Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Querying Agents in Same Agency

Dear Rejecter:

From what I've read, it's okay (and recommended) to query several agents at once. However, what about querying agents within the same literary agency? I have a friend who assists two agents at a very well-known agency and if I should query the two agents for whom she works in the future, would that be frowned upon? (I am speaking generally as I know my friend's opinion.) How much do agents within an agency "gossip" about us unpublished writers? Would they pass on a query sent to everyone in the house (even though several of them represent my genre)?

It is considered fair to query different agents in the same house, but space it out over a few weeks, because it might be the same assistant reading (or at least sorting) the mail, and when a bunch of letters with the same handwriting come in on the same day it looks tacky.


Dave Kuzminski said...

This varies among agencies. In some, one submission is equivalent to submitting to all of its agents. In others, it's not and submitting to each is perfectly acceptable.

When in doubt, ask.

Dwight's Writing Manifesto said...

The way small agencies continue to consolidate into larger and larger "umbrella" agencies, it seems as though ten years from now we'll only have to mail two query letters. One to Agency A, and One to Agency B.

Given current trend, it looks as if the days of the "One Agent/One Assistant" office are numbered.

Kidlitjunkie said...

Also (obviously) make sure to check the guidlines for different agencies. There are many agencies that say straight up on their websites that a "No" from one agent in their agency is a "No" from every agent.

Anonymous said...

I think the idea is to be selective again. Especially with e-queries, the ability to blanket the entire agent population is tempting, but it is basically spam.

I am sending out in groups of ten. This way I don't make offensive errors, like sending the wrong e-mail to the wrong agent/agency. I'm sure nothing makes an agent feel warm and fuzzy about a query like knowing it's been sent to everyone possible (even while they know writers are querying multiple agents.)

Anonymous said...

Now if we could only get them to say truthfully what types of fiction they'll look at. My last query went to an agent on whose website it said they rep romance. Need I say the rejection said they don't?

Anonymous said...

Handwriting? In this day and age do you really see that many handwritten queries? Gosh, I sure hope the manuscripts at least are done on Word!

Wendie O said...


I have a feeling that the reference to "handwriting" was to the address on the envelope. These days, with no typewriters and my new printer not accepting envelopes -- everything I send out has a handwritten address.


The Rejecter said...

I was referring to addresses. Everyone once in a while we get a query that's several pages long and handwritten. It's usually from a crazy person.

Anonymous said...

From my own personal experience, I queried Agent A at a particular agency. I got a rejection a week or so later. Months went by, a friend suggested I query Agent B in the same agency because this agent better suited my genre and writing style.

So, I did, knowing that 4 months earlier I had been rejected. And, voila! I got a request for a partial almost immediately.

This agency does work pretty closely together, so I was a bit worried that I committed a faux pas. However, I think there are also times when a query gets dismissed for other reasons beyond 'not for us' or 'sounds like crap.' A bad day at the office. Busy time of year and no time to really look at queries. Clearing out the queue and not caring what's in it...just wanting a fresh start. Etc.

I will also mention that I did reword my query some. Not the pitch part, but the intro and the closing. I included more 'sales' type speech and added some publishing credits I had acquired.