachelor and Bachelorette lists. There are Sexiest Person Alive lists. So it is done. I guess I'm having a hard time understanding what's so hard about suggestions on who is the Most Eligible Agent.Those Most Eligible and 10 Sexiest lists aren't meant to be useful. They're intended as entertainment. You're looking for something useful. And a 10 Best Agents list wouldn't be useful.

Say you've written a literary novel. Your Most Eligible Agent might be Nicole Aragi. Say I've written a fantasy novel. Nicole Aragi would be one of the last people I'd want to query. Agents specialize. Nicole Aragi doesn't want to see my fantasy epic. Lucienne Diver of Spectrum Literary, who might, wouldn't want to see your literary novel. You can't make a useful 10 Most Eligible Agents list because your 10 Most Eligible Agents wouldn't necessarily be mine.

ANd how do we identify these track records?Invest in a good print market guide (I like Jeff Herman's book, but there are others). Identify agents who are interested in work like yours, and do a websearch on them. If they have a website, info on their track records should be there. You also might find newspaper articles that talk about their sales, or see them mentioned on clients' websites.

Other ways to find agents: Do a search on AgentQuery. Read general trade journals such as Publishers Weekly that announce recent sales (if you write genre fiction, there may be a journal that covers that field, such as Locus magazine for SF and fantasy). Subscribe to Publishers Marketplace, which puts out a newsletter that lists sales. Identify books that you feel are similar to yours and see if you can find out who agents them (the info may be in the Acknowledgments).

I've written an article (http://www.sff.net/people/victoriastrauss/trackrecord.html) that discusses track record research.

Identifying and researching agents is hard and sometimes tedious work. There's no getting around it, though. Deciding which agents to approach is a very, very individualized process, different for each writer. There's no one-size-fits-all approach, and you can't look to someone else's list to help you.

- Victoria

Toothpaste
02-23-2007, 08:05 AM
I guess I am just the most illogical person here, as everyone seems not to want to try any of my suggestions. It's okay. I get why people aren't. Still, I thought people posting their dream agents might still be interesting. Ah well.

Shadow_Ferret
02-23-2007, 08:23 AM
I know. It's strange that there's such a different thought process involved in making a list of dream agents. Why would it be any different from making any other list? There are certain criteria that make an agent the best in the field. In fact, I'm confused as to what this relationship thing is about. I'm not looking for a wife, I'm looking for someone I think will best represent my book. The idea that I have to click on a personal level with them for that to be accomplished just seems foreign to me.

I do understand genre and how some agents handle one genre better than another, so why can't the lists be labeled, "Top Fantasy Agents," "Top Mystery Agents," "Top Horror Agents," et cetera?

Guess when I asked it I didn't realize what a can of worms I was opening. Seemed like an easy enough question. Who are the Top or Best Agents? As I said, the criteria that makes up a Best Agent is fairly concrete and personal preferences shouldn't be involved.

Maybe I'm just naíve about this whole end of the business.

Del
02-23-2007, 08:42 AM
I don't have a dream agent. I find one suitable and query. When I get a rejection I find another to query. I may one day become frustrated with the time I take but for now I spend most of my time on my not ready for prime time WIP.

Toothpaste
02-23-2007, 08:46 AM
But that's the strange thing, you could say all you want to about agents out there, that there is no big agency but . . . when they use a writing agency in a film (I am thinking specifically The Squid and the Whale) they mention ICM. And I happen to know they are huge and well known in the industry. So there are those agencies out there that have the reputation of being tops, or at least representing the tops.

I think Shadow and I totally understand that the agent that is best is the one that represents you best. This isn't a matter of teaching us how to query properly, or to not be agent snobs, now it is just a matter of logic! Come on people, this is verging on the absurd. There are quote unquote top agents out there. Ones that everyone has heard of (everyone already deep in the industry). Ones that people are jealous that their friend has just signed with. This is slightly maddening!

Shadow_Ferret
02-23-2007, 05:03 PM
Maybe I'm asking the wrong question.

I thought of an analogy that corresponds with my out-of-workness. (Yes, I stay up late at night trying to think of the best way to write a post.) If I'm looking for a job and I have specific skills, I search for the best job recruiter, the best headhunter. I'll want to send my resume to the headhunter who has the most respect WITHIN THE INDUSTRY. The one who, when he submits a worker's name to a client, that client knows from past experience working with this recruiter, that this worker is the bomb. They'll bump that person up to the top of their list of interviews because they trust that recruiter that much. It doesn't come down to how other workers feel about that headhunter. It doesn't come down to if I like this headhunter. It comes down to his reputation within the industry among companies that are looking for workers.

Now, using that in mind, what Agent or Agency has the best ret IN THE INDUSTRY. Not who we think is the best, or who helped us and worked hard for us, but who is the most respected among publishers and when that agent says, "this writer is worth looking at" the publishers know from past experience that this writer is all that and a bag of chips.

Now using that criteria, who are the most highly regarded agents by the publishing industry itself?

johnrobison
02-23-2007, 06:25 PM
I notice that we have a lot of Worse Agents and Agents to Avoid threads. There's the whole Bewares and Background Checks forum detailing all this.

But is there a thread on the Best Agents or Top Agents?

I keep hearing "start at the top" but how does one start at the top when you don't know one agent from Adam?

My apologies if this is a oft-asked question, but I couldn't find it.


That's a good question, but there is no one answer.

First, all agents are different. The fact that an agent loves your book does not mean he'll love another writer. The agent needs to love the book he/she reps.

Second, the best agents - those who regularly sell work for big numbers to top publishers - do not generally take walk-in clients. You have to find a back door - a referral from an existing client, a meeting an an event, etc. I'm not saying they won't look at you - many will - but you may need to be creative to establish a dialogue.

I suggest subscribing to Publisher's Lunch and keeping track of deals. That will give you a list of agents selling work like yours. Focus on them. Consider where you might meet them face to face . . .Book Expos? Cons? Writing Conferences? There are many possibilities.

Shadow_Ferret
02-23-2007, 06:44 PM
I suggest subscribing to Publisher's Lunch and keeping track of deals. That will give you a list of agents selling work like yours. Focus on them. Consider where you might meet them face to face . . .Book Expos? Cons? Writing Conferences? There are many possibilities.
You're making a couple of assumptions. 1) that I have enough discretionary income to travel around to places where they hold these things. 2) That I can actually do face-to-faces without freezing up and coming off as some mindless cretin. Heck. I can't even send out a query letter without having such an anxiety attack that I misspelled the freaking agency's NAME!

roach
02-23-2007, 07:07 PM
The thing is a scam agent can be quantified (do they charge fees? have they sold any books? etc.) Legitimacy can be quantified (see the parathentical above). But respect? Just how do you rate that? What variables do you take into account (personality, other's oppinions of the agent, etc.)?

Take the SF/F genre for example. From what I've gathered in my (non-exhaustive and totally unscientific) research there are a handful of agents that make the bulk of the agented sales in the genre. However there are many more agents out there who handle SF/F on top of other genres. Which agent is better? Will you get lost in the shuffle with the SF/F only agents? Will an agent who only has a couple of SF/F manuscripts give you more personal attention? Or will that agent take longer to place your ms because s/he has less experience?

The whole agenting process is highly individualized. In my writer's group one member signed with Ashley Grayson two years ago and they've yet to sell his book. Another member was actually approached by an agent (I can't recall her name right now) on his blog after she'd read some of his published short stories. She hasn't handled SF/F before but is looking to break in. She managed to sell his book (getting him a $50,000 advance, UK publishing rights, and is now shopping the novel around Hollywood) in a relatively (I think months?) short time.

victoriastrauss
02-23-2007, 07:19 PM
Guess when I asked it I didn't realize what a can of worms I was opening. Seemed like an easy enough question. Who are the Top or Best Agents? As I said, the criteria that makes up a Best Agent is fairly concrete and personal preferences shouldn't be involved.But they aren't concrete and personal preferences are involved. That's the problem.

I think what you really want is for the process to be straightforward, unambiguous, and easily reducible to basic principles. It'd be great if that were so, but unfortunately, it's not.

Someone mentioned ICM. That is indeed a high-powered uber-agency with name recognition by the general public (mainly because of its talent and film divisions). Speaking for myself, though, it and agencies like it wouldn't be on my query list if I were looking for an agent. I want an agency that's smaller, more personal, and lower-pressure. I don't want an agent to steer my career or harass me during my unproductive periods, and I don't want an agency where I'll be Client 99 out of 100. There are so many factors that go into the decision of whom to query; it just can't be reduced to a set of rules.

- Victoria

swvaughn
02-23-2007, 07:21 PM
Shadow Ferrett: You had Maass right - there are two 's' there (and how does one stop saying s?)

Donald Maass would be one of my dream agents. I met him at a conference, and he's both knowledgable and tough. He'd be great.

My current dream agent is the one who's considering my full right now. She was on my dream agent list before she requested the manuscript, and I'm totally psyched. :D

Of course, it's all extremely subjective (hey, if agents and editors are allowed extreme subjectivity, writers should be too, right?). But others I consider "dream agents" might be:

Rachel Vater (handles urban fantasy!)
Kristin Nelson (also handles urban fantasy!)
Scott Hoffman (met him in person)
Jeff Kleinmann (met him too)
Adam Chromy (their website impresses me)

Of course, these folks are all JMO "dream agents," but they're all considered reputable and capable, all that good stuff.

Toothpaste, I hear ya. I know there are a lot of writers out there who do have dream agents. I think they're hesitant to say so, because one writer's dream agent is another writer's not-in-a-million-years. I think the personality and agenting style has a lot to do with individual writers' satisfaction with a particular agent.

Alas, we can only agree on the bad ones (takes our money, doesn't sell our books). Being scammed is universally bad. :D

Shadow_Ferret
02-23-2007, 07:25 PM
But they aren't concrete and personal preferences are involved. That's the problem.

I think what you really want is for the process to be straightforward, unambiguous, and easily reducible to basic principles. It'd be great if that were so, but unfortunately, it's not.

- Victoria
I guess I don't understand why it isn't that way. What personal preferences are involved? They either sell books to publishers or they don't. They are either respected by publishers or they aren't. They either get the job done or they don't. Either they do a damned good job or they don't. Seems terribly straightforward to me.


Shadow Ferrett: You had Maass right - there are two 's' there (and how does one stop saying s?)


Oh, thank you! I've been stressing over this for the last day thinking I blew my one chance to make a good first impression. Gah. This whole business makes me anxious.

DeadlyAccurate
02-23-2007, 07:28 PM
I know. It's strange that there's such a different thought process involved in making a list of dream agents. Why would it be any different from making any other list? There are certain criteria that make an agent the best in the field. In fact, I'm confused as to what this relationship thing is about. I'm not looking for a wife, I'm looking for someone I think will best represent my book. The idea that I have to click on a personal level with them for that to be accomplished just seems foreign to me.

So for you, an agent who is much more business formal would be a good fit. I needed an agent I was more comfortable talking to on the phone, or I would be too intimidated to ask questions.


I do understand genre and how some agents handle one genre better than another, so why can't the lists be labeled, "Top Fantasy Agents," "Top Mystery Agents," "Top Horror Agents," et cetera?

If you just want a list of great agencies that represent a specific genre, you can find. But you're wanting a Top 10 list, with some sort of order to it, and that doesn't exist. Is JABberwocky better than Lowenstein & Yost? Is Donald Maas better than both? Is ICM the best just because it's one of the biggest? I dunno. They're all great houses. What criteria do you use to define best? Big advances? Lots of sales? Sales to big pubs versus small pubs? Personal attention? Not all agencies can do all of those, but that doesn't mean they're worse than others.


Guess when I asked it I didn't realize what a can of worms I was opening. Seemed like an easy enough question. Who are the Top or Best Agents? As I said, the criteria that makes up a Best Agent is fairly concrete and personal preferences shouldn't be involved.

But personal preference does make a difference. I had to choose between two agents. Both are great; both make sales regularly. But I was more comfortable talking to my agent on the phone, and she seemed the more enthusiastic of the two about my book, so I went with her. That mattered to me. The fact that the other agent had made a six-figure sale last summer was less important to me.

jodiodi
02-23-2007, 07:54 PM
I can understand what the question is and why it's difficult to quantify 'best' in agents.

I write romance and my queries for agents have been taken from the RWA list of recognized agents and publishers. I'm going with them first because they apparently have expressed a desire to represent romance writers. Once I've been rejected by all of them, I guess I'll start with the ones on agentquery who aren't on the RWA list.

Toothpaste
02-23-2007, 07:54 PM
Deadly Accurate, your list of agents that you made, asking which is better than the other and then concluding "they are all great houses" I think answers the question perfectly. You knew all these houses were great, and you wonder how to pick from amoungst them. I had no idea some of these houses even existed and even if I read them in a list somewhere would have no idea of their "greatness". This is all at least I am asking for. Someone to list some of the great houses. Which you did. Thank you very much!

stormie
02-23-2007, 08:22 PM
I remember a thread like this about a year or so ago, on Writers Net forums. People listed who they thought were top agents. It's quite subjective. One person could just love their agent, while another thinks they're too full of themselves. (There is one author who has a blog and thinks her agent is the best. Admittedly, she is considered in the agency business as a very good agent. A lot of great sales.) I found in my email exchanges with that agent, she was hard to understand what she wanted from my ms., she seemed like she enjoyed using words straight from a thesaurus (though she was comfortable with it; some you can tell just throw in some 50 cent words to seem educated). But I just didn't feel a connection.

The emails and phone conversations with the agent I signed with were terrific. I knew I'd like him. I did my research too, on him and the agency he is a part of. (Donald Maass--yes, "Donald" and yes, two "aa" "ss" !)

I found the best lists to use are the AAR lists (http://www.aar-online.org)and agentquery site (http://www.agentquery.com). Then I visited the agencies' web sites, too, if they had them, and googled them.

swvaughn
02-23-2007, 09:08 PM
Ooooh, Stormie, I am sooooo jealous!! :D

Shadow_Ferret
02-23-2007, 10:50 PM
So for you, an agent who is much more business formal would be a good fit. I needed an agent I was more comfortable talking to on the phone, or I would be too intimidated to ask questions.

But personal preference does make a difference. I had to choose between two agents. Both are great; both make sales regularly. But I was more comfortable talking to my agent on the phone, and she seemed the more enthusiastic of the two about my book, so I went with her. That mattered to me. The fact that the other agent had made a six-figure sale last summer was less important to me.
An agent is an agent is an agent. I'm not going to be comfortable with any of them. I think that's my point. I'm not a phone talker, I'm not a face-talker. As was shown, I'm not even a letter-talker. I'm very intimidated by people and it just doesn't matter what their personality is like. I'm going to be scared spitless in any case.

As far as a list, I guess that's moot at this point. I feel like I'm trying to pull the proverbial teeth. I had no idea there was so much involved in just creating a list of Top Agents and Agencies. Doesn't even have to be in any order.

I guess at this point all I can do is go to the Worst Agent Lists and eliminate them from contention and then, by default, I'll have ended up with a Best Agents List.

PeeDee
02-23-2007, 11:01 PM
I guess at this point all I can do is go to the Worst Agent Lists and eliminate them from contention and then, by default, I'll have ended up with a Best Agents List.

...That's about it, really. :)

Toothpaste
02-23-2007, 11:37 PM
Would someone mind responding to my comment about I made to DeadlyAccurate. Surely I am not totally off base there.

I think there is a strange misconception that everyone who is writing knows who the massive agencies are, because occasionally Victoria or Deadly or someone else, will toss out a name like, "Well of course ICM is one of the big ones, but I personally wouldn't want to sign with them . . . "

This to me implies that deep down there is an understanding of the big (as in size wise) agencies out there.

Just for the record, though many of you already know, I have an agent, I am not asking for help or anything, I am just really curious - to know the answer to the question and also why people seem so darn stubborn about the whole thing.

Basically this is me just going slightly bonkers and trying to point out quite logically that because people here can toss out names of big wigs and say things like, "Is JABberwocky better than Lowenstein & Yost? Is Donald Maas better than both? Is ICM the best just because it's one of the biggest? I dunno. They're all great houses" that there must be reputations out there of certain agencies. And oh my god, just because you happen to know that ICM is one of the biggest doesn't mean we all do! One of the biggest you said. So what are some of the other biggest? You cannot tell me that ALL agencies aside from the ones listed in Bewares have the exact same reputations. That some, dare I say it, aren't better than others.

And somehow we have still managed to start an accidental list with people explaining they don't want to list houses. Right now I have:

ICM
Donald Mass
Jaberwocky
Lowenstein & Yost

Please someone respond to my posts, I feel like I am writing in a void!

swvaughn
02-23-2007, 11:53 PM
Other "big ones" are:

Writers House
Trident Media Group
Levine Greenberg
Sanford J. Greenburger

Off the top of my head. Others may disagree... :D

Shadow_Ferret
02-23-2007, 11:55 PM
Maybe I should have just asked "who are the big agencies?"

Best seemed to have brought out too much subjectivity for this group.

:)

roach
02-24-2007, 12:01 AM
Maybe I should have just asked "who are the big agencies?"

Best seemed to have brought out too much subjectivity for this group.

:)

I think listing big agencies is definitely more doable than wading into the murky mire of "best." :D

Of course then you need to clarify what you mean by "big". Are we talking size of staff, number of agents, number of sales made per year, amount made in advances, biggest ego, hair, height? (Okay the last three were thrown in as a joke.)

swvaughn
02-24-2007, 12:04 AM
Also, Folio Literary Management. Forgot them. :D

roach
02-24-2007, 12:12 AM
I think there is a strange misconception that everyone who is writing knows who the massive agencies are, because occasionally Victoria or Deadly or someone else, will toss out a name like, "Well of course ICM is one of the big ones, but I personally wouldn't want to sign with them . . . "

This to me implies that deep down there is an understanding of the big (as in size wise) agencies out there.

Speaking for myself, I've gotten all my information about agents (good, bad, ugly, big and small) from my research. I've looked at agent websites, seen what they've sold, who their clients are, looked at Locus and Publisher's Lunch to see what agents are selling and how often. The successful agents are the ones whose names are always popping up anywhere sales are listed. I also pay attention to what agents are going to conventions. When I was hitting a convention or two a year I'd see the same names pop up. I'd hear them speak on panels, see them making the rounds at parties, etc.

This has given me a fuzzy, non-scientific, non-concrete picture of who's who in SF/F agencies. It's not a comprehensive picture as I'm always learning about new agents via the Water Cooler and other sites. I haven't even yet exhausted my original query list, so I haven't had a chance to plumb the near 200 agents listed over at AgentQuery under "Fantasy". And this list just gives me agents to query. I have to further weed through the list for those agents that don't seem a good match for me. And I figure that out by looking at who they represent, and at how they do business. (My personal peeve is any agent who will only respond if interested. Those agents I don't query.)

DeadlyAccurate
02-24-2007, 12:24 AM
Speaking for myself, I've gotten all my information about agents (good, bad, ugly, big and small) from my research.

Ditto. Hanging around here (especially the B&BC forum), reading Publisher's Lunch, seeing who reps the big sellers. Just keeping an eye out. That's all I've done.

victoriastrauss
02-24-2007, 12:30 AM
Anyone who makes an effort to read the trade press--Publishers Weekly, Publishers Lunch, trade magazines in particular genres--will get a good education in which agencies are selling what to whom. Really. This is not that hard to do.

It absolutely is not a matter of if you eliminate the bad agents, you're left with the good ones. Eliminate the bad ones you know about, and you're left with the bad ones you don't know about plus the marginals, as well as the good ones. This is so the wrong approach.

Many, many suggestions have been offered here for learning about agents' track records and learning the names of agencies that regularly do business with publishers. (Did anyone check my article? It provides links to a number of publishers' rights listings and catalogues, where the agents for currently published books are identified.) If you take the time and make the effort to put these suggestions into action, you'll be able to toss out the names of the biggies along with the most experienced of the AW old-timers.

No offense, but I get the strongest feeling that what this list thing is really about is not wanting to take the time/make the effort/spend the money/do whatever it takes to acquire the necessary knowledge. There's just no way around the research; people could spoon feed you information all day long and it wouldn't necessarily provide you with what you need (and would inevitably leave a lot out). Or maybe it's about not liking the way things are and wanting them to be different. I think we all feel that way about various things in publishing--but that's just tough for us, because things are the way they are and you either deal with it or you don't. Getting all bound up in "it shouldn't be that way" is pointless and accomplishes nothing.

- Victoria

Shadow_Ferret
02-24-2007, 12:35 AM
Don't have the money to spend pretty much hits the nail on the head.

Other than that, no, I have no fear of doing the research and tracking down the agencies. I thought I'd first ask the question here, not realizing it was such a touchy subject. I guess I didn't realize that information was kept so close to the vest.

JeanneTGC
02-24-2007, 12:35 AM
Look for the agencies that have been in business the longest (Curtis Brown, Writer's House, Sanford J. Greenburg, etc.). Any agency that's lasted decades by selling books is going to be a top agency.

ETA: To me, that lets out an agency like Folio -- staffed with awesome agents, but the agency itself is new and still growing. I can't call it "top" yet because it doesn't have the track record of a Writer's House. Note, this means my way of determining "top" is, like any other way, subjective.

Toothpaste
02-24-2007, 12:49 AM
Victoria I find that assumption offensive. Isn't part of doing research asking people who are more knowledgable their opinions? I don't think for an instant Shadow wasn't going to put forth a lot of effort and work. And for my part, I was just curious, having already done the work and been agented for almost a year now (I know a lot about UK agents, but nothing about american ones). Maybe others want an easy way out, but I think it proves my thesis that the reason people didn't want to answer the actual question was because they felt they needed to teach about the nature of finding an agent. Which was not what was asked.

Thanks though to the others who made me feel slightly less bonkers. Only slightly, as the whol bonkers thing is kind of a permanent personality trait :)

stormie
02-24-2007, 04:11 AM
Here's my own off-the-top-my-head-and-out-of-my-mind thoughts. First of all, it's easier to name the worst agencies. Most, if not all, are scams. And thankfully there are fewer of them than there are worthwhile, legitimate agencies. As for "big" agencies, if that means a lot of agents, Donald Maass or Susan Schulman or Ronnie Herman or Kristen Nelson wouldn't be on the list because they employ five or less agents. But they are all well-respected agencies. And Kristen Nelson hasn't been around as long as Susan Schulman as an agency, but she's up there as a great agent.

There are so many great agents and agencies. I think that's why it's hard to create a list of the best or biggest or brightest agencies. And, within those agencies, you can have a terrific, go-getter agent, or one who's just about finding their way around.

Posting the worst agencies (the scammers) is the best way to go. Shorter list, and a writer can cross-reference all the legit ones with agentquery, aar, etc.

As I said, this is just off the top of my head thinking, and maybe not a great answer. But at least I'm trying!

And no, toothpaste (still love that user name!) you don't have a bonkers personality. At least to me (um, that's not saying much...:D )

popmuze
02-24-2007, 08:30 PM
I guess I am just the most illogical person here, as everyone seems not to want to try any of my suggestions. It's okay. I get why people aren't. Still, I thought people posting their dream agents might still be interesting. Ah well.

This is actually a very easy question to answer. The Top or Dream agents are the ones who, when you go to their web site, state in emphatic terms that they are no longer accepting unsolicited queries.

For instance, Andrew Wylie, who represents about 80% of my favorite writers.

This means you have to get recommended to them by one of their writers, an equally famous writer, an editor, a publisher, a professor, etc.

rugcat
02-24-2007, 10:39 PM
Anyone who makes an effort to read the trade press--Publishers Weekly, Publishers Lunch, trade magazines in particular genres--will get a good education in which agencies are selling what to whom. Really. This is not that hard to do...Many, many suggestions have been offered here for learning about agents' track records and learning the names of agencies that regularly do business with publishers. (Did anyone check my article? It provides links to a number of publishers' rights listings and catalogues, where the agents for currently published books are identified.) Victoria is right on point. The links she provides in her article are invaluable. In my own field, urban fantasy, for example, Melinda Goodin's Locus spreadsheet site lists the books sold in the last few years by agent, by publisher, by editor, etc. You can see which agents are selling which type of books, (Traditional fantasy? Urban? SF?) get a sense of what type of books specific editors seem to be acquiring, etc., etc.

And the idea that the best agents are those who don't take queries, is, I think, incorrect. Some of the most successful agents in F/SF, Jennifer Jackson, Richard Curtis, Russ Galen, Joshua Bilmes, Merrilee Heifetz, to name just a few, all take queries.

And there are plenty of other resources that have been mentioned. I feel, from my research, I have a pretty good idea of which agents are most likely to be interested in the type of books I write, and how successful they have been in placing others like it, and to whom. I don't know a lot about agents in other fields - it's not relevant to me right now.

Most of us don't have the luxury of picking and choosing among numerous great agents who are begging to represent us. And the "best" agent for a writer truly depends on individual circumstances. I was lucky enough to find the "perfect" agent - for me.

I will agree, however, that although it's important to have an agent you connect with, that you are comfortable with, and so on, the bottom line is still: Can she sell my book?

James D. Macdonald
02-25-2007, 12:19 AM
I can answer the question "Who shouldn't I marry?" by pointing at the guy in the bar with a five page rap sheet for fraud and assault, an unfavorable tooth-to-tattoo ratio, no job, and a pile of restraining orders and divorces (with unpaid child support) taller than he is.

I can't say "You should marry this guy," because you're the one who'll have to spend the rest of your life with him. Maybe he snores. Maybe you don't care, maybe you do. I might be able to set up a blind date with my buddy, but that's as far as it goes. From that point on it's up to you.

So, here's the blind date: Find a book like yours by an author you admire. Find out who represented it. Query that agent.

Maprilynne
02-25-2007, 12:58 AM
I just don't think it is too much to ask who would your dream agent be? Someone mentioned the dream agent threads on Writers.net and I actually started one of the bigger ones. The reason I did is that I had spent hours ( and hours and hours) researching agents and when someone menitoned Jean V. Naggar, I had no clue who they were talking about. Is it because I didn't do my research? No. Actually it's because I was researching agents who accepted fantasy queries and none of the databases I had encountered listed Naggar as accepting fantasy.

The Dream Agent thread was so helpful for me because then I could take some of those big names (and small ones too) that people had recommended and look them up specifically and check to see if any of them took on something that was like my book. I sent out several new queries and actually garnered quite a few requests for partial and fulls from agencies like ICM and Jean V. Naggar (who both typically just list things like commercial and literary fiction . . . which could mean anything, but was being missed on my searches.)

It also gave me an opportunity to see who other authors declare "nice" or "cranky" or "always wants an exclusive," etc. I bookmarked that thread and referred to it constantly as I continued doing other research for agent.

I thought it was just another source form which to gather information.

Just my $.02

Maprilynne

PeeDee
02-25-2007, 03:59 AM
Pick an agent by looking at their pictures on their web-sites. Only query the attractive ones.

Duh.

(look closely, 'cause some of them are over thirty and you don't want an old person)

Maprilynne
02-25-2007, 05:07 AM
OMG! Thirty!!

*Double checks quickly*

*Gasp!* My agent just turned forty!

That's it, she's fired.

Maprilynne

aruna
02-25-2007, 02:25 PM
Deadly Accurate, your list of agents that you made, asking which is better than the other and then concluding "they are all great houses" I think answers the question perfectly. You knew all these houses were great, and you wonder how to pick from amoungst them. I had no idea some of these houses even existed and even if I read them in a list somewhere would have no idea of their "greatness". This is all at least I am asking for. Someone to list some of the great houses. Which you did. Thank you very much!

Toothpaste, may I ask - you already have a great agent. Are you looking ofr another one, or what?

When I first began looking for a new agent, back in 2005, I asked a best-selling author who was my friend (to be specific, Leslie Pearse) who her agent was and if s/he could be recommended. She said it was Darley Anderson, and he was absolutely fabulous.

So he was the first agent I queried, my dream agent. I had no idea about the querying business back then so I think my letter might have been a bit rambling - I sent him a partial and a synopsis.

He actually called me back and spoke with me for half an hour. It was a rejection (he only takes on highly commercial work; mine was not suited), but he discused my options with me, told me what my obstacles were, and even made an agent recommendation (he thought my work needed a more "literary" agent) - he suggested Rogers, White and Coleridge.

Only now, two years later, I realise how unusual this was and how truly fantastic he is. Because yes, I want an agent I can also LIKE as a person. I don't care how highly powreed an agent is - if s/he's an asshole, then no thanks. Darley Anderson is both - high powered, AND nice! Congratulations!

(edit: I see you answered my first question later on:)


Just for the record, though many of you already know, I have an agent, I am not asking for help or anything, I am just really curious - to know the answer to the question and also why people seem so darn stubborn about the whole thing.

Oh, and BTW - the Curtis Brown in the UK is not the same agency as Curtis Brown in the US.

aruna
02-25-2007, 02:43 PM
When I was submitting in the UK, my first choice would have been Darley Anderson, Rogers, Colerige and White, or Curtis Brown.
In the US, my two first choices (and I was going to go through all the agents in those agencies if need be!) were William Morris and Writers House. I got the latter....

But these were my own personal choices; a combination of my requirement for a very strong agency, and an agent who was enthusiastic about my book AND communicative, easy to get on with etc within such an agency. That's what I got; mine's "only" a junior agent, but she's brilliant and works hard for me.

Because a big agency alone won't do it. I have a LiveJournal friend who landed a big agent last year. That agent was so distant, uncommunicative, discouraging and hard to work with that my LJ friend recently fired her. The book hadn't sold, and the agent had obviously lost the love; but that's no reason not to anwer emails.

Toothpaste
02-25-2007, 09:11 PM
Hey Aruna! No not looking for a new one at all, I am over the moon with the one I currently have. I guess you could say this whole thread is me being rather empathetic, because back in the day, when I was originally looking myself I asked the same question and met the same sort of responses. Also I was just curious, and heck I didn't know that the two Curtis Brown's were different! You learn something new everyday. I understand why people feel they can't answer the question, I really do. At the same time, I know that I can list a few agencies out there now in the UK that are considered top. But I do appreciate that it isn't a simple straightforward question to answer.

As to my agent, I love her (I'm not with Darley himself, but one of his sub agents who handles their children's lit list, though I have met him once and he is just lovely). She is so supportive, has done amazing work for me, and we get on really well. She even came to my going away party back in June and stayed a fair few hours hanging with my friends, even though she knew no one. I adore her!

PeeDee
02-25-2007, 09:14 PM
I'm going to open an agency and charge $5.00 $50.00 to find you the perfect agent who is exactly right to make your writing dreams comes true!

I'll be a smash hit.

Del
02-25-2007, 10:05 PM
I'm going to open an agency and charge $5.00 to find you the perfect agent who is exactly right to make your writing dreams comes true!

I'll be a smash hit.

Great, an agency agency. :Wha:

Toothpaste
02-25-2007, 10:09 PM
I could start an agency that would direct people to an agency like PeeDee's if it would be useful!

PeeDee
02-25-2007, 10:10 PM
Great, an agency agency. :Wha:

Fear not, Delarege, you too can be a real published fiction novelist!

Del
02-25-2007, 10:19 PM
Will I have to stand in line?

PeeDee
02-25-2007, 10:23 PM
Will I have to stand in line?

Silly. Of course not. We're here to serve only you. We specifically care about your career, ____Delarege____ and we want your fiction novel to succeed, we swear to God

Del
02-25-2007, 10:25 PM
And you do not use form letters either. :D

PeeDee
02-25-2007, 10:36 PM
Of course not.

Now, where's my $50.00? Cough up, or I sue. I've done a lot of work on your behalf already.

swvaughn
02-25-2007, 10:41 PM
Your price went up, PeeDee. Seeing some success there already?

I want dibs on screening manuscripts to refer people to Toothpaste. :D

PeeDee
02-25-2007, 10:51 PM
Your price went up, PeeDee. Seeing some success there already?

I want dibs on screening manuscripts to refer people to Toothpaste. :D

That's slander. My price has been the same from the beginning.

swvaughn
02-25-2007, 10:54 PM
No, no, no...

Slander is spoken. In print, it's libel.

:D

PeeDee
02-25-2007, 11:06 PM
No, no, no...

Slander is spoken. In print, it's libel.

:D

I am an agency agent, and I know what I'm talking about. If you speak to me like that again, I will tell my attorney (my cousin, Vinny) who will file for a lawsuit against you, and we will win for one million billion dollars.

That's right. I said it.

I am fufilling writer's dreams. The publishing industry hates new writers, but I...I am single-handedly giving them all that they need, and at great personal risk, since the publishers want to shut me down! Even now, I'm getting furious e-mails from that nice fellow at RandomHouse, telling me I'm a bad man. Well what do you expect from traditional publishers?

swvaughn
02-25-2007, 11:18 PM
You mean you'll give my book The Chance It Deserves?

Wow. As an agency agent's referral screener, I have to say I know how broken the publishing industry is. I really admire you, Vic... I mean, PeeDee. Taking all the bullets for all of us misunderstood writers, saving us from the Mean Old Editors and Agents Who Would Rather Steal Our Brilliant Ideas Than Help Get Us Published.

I'm behind you eleventy-one percent.

(You can send my cut via PayPal, thanks.)

Toothpaste
02-25-2007, 11:26 PM
(not before I get my percentage though)

PeeDee
02-25-2007, 11:32 PM
I do not know this silly "vic" name that you mention. Perhaps you mean Vicks Vapo-Rub? The perfect thing for a stuffy nose?

Don't worry, you can all have percentages, because there is a lot of money in publishing!!! and all the big editors and agents want to keep it to themselves, but I will guide you to the right agents -- the write agents too hahah -- who want to help you become fiction novel writers because that's your dream!!

I have gotten a lot of PMs from people who support me in this, no matter what the mods may try to say. I know the lurkers back me up here!!

swvaughn
02-26-2007, 12:02 AM
That's great, because I have a 500,000 word fiction novel that no agents will read. They will be so sorry! It's going to rock the world! It's a literary urban commercial fantasy comedy suspense drama with romantic adventure elements, and some of it is written in the form of a play. There are tons of quotes from famous people - even whole chapters straight from bestselling books! And plus, furthermore, there is a vampire chicken because vampires are HOT right now.

I'm so glad you support my dreams, PeeDee. You understand me, and you really want me to succeed. Let's open a forum and delete everyone who disagrees with me. We'll show these mods what's what!

Lurkers, remember that me and Toothpaste cherish your mon... I mean, your dreams just as much as PeeDee does, okay? If you want to support us separately, he doesn't have to know.

Shadow_Ferret
02-26-2007, 12:25 AM
Hmm. Here I thought all this activity in this thread was some useful information.





:tongue

victoriastrauss
02-26-2007, 04:28 AM
That's great, because I have a 500,000 word fiction novel that no agents will read. They will be so sorry!Remember, after PeeDee takes you on (for only $5,000--and remember, his prices will never increase) and places your fiction novel with a Traditional Publisher, be sure to send all those meanie agents a nya nya letter. (It'd be even more satisfying if you could include a copy of the book with its Real Professional Stock Photo cover art, but since it will cost $35 in paperback and your author discount will only be 30%, you probably won't be able to afford it.)

- Victoria

swvaughn
02-26-2007, 04:58 AM
Oooh, great idea, Victoria! I'll start writing one now, so it's ready when I get my Traditionally Published Fiction Novel!

Dear Tasteless Agent,

You rejected my brilliance -- but I found a Traditional Publisher who gave my work the chance it deserves without you! Now you're going to miss out on all those commission percentage things, plus the chance to associate your name with my greatness. Already, my fiction novel "The Historian's Vampire Chicken Code" is getting great reviews from all of PeeDee's other Real Published Authors, plus my elementary school teacher said it was brilliant and that I'm sure to win a Pewlitzer! I bet you're sorry you turned me down now. I'm going to tell all my friends what a horrible agent you are, and they'll never let you get your hands on their work.

Don't worry, Victoria, I'll be able to send them all copies. Didn't you hear PeeDee? He said I'd be getting percentages! I am an agency agent's referral screener, after all. Plus, my fiction novel's going to sell a million billion copies. PeeDee said so.

stormie
02-26-2007, 05:09 AM
plus my elementary school teacher said it was brilliant and that I'm sure to win a Pewlitzer!
Wow! You get a pew from a church to sit in while you listen to a Wurlitzer??! Way cool!

PeeDee said so.
Yup. And he's the BIG GUY, the one with New York post office box number and a direct line to PA.

JeanneTGC
02-26-2007, 09:49 AM
Hmm. Here I thought all this activity in this thread was some useful information.


:tongue
Laughter is useful. Okay, not useful in the sense of what the original intent of the thread was, but, you know, can't have everything. ;)

Unless we sign with PeeDee. Then you and I can be rich and famous Ferret! Shall we?

Shadow_Ferret
02-26-2007, 05:09 PM
What's PeeDee's track record? Who are his clients?

swvaughn
02-26-2007, 05:20 PM
I can attest that PeeDee has represented several authors and successfully pointed them to agents who might be interested in their work. In fact, just last week he signed on 50 New Writers, who would otherwise have been ignored by the Big Bad Agents and Editors!

We are all so excited! We're finally getting the Chance We Deserve! And for only $50,000 -- because PeeDee's rates will never, ever increase!

PeeDee
02-26-2007, 06:13 PM
I'm not just the biggest agent agency in the country, I'm also a client! Thanks to my unique and special services and my ability to resonate with many people all across the glob, I have sold my own book to sixty different publishers who are all publishing it in paper and it shall be available through Brick & Mortar bookstores across our country and Canada too! Wow! Here is what one of our authors had to say about my award-winning $500,000 services!!!

"He does such a great job you are so impressed when he slips your novel past the big bad evil editor who hates personally you! Thanks, Pete Tzinski!" -- Pete Tzinski

Sign today! Or stop my offices, The Basement of my Mam's House, West Virginia.

stormie
02-26-2007, 06:59 PM
Here is what one of our authors had to say about my award-winning $500,000 services!!!

"He does such a great job you are so impressed when he slips your novel past the big bad evil editor who hates personally you! Thanks, Pete Tzinski!" -- Pete Tzinski
PeeDee, you really should have had a beverage alert on this one. (Now to go turn my keyboard upside-down and drain it of coffee.)

victoriastrauss
02-26-2007, 07:01 PM
Don't you all know that track records are confidential information and trade secrets and agent agencies don't give out their clients' names without permission? I mean, how would it be if the agent agency told you a sale and you called up the publisher and bothered the editor to try and sell your own lousy novel? The agent agency has gotten complaints about that, and it has too much respect for editor editors to subject them to such abuse. So it's not going to tell you what books it sold, no sirree. And don't ever ask any other agent agency such a stupid question because they'll get even more mad with you.

Just believe what your agent agency tells you. Why would it lie?

- Victoria

swvaughn
02-26-2007, 07:11 PM
Yeah. So just fork over your $5,000,000 and shut up. Or we'll blacklist you forever, and the industry will spit on your name every time it comes up. :D

PeeDee
02-26-2007, 09:27 PM
Yeah. So just fork over your $5,000,000 and shut up. Or we'll blacklist you forever, and the industry will spit on your name every time it comes up. :D

Which they do already, which is why you need my services, now discounted for a limited time of $49,999,999 -- offer only valid of you buy the extended upgrade package which includes such services as "Pete leaves agents a post-it note about you" and "Pete spells agents names correctly" offer void where illegal except in Holland because we don't like the Dutch --and moreover, I have gotten an e-mail from one of our very special clients, Chumbawamba's lead singer, whose book has already been selected as book of the year by Bookoftheyear.com, a prestigous site that all the publishers look at when they are buying there books. They said that it was the best fictional novel they had ever read and they loved it even moreer than Jamie Farr's sensational new novel The Sun Also Rises.