Author Topic: Building agent's list  (Read 2434 times)

Offline greenland

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Building agent's list
« on: April 02, 2011, 04:33:29 PM »
Browsing the site, I've read the advice to build A, B and C lists of agents and start to send QL from the bottom up. Since I'm completely new to this process, maybe you can give me a good advice how to build those lists in a smart way? Is there any good tool to use? Or excel is sufficient? How long is usually these lists? Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Offline clutzattack

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Re: Building agent's list
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2011, 10:32:12 AM »
OOh, I have a super system for this. (sort of complicated though... I'd like to think I have this down to an art.)

I start with my "A" list. My absolute favorite agents whom I've been stalking on their blogs and would love to represent my book because I think they will absolutely adore it based on their preferences and I know they have the market connections. I rank them as a "10" with the QT feature. There are about 10 agents on this list.

Next I do a "Search for Agents" listing a bunch of superfluous things to narrow the field down. IE: Female agent who has website, blog, reps Fantasy, YA, and Historical. (Since those genres most reflect my novel.) It comes back with a short list. I go to each agent's website and check them out. I give them a base rank of 7 and +1 score if they say they like "steampunk" or something to narrow down the sub genre more. Or another +1 if they rep similar themes and titles.  If they say they mostly do "literary" stuff, I might give them a -1 since my book doesn't fit that tone. etc... These agents are my "B" list with about 20 names.

I do a search again for agents with just 2 categories. YA+ Fantasy. or "Fantasy+Historical"  These agents start out with a base score of 5. +1 for things I like about them -1 for things that make me think they will be an incompatible fit.  (Still B list.) 15-25 names

Then I do the search for agents who rep just Fantasy or just YA. These agents get a base score of 3. I usually have a hard time finding out what their likes are since they may not post much about themselves. These are the hardest queries to personalize for me. +1 or +2 if I discover things that make my novel a good fit, and -1 for things that make me think they're not going to like it at all. 20+ names make up my "C" list.


I had a list of 80 agents when I was finished. Some people might query 100+ or 200+ agents. It took me a a year and a half  to do 100 for my last novel and by that time I realized the subject was already out of style and I needed a newer book.

PART 2:

Sort the agents on the list by AGENCY. You may find that several agents at one agency rep similar to the same stuff. Sometimes the agency says only to query one agent and to not requery.  I look at individual profiles again, using their preferences, and the "Genre, Fiction" premium feature report to decide which one will be the best fit. I put the other agents from the agency in a "Hold to Query" folder  (I changed my icon to an X) symbol to make sure I don't accidentally query more than one at the same office.

My favorite agents get a pink heart and are put in the Top Choices folder.

Then I use the data explorer feature to Weed out the agents who are Non Responders. They go in a "No Response" folder. (Because when you first start querying you want to know if it works by seeing if you can get a response.)   This narrowed my list of 80 to 65 agents.

From there, agents are sorted into folders by who wants to just see a query, who wants pages with it, who wants a synopsis etc...

Still Following all this? 

PART 3: Sort the list by group or by priority number. I send out 10 queries to 10 agents who only want queries and who are likely to respond. (I use the History feature and data tracker to know if they are backlogged on queries and if now is a good time to send to these particular agents).

Most of my "C" list I know will be rejects because these are the agents who I'm not sure will like my book. The 5's are thrown in there because I do want to see if someone who should like my book shows interest. 

I query most of my C list, and then if I get a few partials out of it, I'll move higher into my B list. If any of my partials turn into Fulls, only then will I start on my A list. (Since I want a perfect manuscript to send my top choices, not just a perfect query.)

It's been a great system for me, take what you will out of it. : )


Offline rivergirl

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Re: Building agent's list
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2011, 08:03:47 PM »
Wow, clutzattack, I'm impressed in a stupified sort of way. :bow:  I start with the A's and work my way through the Z's.

Offline greenland

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Re: Building agent's list
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2011, 01:17:35 PM »
Just returned from Paris where our hotel charges $60/day for internet (my husband told the clerk that it's a robbery,  the clerk took it personally) so I survived a week without any connection to the modern world. Clutzattack, I love your supersystem! That's exactly what I was looking for! A year`and a half sounds scary...I'd better start today.