Saturday, February 14, 2009

Rockstar Agents

Rejecter, my question is this: say there's a real swanky high powered agent who doesn't accept queries (Binky Urban or the like), however you've actually got something that fits with his/her interests. Say also it's backed with the endorsement of someone equally high powered from the artist's end, someone along the lines of a Cormac McCarthy. What would be the protocol of just sending a note about the situation versus a full fledged query? The easy answer, but not always applicable, might be just have the super-author gives the agent a heads up. But in reality, an author like that can't really be expected to run administrative errands for an unknown, especially if they already did you the enormous favor of reading the manuscript in question. So, what do you think: totally out of bounds, a small but potentially fruitful risk, or no big deal-go for it?

If the agent does not accent queries, do not send queries unless you have a recommendation from someone knows the agent personally (a client, a friend, another agent). Or just do it, and probably get rejected, but who knows? But generally, go with first thing I said. Also, there's no reason for extra fuss over a "swanky high powered agent." Yes, a couple agents have made names for themselves with super deals or by continually getting their clients into the New Yorker, but the agent you want is a good agent who cares about your work the most and can do the most for your manuscript. Of course, you may not get a choice on who that is if only one person takes you on, but you are looking for someone who is (a) good at their job and (a) a fan of your work. There are good agents and bad agents (and scam agents). Good agents have the right connections (for you); bad agents have few or no sales, or are out of the loop, or don't know enough editors. The best agent for you may be someone you've never heard of and isn't even listed on the first major agent listing page. So just query widely, to everyone who accepts in your genre and is either an AAR member or from an established agency but just hasn't been in business long enough to qualify for the AAR.