Author Topic: Strategies for Finding Promising Newer Agents  (Read 807 times)

Offline President Pumpkin

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Strategies for Finding Promising Newer Agents
« on: March 31, 2021, 04:43:08 PM »
Hi everyone,

I think I'm going to target more junior agents this spring. I feel like it would put me at ease if they've sold at least one book, either literary fiction or nonfiction (I'm querying a novel) but I may test the waters with those without a sales history on PM.

I've already queried a couple newer agents. I found them via MSWL, conference programs, or Writer's Digest. I've tried scrolling through Twitter, but I end up finding mostly agents who are interested in genre fiction (plus Twitter generally inspires disgust in me. I know it's a helpful resource. My mental health just suffers when I read it). I've also tried searching on PM for newish agents who've sold books to large independent presses I like (such as Europa and Tin House). But I feel like I'm missing something because everyone on QT seems to know how to find these up and coming agents!

If you have any strategies I haven't yet mentioned, I'd appreciate a tip. 

good luck with all your queries!


Offline kciswriting

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Re: Strategies for Finding Promising Newer Agents
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2021, 12:55:41 PM »
Google "Agent's Name Agent Interview". I've found some useful information from that.

Offline richardclin

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Re: Strategies for Finding Promising Newer Agents
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2021, 01:03:47 PM »

Hi President Pumpkin,


I too have heard that junior agents tend to have more time to consider our material. But I have yet to succeed with one yet. I appear to have good luck with securing quite a few requests for MS from agents with smaller agencies. And I have not had a single male agent ask for material. Surprisingly, no BIPOC or BIPOC advocate agents have reached out to me for requests thus far either despite my memoir being #ownvoices.

Hi everyone,

I think I'm going to target more junior agents this spring. I feel like it would put me at ease if they've sold at least one book, either literary fiction or nonfiction (I'm querying a novel) but I may test the waters with those without a sales history on PM.

I've already queried a couple newer agents. I found them via MSWL, conference programs, or Writer's Digest. I've tried scrolling through Twitter, but I end up finding mostly agents who are interested in genre fiction (plus Twitter generally inspires disgust in me. I know it's a helpful resource. My mental health just suffers when I read it). I've also tried searching on PM for newish agents who've sold books to large independent presses I like (such as Europa and Tin House). But I feel like I'm missing something because everyone on QT seems to know how to find these up and coming agents!

If you have any strategies I haven't yet mentioned, I'd appreciate a tip. 

good luck with all your queries!

Offline MegTravelz

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Re: Strategies for Finding Promising Newer Agents
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2021, 07:52:20 AM »
President Pumpkin, I usually just look at reputable agencies, and then see if they have any newer agents. It's good for peace of mind, because usually newer agents work with a more established agent, so you know the new agent is learning from a seasoned one.

Jonny_555, regarding your post:
I use PM and build a massive excel list and filter through each PM profile, and the agency website (most agents want BIPOC and LGBTQ+ authors only

I think you're misunderstanding what agents are saying. If you're referring to PM or MSWL pages that say "I welcome BIPOC or LGBTQ+ authors", they're not saying they only accept submissions from those authors. What they're doing is signaling that they understand the publishing industry has historically excluded narratives by these groups, and the agent wants authors to know they are trying to change that. In composing two query lists of over 200 agents, I've only encountered two agents who said "I am only accepting submission from BIPOC authors at this time". This might change your querying list-- best of luck!

Offline Odd John

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Re: Strategies for Finding Promising Newer Agents
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2021, 08:21:25 AM »
I second Meg's point strongly. LGBTQ and BIPOC categories were underrepresented for decades. Today, many Agencies are "catching up". But if they catered only to these audiences, they would be quite limiting their base.

As a reader, I welcome any story that avoids frank advocacy of any of the bad isms. Apart from that, quality is the lodestone.:yes:
My inferiority complex masks my superiority complex. It's very convenient.

       - John

Offline President Pumpkin

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Re: Strategies for Finding Promising Newer Agents
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2021, 01:25:47 PM »
Thanks for the tips everyone! It's helpful to get some ideas from you all.

Meg, I think you're right about heading straight to agency websites and checking out junior agents that way. Good idea!

Richard, I will also try smaller agencies and see how that goes. I'm also a POC writer, and I'm not sure exactly how that's impacted the responses I've received. Hmmm....

Jonny, I can see where you're coming from, but I think I have different reasons for loathing twitter since I'm on the left. At some point, you might want to check out conservative presses and agents. I live in a conservative Christian state in the US, and I've been told that religious presses have the money to publish high quality books. They're not necessarily solely about religious themes either, but all sorts of novels and literature. I don't mean to suggest that this is the right venue for your work. I've just noticed some of your comments on other threads regarding politics, so I thought I'd mention it.

Offline richardclin

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Re: Strategies for Finding Promising Newer Agents
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2021, 08:29:51 PM »

Yes, Prez Pumpkin, good luck with those smaller agencies. It seems to me the agents there respond more quickly, thoroughly, and personally (not from their teammate). And they appear more willing to provide feedback when asked. That being said, it was a major lit agency that allowed me to change their decline into feedback and then into an R&R.


I don't know the impact of POC either. I see the greatest impact of BIPOC #ownvoices it seems in YA romcoms. As my memoir fits that category with its coming-of-age, second gen immigrant romance with social issues as the backdrop, I have now created a second query letter to target YA-oriented agents. Not sure whether this will generate further requests for MS from agents, but I figure it is worth a shot. I'll let everyone know whether this tack (targeting two different genre agents) works in a few weeks...

Thanks for the tips everyone! It's helpful to get some ideas from you all.

Meg, I think you're right about heading straight to agency websites and checking out junior agents that way. Good idea!

Richard, I will also try smaller agencies and see how that goes. I'm also a POC writer, and I'm not sure exactly how that's impacted the responses I've received. Hmmm....

Jonny, I can see where you're coming from, but I think I have different reasons for loathing twitter since I'm on the left. At some point, you might want to check out conservative presses and agents. I live in a conservative Christian state in the US, and I've been told that religious presses have the money to publish high quality books. They're not necessarily solely about religious themes either, but all sorts of novels and literature. I don't mean to suggest that this is the right venue for your work. I've just noticed some of your comments on other threads regarding politics, so I thought I'd mention it.

Offline klclou

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Re: Strategies for Finding Promising Newer Agents
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2021, 02:13:17 AM »
Thanks everyone for responding to my response and for the reassurance. @ President Pumpkin, sorry if my comment hijacked your original question, was not my intention at all and I hope my reply helped in some way at least :)

Thanks as well for the suggestion for those presses, but I doubt I will ever get published through a Christian agent or publisher as I am not really religious nor is my work, but will take a look anyway. Like you say, they may not solely be religious in focus. I write mainstream, commercial fiction and wish to publish with the mainstream, commercial houses (as a first prize of course). It was through this pursuit that I found the political side of publishing (which I'm trying to reframe my original take on, though it is not easy). The feedback and help on QT is helping LOADS.

On the original topic, has anyone tried the paid version of PM? An editor I chatted with earlier suggested this as a great place not only to see current deals, but also get more in-depth contact and author rep information. $25 per month so still weighing it up though. Might have more junior agent contacts in there too. If I do bite, I will let you know if it makes any difference.

Yeah I had the paid version for a while. It was interesting but I didn't have it for long as I felt it didn't offer me enough value for the money.

Offline Viddiest

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Re: Strategies for Finding Promising Newer Agents
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2021, 06:50:37 AM »
I frequently check the New and Updated Agents page here on QT. I also check the latest offers of rep to see which agents are active in my genre. I sometimes find junior agents by going to the agency website. I also do random google searches like: literary agent + non-linear fiction (or whatever other themes you can pick from your book) and find new agents I haven't looked at before that way.

Offline President Pumpkin

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Re: Strategies for Finding Promising Newer Agents
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2021, 05:26:29 PM »
Thanks Viddiest. Those are all great ideas.
I hope your revision is going well!