I always like to see what the non-competition is up to so I sidled over to their website. After I stumbled past the terrible writing, the illogical reasoning, and the list of things they do that are actually what everyone else does, I found this gem:
With an extensive database, LLA will continue submitting until all avenues are exhausted. We never give up. It only takes submitting to the right editor.
I realized that "we never give up" might sound attractive to an author. We've all heard the horror stories about writers who got dumped by their agents after five or ten submissions. (Yes, that makes my blood boil too.)
But unless this merry band of agents knows everything about everyone in publishing (which I doubt, since I'd never heard of them) there are going to be some projects they won't be able to sell properly. And if they "never give up" that means they're going to sell to a publisher that is a whole lot lower on the desirability list than you'd hope.
The truth is a good agent will freely tell you s/he's not good at every category or every kind of book. It's the reason we list what we're looking for. We like to hit to our strengths.
And a really good agent will know when she's the wrong agent for a project.
Case in point: Kari Dell.
I had the pleasure of lunching with Kari today in New York City. She skedaddled out of Montana ahead of her rabid fans wanting autographs I'm sure, but she's also here to do a reading as part of the Lady Jane Salon.
I repped Kari Dell for a long long time. She started out writing crime fiction. I loved her voice, I loved her books. I was the only one who did for a while: I couldn't sell them. Gradually she started writing less crime-focused books and more romance-focused books.
It dawned on me that I didn't know much about selling romance. I didn't read much of it. I didn't know the players. AND I KNEW THAT.
So, I called hotshot agent to the stars Holly Root and said "boy do I have a deal for you" and yes indeed she agreed.
I called Kari and said "you've been traded for a crime writer and a poet to be named later."
Fast forward not all that long and Kari has a deal with Sourcebooks, and some pretty damn fine blurbs and reviews.
In other words the RIGHT agent got her to the RIGHT editor and the SMART agent knew her limits.
There are lots of other times when "giving up" is the smart choice. Not all books (even good ones) get picked up. A smart agent knows when to pull the plug and get her client working on the next project. A smart agent doesn't sell your work for peanuts to a monkeyshine publisher simply to get a deal. A bad deal is worse than no deal.
Bottom line: like much of what's on this website "we never give up" sounds good until you know how agenting actually works. You want an agent who knows how to get advances, and when to sound retreat.