QueryTracker Community
December 17, 2018, 10:25:49 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Note: This forum uses different usernames and passwords than those of the main QueryTracker site. 
Please register if you want to post messages.

This forum is also accessible by the public (including search engines).
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: How many agents have you had?  (Read 1654 times)
AlythiaB
Hero Member
*****

Karma: 73
Offline Offline

Posts: 742



WWW
« on: June 11, 2018, 06:55:11 PM »

Hey guys!

So when I began querying my first novel 10 years ago, I remember hearing people say, “You won’t publish the first book you write.” And I remember being disheartened, because it had been so much work, dammit! I couldn’t imagine it not being “the one.” Seven novels later, I totally get it.

But then I heard something similar about agents—many people don’t stick with the first one. (“After all that querying work/stress, why would you ever leave them?!”) But seeing my CPs struggle (and some get dumped after radio silence and neglect on projects) opened my eyes to that end of things.

So I’m curious: Are you on your second, third (fourth?!) agent? What made you split? What’s something present you would tell anxious little querying you from the past?
Logged

Represented by Moe Ferrara, BookEnds, LLC
www.alyconner.com
Tabris
Hero Member
*****

Karma: 946
Online Online

Posts: 4705


I rock!


WWW
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2018, 07:11:30 PM »

I had two real agents (ie, agents who actually submitted my book as if they expected to sell it and get paid on commission) and one agent who sat on his thumbs for six months and then had the nerve to whine at me that he had bills to pay. Dude, the manuscript? If you need money, submit it places. He left agenting with a letter telling me he was offering me a great opportunity.

Of the two real agents, one was in Christian publishing and one was in secular publishing. I split from traditional publishing entirely because I didn't perceive my agent as being anything like a benefit to my career. I can't see a scenario in which I would ever have another one.

What I would tell past-me is not to be afraid to call the agent and ride herd on the agent for sitting around and not doing their damn job. Pick up the phone and ask how the hell they think they earn money if they don't look at your manuscript, don't send it anywhere, don't follow up on submissions, and so on. And don't give them endless chances. After the second time, assume that's who they are and decide if your career will take off with that kind of business partner.
Logged


Come visit my weblog!
Curious Author
Hero Member
*****

Karma: 40
Offline Offline

Posts: 399



« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2018, 12:00:01 AM »

I am on agent two. My first agent left the business, so I had to find another, but I'm very happy with my current agent.
Logged
AlythiaB
Hero Member
*****

Karma: 73
Offline Offline

Posts: 742



WWW
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2018, 09:16:47 AM »

Great answers, guys!

What I would tell past-me is not to be afraid to call the agent and ride herd on the agent for sitting around and not doing their damn job. Pick up the phone and ask how the hell they think they earn money if they don't look at your manuscript, don't send it anywhere, don't follow up on submissions, and so on. And don't give them endless chances. After the second time, assume that's who they are and decide if your career will take off with that kind of business partner.

I love that you're always willing to tell it how it is! I think we get so conditioned as querying writers to understand that agents are "busy busy people" that we still have that fear to "bother" them when we're clients.

Agents are busy busy people and querying authors DO need to understand that they don't owe you anything. But clients should be able to expect reasonable communication. If you keep it professional (and don't expect free, after-hours psychotherapy), there shouldn't be any reason for clients waiting around for weeks (months, in some cases) to get a quick reply. Writers are busy busy people too--most of us are pursuing this dream after work and putting kids to bed.

I'm lucky that the longest I've had to wait for a reply from my agent was about a week, but my CPs have not been so lucky. And that seems to be ok. Can you name another industry where you can still have a job after not responding to your clients within a few days, if not the same day?

I am on agent two. My first agent left the business, so I had to find another, but I'm very happy with my current agent.

I'm glad you're happy with the new agent! Seems like a lot leave agenting. Did your first agent stay in publishing?

5) Agent #5 repped novel #5 but could not sell it. I shelved the project (what a strange term for a book that finds no home).

Seriously! I get the image of a writer printing out and binding their ms just to put it on the shelf to gather dust.

So to answer your question, I've had five agents in 18 years, who have sold four books among them. What would I tell past-me? Probably that not only is getting an agent NOT the end goal, but that getting published is not the end goal; STAYING published is. This is not a business for the fainthearted, as we all know!

This is awesome advice!! Five agents in 18 years... do you have permanent nerve damage from the anxiety? lol You are the perfect example of sticking to it when others would've quit. And STAYING published is something a lot of writers don't think about. Great point.
Logged

Represented by Moe Ferrara, BookEnds, LLC
www.alyconner.com
Tabris
Hero Member
*****

Karma: 946
Online Online

Posts: 4705


I rock!


WWW
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2018, 10:28:02 AM »

Quote
Quote from: Tabris on June 11, 2018, 07:11:30 PM
What I would tell past-me is not to be afraid to call the agent and ride herd on the agent for sitting around and not doing their damn job. Pick up the phone and ask how the hell they think they earn money if they don't look at your manuscript, don't send it anywhere, don't follow up on submissions, and so on. And don't give them endless chances. After the second time, assume that's who they are and decide if your career will take off with that kind of business partner.

I love that you're always willing to tell it how it is! I think we get so conditioned as querying writers to understand that agents are "busy busy people" that we still have that fear to "bother" them when we're clients.

Trust me, none of those relationships started out that way. Both "real" agents and I worked things out and worked together and were polite and professional...until the point where the agent just....stopped. So no, don't fly out of the gate screeching, "Do your damn job!" but when the agent has sat on your finished manuscript for four months and flat out says, "You aren't a priority," that's the time to get mad and say, "You know what? I'm very glad you gave me that important information, because now I can decide how to act on it."

I would tell Past Me not be a nice client, basically. I would be a professional client. I always honor deadlines and I would expect my agent to do the same. I always honor the terms of any legal agreement I sign, and I would expect my agent to do the same. I don't take on more work than I can do, and I would expect my agent to do the same.

So the angry words would be to me-back-then. Don't let them jerk you around, Tabris. Don't let them put you off endlessly, Tabris. This is YOUR career, and YOU need to be more proactive about it.
Logged


Come visit my weblog!
Spat
Full Member
***

Karma: 37
Offline Offline

Posts: 99


« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2018, 08:17:13 PM »

#1: Signed with first agent after several books on query, took 9 months for her to offer and she offered when I nudged her with a mid-size pub book deal. She then dumped me one year later because she "no longer loved my voice enough to champion it the way it deserved" after subbing book #2 and not selling. We turned it into a YA. She literally went from one email exclaiming how excited she was to sub it soon as a YA to one week later, a break-up email with no further explanation. I insisted on a phone call and she was very distant. Funny how she really liked me when I already had a deal in hand...

#2: After a few days of feeling sorry for myself, I subbed that YA and within 3 months got 2 offers. That book did not sell (well, actually it's going to acquisitions now, but that agent did not sell it...okay, actually she supposedly got an offer from a Big Five that went silent for months then retracted the offer?? Not sure how often that happens, but it sounded so sketchy.) She subbed two more books (that she'd neither give me the sub list or responses for or even told me that she'd gone on sub). I went up and down about leaving for six months even when everyone told me the relationship was not right and agents should not ignore emails and phone calls and keep editorial/sub info from you, etc. I accepted that having no agent was better than having a bad, neglectful one who obviously did not respect me. I left just short of 2 years after signing with her.

#3: I went into depression and stopped writing for 10 months and traveled the world. I returned with passion and said screw it, I'ma write because I want to. Finished that book in a month, queried Jan 2nd of this year and received 3 offers in 3 weeks. I signed with an agent that I knew of because she's an agent at a good friend's agency and has been there forever and her clients all speak highly of her. All the offers were great and it was a difficult decision, but this time around in querying, I only had a handful I went after because I wanted serious agents, ones with good reps, good sales, happy clients, and known for good communication. I adore her and her notes and how she keeps me in the loop. I don't even have to ask her and she tells me btw, I'm going to be gone at BEA or on vacation or whatever during these dates, or let's discuss potential editors for sub lists and why one would work better than another, etc. And she gives me dates and game-plans! And forwards editor responses! I have absolutely no worries with her and when we get passes from editors, it's totally not a big deal because I trust her.

What would I tell my querying self? Seriously, no agent is better than a bad one: Go after ones that you really want and who have exceptional track records with their happy clients, not just anyone. See how they interact with their clients and editors. It's fine not to get an offer for a book because all those shelved books made me carve out my craft and grow as a writer. And once you land an agent, speak up. Don't fall for that "they're busy" or "I'm bothering them" bs or constantly give them the benefit of a doubt. Yes, be professional and patient and forgiving and don't nag at all hours of the day, but if you want answers, you ask and if you don't get them for BS reasons, then you walk. You deserve a good agent if you are a good client. clap And be happy. Rejections pass, just write and learn and write some more and be happy with your work. Do not stress.
Logged
Munley
Hero Member
*****

Karma: 92
Offline Offline

Posts: 339


Mr. Fluff -- from the SPCA


« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2018, 09:45:36 PM »

Spat,

I appreciate the helpful details contrasting what was so bad about the bad agents and what the great agent does that makes her so much better to have a professional relationship with. The reminder that no agent is better than a bad agent also helps.

Thanks!
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.2 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!