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Queries and Agents => Literary Agents => Topic started by: FayeDC on January 12, 2021, 04:51:13 PM

Title: Please help - deciding between two agents
Post by: FayeDC on January 12, 2021, 04:51:13 PM
Hi everyone,

I'm very fortunate to have received two offers of representation from agents and I'm feeling at a loss how to decide, as I don't have any experience or connections in the publishing industry to draw on. I would GREATLY appreciate any advice from those of you who've been through this stage before me. I can PM names if needed.

Background: I have queried 2 books in the past few years without success. This is my third novel (a romance).

Agent 1: Over 10 years of experience. 6 deals in the last 12 months on publisher's marketplace. Mainly reps romance and SFF. Romance sales are mostly to Forever and Entangled, with a few to Kensington, and a lot of older stuff to Samhain before they went under. Her agency has around 40 deals listed in the past 12 months, mostly in non-fiction. She is definitely the main/only romance person at her agency. She was very enthusiastic about my book and wanted to talk about series possibility right off the bat (for anyone reading this who doesn't know romance, it's very much a series game). Mentioned a few ideas for revisions and wanted to make sure I was open to revising (which I am), but didn't get deep into suggestions because she said that would be for an edit letter if I signed. I liked that she seemed very confident and had a strong sense of where she could take my work, but I got a vibe from her that her editorial suggestions and her approach would be very market-driven, rather than driven by a desire to follow the author's vision for the work or the goal of helping them produce top-quality work, if that makes sense? I don't know how to express this properly but I guess I mean more of a focus on finding the hooky pitch angle than on the content of the work. When we were talking about series ideas she had a tendency to shoot things down or build things up very quickly before hearing how I would execute it, so I have a fear in the back of my mind that if I would have a difficult time if I wanted to write something quirky or different that wasn't 100% an easy sell.

Agent 2: Over 5 years of experience. 4 deals in the past 12 months on publisher's marketplace. Mainly reps mystery, non-fic, and some romance. Only one recent sale in romance, to Forever, however her agency has over 100 deals in the past 13 months and is ranked in the top five agencies for romance. Several of her colleagues are more heavy hitters in romance than she is. She has previously requested fulls from me on my other novels that ended in rejection, but encouraged me to submit again. She initially sent me a revise and resubmit request for this m/s, and while I was in the process of revising for her, I got the offer from agent 1 based on the earlier draft. I finished my revisions quickly and sent a new version to her along with a notice of offer, and then she made her offer. In some ways I "clicked" more with this agent because she seems more laid back and approachable, and I have a sense that I would probably have more freedom to write what I wanted and sell it if it's good, rather than trying to write to market. However, she seemed less enthusiastic and less prepared in terms of explaining her plan for my book. She doesn't really pitch things as series ideas even though it's pretty common in romance. I do wonder if she's more invested in her other genres and romance is an occasional thing to pay the bills.

When I look at what I've typed out, I feel like agent 1 is probably the better bet because she has more of a track record in romance and seems more likely to really push my book. I guess the main things holding me back are 1) I'm wondering whether the strength of agent 2's agency in romance carries over to boost her cred there, and 2) I appreciate that agent 2 saw that my book wasn't quite ready for an offer and gave me an R&R that made it better. Since agent 1's offer was based on an earlier draft that I think had some issues in it, does that mean her standards are lower and she won't push me to produce the best book I can? On the other hand, if agent 2 is less enthusiastic about my work, is it possible she was on the fence and was swayed by the fact I had another offer?

Thanks in advance for helping me organize my scattered, anxiety-ridden thoughts.


Title: Re: Please help - deciding between two agents
Post by: Viddiest on January 13, 2021, 06:15:05 AM
Firstly huge congratulations! Well done. A tough decision but to me agent 2 is sounding more right. If she’s working in an agency with solid experience in your genre then that’s a great thing. She will have support within the agency. I doubt she’s averse to pitching it as a series, maybe she’s more measured in her approach. For me, the way you spoke of agent 1 shooting down your ideas was a big red flag for me. Just going on what you’ve said here, I personally would go with agent 2 but I also value creative experience over pure sales. 😁 good luck again and maybe you can straight up ask agent 2 about series potential. Let us know how you go!!
Title: Re: Please help - deciding between two agents
Post by: Tabris on January 13, 2021, 07:39:52 AM
I would go with Agent 1. Agent 1 seems to know the romance market better, and if  she's thinking series and tropes and shooting from the hip, then she's already in the heads of the editors she pitches to. I would always go with the person who knows the market as opposed to the one who thinks, "Well, I like your work in general, so let's give this a shot."
Title: Re: Please help - deciding between two agents
Post by: rivergirl on January 13, 2021, 06:08:40 PM
agent 1. This is all about selling books and your comment at the end made me think you gut is also telling you that. What a wonderful problem to have.
Title: Re: Please help - deciding between two agents
Post by: Sonya Bright on January 13, 2021, 10:13:14 PM
Any agent with lots of sales to Entangled is going to be all about hooks over originality. Liz Pelletier who runs Entangled actually maps out the plots she wants her authors to write. (Just something to be aware of.) Many authors avoid working with Entangled because of this.

Just be aware that authors didn't/don't need agents for submissions to Kensington, Entangled or Samhain. The Forever deal is more impressive to me, and if agent 2 has colleagues with contacts, she might be just starting an impressive career agenting romance.

Editing to say I'd go with agent 2. But then the Entangled business model gives me the heebie-jeebies, and any agent with an "in" there isn't going to be as responsive to an author's ideas.
Title: Re: Please help - deciding between two agents
Post by: Viddiest on February 01, 2021, 05:10:30 PM
How did you go Sonya? Best of luck to you .