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spywriter
12-10-2004, 10:00 AM
I did the obvious today...something I neglected to do before. I made a list of agents (found in writer's market) and then CALLED them. Of the 22 (AAR members) I chose to query, nine had new agents working there who had replaced the ones I had hoped to query, two had completely new addresses, FOUR had disconnected numbers (hmm) and a couple others had changed their submission policies. Some just answered their phones "Hello", not "ABC literary". Some had really crappy answering machines. I got a feel for their professionalism. Oh, one also said that their agency did not and had not ever represented my kind of stuff. (WM typo?)

So the bottom line here is take the time to do a little research. I know it sounds so obvious, but I never took the time to research who I was turning my life's work over to. Take the 10, 20, 90 minutes to find out who these people are. I made a mistake once....I hope to never repeat it. I wish the same for the rest of you. A little time now can save you disappointment and aggravation.

Jaxler
12-10-2004, 08:35 PM
Excellent advice.

My policy is the same as yours...I never make cold contacts without an initial telephone or email query.

Several years ago, I called an agent's NYC telephone number listed in the Writer's Marketplace...and though the name was the same, the mystified guy I got on the line claimed he was not nor had he ever been a literary agent.

Pavel9
12-11-2004, 12:09 AM
Spywriter, I admire your motivation, enthusiasm and prudent approach to finding an agent. :p 8)

andyzack
12-12-2004, 10:00 AM
Most publishing directories such as the Literary Marketplace (a bad resource for authors, I feel), Writers' Market, and Jeff Herman's book, are prepared months and months in advance. They are, in fact, out of date when they are printed. Thus, my advice is to use the Jeff Herman book (my personal favorite) as a starting place, then use the web to confirm information and to do further research. Calling agents' offices is a far more expensive and time-consuming way of doing this research and most agencies discourage calls from prospective clients. Instead, we spend our time and money on creating websites filled with information, and I encourage you to seek those sites out.

Best wishes,
Andrew Zack
President
The Zack Company, Inc.
www.zackcompany.com

James D. Macdonald
12-24-2005, 08:39 AM
All of the printed guidebooks are out of date before the first copy comes off the press.

Nevertheless, they're good starting points.