Author Topic: How to choose the agents to send queries  (Read 5342 times)

Offline lyngla

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How to choose the agents to send queries
« on: June 24, 2007, 09:32:40 PM »
With so many agent listed even narrowing down the list to those who are in the right genre, I'm still left with dozens, even on the A list. For those agencies that have websites and list their agents, I find there are very few who specialize enough to distinguish them from one another. So it the agency seems like a good target, how would you go about deciding which of the agents to send the query? Do the agents in one agency refer queries to one another?

Offline Patrick

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Re: How to choose the agents to send queries
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2007, 09:47:37 PM »
A nice long list of agents is a good thing because, unfortunately, they can get used up quickly.  A very high percentage of queries sent out by any new author end up rejected.  For this reason you need to send out a large number of queries before you can get a bite.  That is, unless you are very lucky or very good (actually, you'll need both if you want to get noticed in this business.)

I would recommend you start by sending 5 or 6 queries.  If they all get rejected, you then send out 5 or 6 more.  Why so few at a time?  This gives you the chance to revise your query letter if you think it needs it.  Because, after you query an agent, you are not supposed to query them again for the same book.  This means you only get one chance. If you send out 100 queries all at once at then realize you had a typo or something in the letter, that's it, you're done.

Some agencies say that you should not query multiple agents at their agency.  A rejection from one means a rejection from all.  So that may narrow your list as well.  As for an agent passing a query to another agent, I think the query would have to be exceptionally good. Then, if the agent does not rep that genre, she may pass it to another agent who does.  But I've never heard of it actually happening.

Offline lyngla

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Re: How to choose the agents to send queries
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2007, 11:22:25 PM »
Thanks for your reply. Good advice. For agencies with multiple agents, is there a rule of thumb on who should be the first choice of agent to query? I know some just go to a general query file, but you still need a name to address the letter. And some are sent directly to the agent - then the question is which agent within the agency. From what I've read from the agency websites, there's a great deal of overlap. Few seem to list specialties. Any clues?

Lilly_Grant

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Re: How to choose the agents to send queries
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2007, 11:31:32 AM »
Always address a query to a specific agent by name.  If there are more than one at the agency, pick the one that represents your genre, and do some research to determine which one has represented more books like yours.

Lotheus

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Re: How to choose the agents to send queries
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2007, 10:43:35 AM »
That is one of the real problems with the query process that we are trying to change here at Query Tracker.  So much of the time, querying seems like a crap shoot.  We have often talked about the process having about the same odds of success as winning the lottery four times.  Be sure when you do query that you put as much of that data on the QT main site as you can.  It will help others along the line in making these decisions when it comes to be their time to query.

As for which agent in a particular agency, it comes down to wat you feel is right.  if you don't know any of these people or haven't hard anything about them, you have to rely on research.  Try to find out what other books they have published or what other authors they represent.  If they are close to you and your books genre, go for it.  Aside from that, close your eyes and point to one.  The odds aren't in your favor either way!  ;)