View Full Version : Multiple agents offering contacts - how to select?

07-30-2004, 09:58 AM
In follow-up to my post last night, I now have two agents who want to represent my book after receiving the proposal and sample chapters on Wednesday. I still have the proposal with two other agents as well, one of whom I'd be very interested in working with if she offered me a contract. I don't feel I can put these two off for a couple of weeks though to wait and see what she has to say.

Trouble is ... these two are waiting for answers. I spoke with each on the phone for about an hour. Both are reputable agents who would be submitting the book to major houses. They were both very pleasant on the phone, seemed like people I could have good working relationships with, and both sent very similar sample contracts. Both anticipated a first run of about 35,000. One, however, thought the book is most likely to be paperback; while the other saw it as a hardback (meaning more than twice the advance and royalty $$). I realize they don't make those decisions, but their pitchs might be different given their different visions.

Any advice? I'm so baffled.

07-30-2004, 02:17 PM
I think it would be entirely reasonab;e to call your prefered agent and explain the situation. If she does want the book it is on her interests to knw. I am by no means an expert though.

07-30-2004, 07:53 PM
check out who each represents and what kind of money they got their clients... how many sales has each made, compared to how many writers they reprsent, etc... see how well the books they've repped have sold...

a larger percentage of a smaller total isn't such a great deal... and don't forget that the advance is coming out of your future earnings... it's not in addition to the royalties you may or may not make...

aka eraser
07-30-2004, 07:57 PM
Approximately 100% of the unrepresented writers here would love your problem Uffda.

It's holiday time in North America. (I'm going to assume the agents you contacted are in NA.) It's very possible your preferred agent is taking a bit of time off. It's also reasonable for you to as well. I don't think either of the two agents you've spoken with will change their minds if you tell them you need a week or two away to think things over.

I'd tell them something along those lines and contact your preferred agent as vein suggested. If she is away it gives you all a wee bit of breathing room. If she isn't she may well take a quicker look at what you've sent and contact you.

You're right that the agents don't decide on hard cover vs trade but they do decide which publisher(s) to submit to first. Some print in all formats. Some in only 2 or 3.

If you avoid getting too cute and coy it seems like a can't-lose situation and I wish you all the best.

07-30-2004, 10:55 PM
I really appreciate all the suggestions. I did contact the agent I'm most interested and explained the situation. Worst case, she doesn't want to represent the book anyway so no harm done. Best case, she's interested and perhaps grateful for the headsup.

All three agents have an impressive list of clients, and have solid contacts at the major houses. We'll see ... I just don't want to have come this far to mess things up.

You know, it's funny. I'm finding every step of the way is really fascinating and presents a different set of problems. At first, I was afraid of rejection. Now, with representation offers coming in, I'm finding I might just be terrified of success. The pressure will be on to actually produce this book. :eek

07-31-2004, 08:28 PM
if you haven't even written it yet, and real, legit agents are vying for it, you must have something really new and different [or at least not done lately] to offer!... good luck with it...

hugs, maia

08-01-2004, 09:14 AM
There's only one way to tell how reputable an agent is; you look at her client list and get the titles of books she's sold to mainstream publishers.

Compare the lists and it should be easy to tell which agent you want, if either.