I have reached the point where I'm ready to start querying. In the process of making a list of agents, I also started looking them up on Publisher's Marketplace, and I discovered some agents list their deals on their page, and some of them have the type of deal also listed, as in a 'nice, very nice, good, very good or susbstiall' deal.
So my question is are there other categories of deals and what kind of order do they come in. For instance, is good better than nice, or vice versa? Clearly, substantial is better than good or nice, but are there other categories like average, through the roof, and going to auction, and would you be comfortable giving approximate advance ranges in each category?
I ask because everything else being equal, wouldn't it be better to go with an agent who makes lots of substantial deals over someone making a few nice deals here and there, or someone making a lot of very nice deals over someone who makes the occasional substantial deal?
Deal categories were created by Publishers Marketplace, not by agents.
Here's how the categories sort out:
Prioritizing by number and/or level of deals is not a good idea.
It's not a good idea because not all deals are reported, and some deals are reported in ways that don't reflect reality accurately. In other words, deal reports aren't notarized statements, and particularly on the larger deals, there's a lot of ... ahem ... flexibility.
The best way to prioritize your query list is Me First, then everyone who has sold books in your category. Your goal is to find someone who loves your work, plans to stick with you through the long haul, and has a client list you can verify those things with.
I've made big deals and small deals for the same client. I've had books that didn't sell for that client.
Much of what makes an agent right for you isn't quantifiable.