Monday, March 03, 2008

Waiting and Choosing Agents

Dear Rejecter,

While new to the "The Rejecter" as such, I thought I was familiar with rejection until I received a request for a full from a repudiable NY agency last July and have yet to hear a word. Could that be considered a rejection by omission rather than rejection by commission? What's the protocal regarding an e-mail to the agency and asking "What's up?"

Three months is the average wait for a partial or full. A good way to put it is, "I just wanted to contact you and make sure the manuscript was safely received." That's a good way of not stepping on any toes.

Dear Rejecter,

Let's say that you finally get that phone call from an agent offering representation. Are there any questions that you think writers should ask before making their decision to work with that agent? Is there any way to tell if that agent is the right fit for you?

It's very difficult. A good thing to do is ask them questions about where they would submit your novel and what they could do for its publicity. Try to get a feel for how excited they are about it and how committed they would be to the project.

If you have multiple books in multiple genres, try to get an agent who works in all of those genres. That's what I did when I was selecting between agents, and now my agent is helping me revise my second novel, which is sci-fi, for publication.

13 comments:

Adrienne said...

I don't want to step on any toes, so sorry Rejecter if I am, but you didn't quite answer the first emailer's question as to what the protocol was in emailing an agent that many months later about a full and I thought I would give it a go.

Now I'm not an agent, but I have read many a blog and was in a similar situation myself back in the day. And from what I understand, there is nothing wrong in sending a polite professional followup email, especially considering it's been so long since you've heard from them.

Rejecter, what do you think?

Laura (Kramarsky) Curtis said...

Jessica Faust over at BookEnds has an excellent post on the topic of "questions to ask". Of course, I didn't ask any of them, but I knew exactly who I wanted as an agent before I got "the call."

The Rejecter said...

My apologies. I'm not myself today. Edited post, and thanks for the tip Adrienne.

Anonymous said...

Never assume no response is a rejection. Sometimes agents get swamped with work, sometimes material doesn't arrive because the postal services messed up. Just query about the status of the partial or the full. There's nothing wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

About getting an offer of representation: I'm fairly sure that the real problem is that so many of us have gotten so many rejections -- form and otherwise -- that when an offer actually does appear out of the blue, we're inclined to think that we'd better grab it now, because it's not going to come again.

Obviously, that doesn't make for the most intelligent business decision, but it's a powerful emotional factor for most as-yet-unpublished writers.

Anonymous said...

If you have multiple books in multiple genres, must the specific agent represent all of them or is it enough that the agency represent all those genres?

Anonymous said...

I hope the first questioner proof-reads her query and manuscript more assiduously than she did her question.

bookfraud said...

good advice. i wish i had known it when i was choosing my agent, whose enthusiasm seemed a bit forced, and which waned when the going got tough.

and no, i'm not one of those writers who calls the agent once a day. or month. or year.

Anonymous said...

to anon 9:54 - Of course she reads her ms more carefully than her blog question. We all do, so stop being petty.

Anonymous said...

I am not trying to be petty. I read many finished manuscripts which contain a large number of errors of spelling, grammar, and sense. I think many people don't realize how important it is to eliminate them, which is why I brought it up.

Anonymous said...

anon 7:03 - I understand - but this is NOT a manuscript. It's a blog. We all talk funny on these things, spill our guts, don't worry too much about spelling or synxtax cause we gots to do that in hour manyuskrips.

PS - This is supposed to be funny.

Anonymous said...

I've known a few repudiable NY agencies myself. But usually they are repudiating me.

Anonymous said...

I think choosing an agent who is really in love with your manuscript and writing is very important. When I got the call, my agent quoted lines from my book, and compared it to several other books she thought it compared to (and yes, she's legit).

It's been over a year and we haven't placed it yet. However, she calls and emails regularly. She assured me she hasn't given up on the book and she won't.

It certainly make me feel better to have someone who really believes and advocates for me. Though the book is taking longer than either of us planned, I know she's still working hard for me.