Author Topic: A, no doubt silly, QUESTION REGARDING AGENTS  (Read 2390 times)

Offline dana

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A, no doubt silly, QUESTION REGARDING AGENTS
« on: February 09, 2011, 11:31:14 AM »
I was using the QT tracker and clicked on LAUNCH DATA EXPLORER.  I had never used that feature before, (in fact, I'm missing out on using a LOT of the features), but when I learn one or two, I stick with what I know.  :shrug:

The data explorer was showing results going back to February of 2009, and some agents have signed NO authors in that LONG time frame. 

Enough partials to make one hopeful:  few fulls... but NO representations!

SO USE THIS FEATURE BEFORE YOU BOTHER!

My question is:  WHAT are agents doing if they're NOT signing new writers in two years?  :rolleyes:

I know it's a SCARY market, but is this a sign the agent isn't messing with newcomers and just sticking with their chosen authors? 

And if this is so... WHY are they still listing themselves as agents accepting queries?

How does an agent earn an income if they haven't represented, or published, in two years?

I'm not being sarcastic.  I'm just wondering about "the rest of the story" where being an agent is concerned since they're not taking too many chances on new authors... again, due to the economy I assume.

Offline Tabris

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Re: A, no doubt silly, QUESTION REGARDING AGENTS
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2011, 11:37:42 AM »
1) Not everyone who queries uses QueryTracker.

2) Not everyone who uses QueryTracker continues updating it after the first day they sign up.

3) If they list themselves as still accepting queries, they're doing so because they have the time and energy to take on a new writer. Keep in mind that some of these agents may be open to queries because their AGENCY is open to queries, and all queries to that agency go to the same address and are opened by interns. Therefore the interns may be screening the queries and redirecting writers to different agents. Oh, you queried Jane Doe, but this actually looks like something John Smith would represent, so I'll pass it along to him.

4) An agent doesn't earn her primary income from the advance, IIRC. A lot of the money comes from other rights. I'd have to go searching for it if I wanted to cite for real, but over at PubRants, Kristin Nelson said that most of their money comes from sources other than the initial sale.

5) Not offering representation to one of the people using QT for two years does not equate to not selling anything at all. Many agents who are closed to queries have a full stable of writers who are turning out books on a regular basis and generating regular income.

If they're open to queries, they're open to the right story and the right author. The fact that the right author hasn't come through QT doesn't mean the right author doesn't exist.

Offline bodwen

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Re: A, no doubt silly, QUESTION REGARDING AGENTS
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2011, 11:38:36 AM »
Some agents prefer to work with their own clients, established writers, or referrals from clients.  They still take queries, because you never know when the next Twilight is going to find its way into a slushpile.

Offline dana

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Re: A, no doubt silly, QUESTION REGARDING AGENTS
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2011, 11:50:00 AM »
1) Not everyone who queries uses QueryTracker.

2) Not everyone who uses QueryTracker continues updating it after the first day they sign up.

3) If they list themselves as still accepting queries, they're doing so because they have the time and energy to take on a new writer. Keep in mind that some of these agents may be open to queries because their AGENCY is open to queries, and all queries to that agency go to the same address and are opened by interns. Therefore the interns may be screening the queries and redirecting writers to different agents. Oh, you queried Jane Doe, but this actually looks like something John Smith would represent, so I'll pass it along to him.

4) An agent doesn't earn her primary income from the advance, IIRC. A lot of the money comes from other rights. I'd have to go searching for it if I wanted to cite for real, but over at PubRants, Kristin Nelson said that most of their money comes from sources other than the initial sale.

5) Not offering representation to one of the people using QT for two years does not equate to not selling anything at all. Many agents who are closed to queries have a full stable of writers who are turning out books on a regular basis and generating regular income.

If they're open to queries, they're open to the right story and the right author. The fact that the right author hasn't come through QT doesn't mean the right author doesn't exist.

TABRIS!!  YOUR FINGERS TYPE AT LIGHTNING SPEED!!

FAST ANSWERS, and I gave no thought to the fact I was only reading gueriers from QT!!!


DUH!!!   :stupid: :wacky: :d3: :duh: :yes:

That's what I get for fiddling around with all the features Patrick put on here. 

Offline Tabris

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Re: A, no doubt silly, QUESTION REGARDING AGENTS
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2011, 11:57:24 AM »
I type 110 words per minute. It comes in handy with all these kids around.

Offline dana

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Re: A, no doubt silly, QUESTION REGARDING AGENTS
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2011, 12:06:43 PM »
When I was young and useful, 110 was my wpm.  Now that I'm old and... (yeah, go ahead and say it, Dana.)  USELESS, my wpm has fallen to the 80's.

Offline QuietWriter

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Re: A, no doubt silly, QUESTION REGARDING AGENTS
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2011, 03:30:51 PM »
Like Tabris said, lots of people query without using QT so they may have picked up a few clients from there. Also, some agents are established already and don't take on many new clients. They work on selling for the clients they already have and negotiating rights beyond just that first book deal. My own agent signed somebody from QT back in 2008, no one else from QT until I signed with her last summer. But she did pick up another client who wasn't on QT a few months later. I asked her how many new clients she offers to in a year. At this point, it's 0-2 new clients. She's established and very good at what she does, but not taking on many new clients doesn't mean she's not still looking through slush in hopes of finding someone's whose work she loves enough to want to rep.

Offline Tabris

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Re: A, no doubt silly, QUESTION REGARDING AGENTS
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2011, 04:31:09 PM »
Dana, the other thing to remember is that many agents find clients through referrals from their current clients as well as through conferences, pitch slams, seminars/webinars, and the like. They may write to authors they are impressed by in their favorite magazines to ask if they've got a current project.

Authors are finding representation. Agents are finding new clients. It keeps happening. This group exists so we can help it happen to one another.  :inocent:

Offline Jim W

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Re: A, no doubt silly, QUESTION REGARDING AGENTS
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2011, 05:00:11 PM »
Just adding my voice to the chorus...

Don't read too much into the statistics.  At best, we get a guesstimate from QT.  I didn't start using QueryTracker until I'd already trunked a project for lack of interest.  I've entered a bit of that data, but I really don't have the inclination to go through 100+ queries that got rejections.  It was a 135,000 word science fiction novel that didn't have a space war in it.  I could have written a great novel (it wasn't, we'll leave it at that), and a lot of agents would have passed on it just because of length and genre.  After such a disaster, it was a bit of a shock to start getting requests on the next project I queried.  What was the difference?  Better writing, better query?  Probably.  I'd written two more novels, I was bound to get better.  Was it more saleable material?  It's an urban fantasy, so yes, I'd say that probably was a factor.  Do I really know why?  No.  Will I ever no why?  Nope.  And there are other factors to consider, none of which we know.

So I wouldn't throw out agents that don't take on a lot of clients.  While it's true that newer agents are more open to new writers, landing an established agent raises your chances of a sale, and I think the odds increase dramatically the bigger the reputation the agent has.  Do I know what those odds are?  Nope.  Do I have any expectation of ever knowing those odds?  No.  So I've got someone in my query queue who only takes on 1 or 2 novels a year.  I figure my chances are about as likely as a hundred degree day occurring in Minneapolis in January, but I won't know if I don't try.

Offline Aiala

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Re: A, no doubt silly, QUESTION REGARDING AGENTS
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2011, 05:05:27 PM »
...I won't know if I don't try.

That's exactly right. The only 100% certain way to NOT win the lottery is, never buy a ticket.  :)

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