Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Query Question: offer of rep from an agent I'm not sure of

I've been querying my novel for a year. Several agents loved the concept of my novel, but ultimately came back not loving the book enough to rep.

Unfortunately, the one who has offered is not my first choice. She showed strong interest in the MS and then left me hanging. My email nudges went unanswered and finally she said they were in her spam box, also stating she had a huge list to consider and she would let me know. I kind of  forgot about her and forged on.  After another two months, she contacted me to say that she was still interested  and she would like to make the call to discuss representation.

I queried the owner of the relatively large and successful agency (Agent A) and (Agent B) is the person who initially asked for a partial. She was an intern two years ago and I can't seem to find who she represents, or anything she has sold since signing on as an agent. She's not very active on Twitter nor does she have a blog; two things I like and want in an agent.

My question is this: do I sign with an agent that I'm not thrilled with just to have an agent? I'm at the point where I am about to shelve my novel. I don't want to lose the opportunity to have this thing out there because I worked my ass off on it.

And I love it and self pub is not an option for me. At the same time, am I wasting my time with an agent who is flaky? Is a flaky agent better than no agent?? Should I just take what I can get??

No, you don't just take what you can get.
No, a flaky agent is not better than no agent.
and No, you aren't wasting your time, because you've learned something.

But, just because an agent isn't on twitter and doesn't have a blog and takes a long time on queries does NOT mean she is flaky.

The best way to find out who she represents and what she's sold is to ASK.  If she's offered you a place on her roster, you should be asking those questions, and she should be answering. It's entirely appropriate for her to share the information with you.  If she hasn't sold anything and doesn't represent anyone, well, you get to be first.  Five lucky writers were my first five clients, long before
I'd sold much of anything or had anything but enthusiasm to offer them.

That said, do NOT sign with someone you don't have confidence in. Don't sign with someone you don't trust to conduct your business well.  The last thing you want is to be second guessing your agent. And trust me, she doesn't want it either.


Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Many, many years ago I was so lonely and miserable I prayed to God:
Please send me a boyfriend. I just want to go out on a date and be like everybody else – as in coupled. I don’t care if the guy is an ugly mouth breather, with zit’s and BO, who lives with his ugly, with zits and BO mother. I just want someone, anyone, in my life.

God sent me Norman. He was not attractive, acted socially in inappropriate but he breathed through his nose, did not smell and did not live with his mother. He invited me to his house to listen to Jazz. I hate jazz but went.

I should have known something was amiss when the first thing he wanted to show me was his ‘just cleaned’ oven. With the Jazz music cranked as high as the speakers would go he took me room to room, he was very proud of his ‘spotless’ house. When he shouted over the din of the music that he wanted to show me his gun collection in the basement, I left.
Sometimes alone is better.
The really creepy part.
One year late Norman got married. There was a picture of the happy couple in the paper. His wife looked exactly like me. Not just a likeness, we could have been twins separated at birth. I guess she liked guns, jazz and was impressed by “Easy Off”.

Shaun Hutchinson said...

There's also nothing wrong with asking to speak to some of her clients. My first agent (who was also new and had no track record before I signed with him) always asked us if he could give potential clients our email so that they could talk to us about him. And I was always as honest as possible about his good traits and faults. Even if she doesn't have any sales, her current clients will be able to tell you what kind of communicator she is, how she handles revisions, what being on submission is like with her. Going beyond just whether or not she's flakey, you want to know if you're personalities will mesh. Do you think you'll need a lot of hand-holding? If so, make sure she's the kind of agent who provides a lot of communication. Do you prefer phone calls or email? Is she a hands-on editor? What does she see in your future beyond this one book? These are all things you need to find out.

Craig F said...

The most important thing is to make an informed decision. Try to open some dialogue with this aspiring agent.It still might not be right for you but it will be better than not knowing.

What you might think of as flaky now might be growing pains or hung over slave tendencies. Manumission of a former assistant in a literary agencies is never a complete break. If the match looks better it might end up being something special for both of you.

Try talking first and then make your decision.

Anonymous said...

I have nothing better to add aside from what's already been said, as to what this author should do. I will say, however, that my agent isn't on Twitter (that I know of) and doesn't have a blog.

Sidebar: It seems the Shark has redone her website. Or, am I the only one who's seeing that strange pre-photo of what looks like blue sky, and the tail end of a plane when I first come to the site, before it eventually morphs into all white? (used to be an orange banner and name in white letters). Now the backdrop looks like a crinkled piece of white paper and the name is in blue letters.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Just reread my comment. I hope you folks get where I was going because it reads like a memoir of my sorry early years.
My point, don't settle for less than what your gut tells you is the right person.
BTW a few years back, Norman died and his wife got the house by the lake and all the guns. It was a match made in second amendment heaven.

french sojourn said...


Or may I call you Betty.

So you missed out on a mouth ( see fake nose-breather), then you had that gaggle with Felix....so it worked out.

don't you forget me too!

Cheers Felix Buttonweazer.

Gingermollymarilyn said...

donnaeverheart - No, you're not seeing things. I see the sky and the plane tail. But what I don't see are the contest results. When I click on Flash Fiction Contest Results, nothing comes up. I've tried going through the archives, but nothing's working. Am I the only one experiencing this?

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Hey Frenchy, it's Betty with 2Ts to you. Lets listen to jazz, clean the oven and play hide and seek with Mr. B.

Anonymous said...

Ginger - I see the results...think most all have otherwise I'm sure Ms. Janet would know. Just see the blue sky/plane, and that's doesn't last but a second before it's the *new* digs with white crinkly paer as the backdrop.

Assuming they're new, that is.

Gingermollymarilyn said...

Thanks, Donna. Maybe it has something to do with the Windows Vista program; atrocious! It happened one time before. The plane and blue sky stay on my screen the whole time....and the white crinkle paper stays at the very top - it's only about two inches. Not to worry; not the end of the world.

Janet Reid said...

Ginger Mollymarilyn, I was all set to send you a word .doc with the results but you are Not Reachable. No email on your google profile.

*wags finger*
*wags fin*

I'm pretty sure I've yammered about this endlessly.


Now I have to find another good deed to actually DO. This one a day thing is really difficult.

*swims away looking for writers to gnaw*

Gingermollymarilyn said...

It's gingermollymarilyn@gmail. Hmm, not sure why it's saying 'unreachable.' I don't often use that e-mail addy. Not to worry, I don't expect you to worry about my computer issues. You're a shark, you have bigger fish to fry! But I appreciate your help. Please don't eat me!

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

It's a day late to comment on this.

A few years ago when I was desparately looking for galleries in France I sent a book of photos and CV to a gallery in the alps. After six months the owner contacted me. He was over the moon to discover my proposed paintings and wanted to meet me, like yesterday.

I too was over the moon because it seemed to be one of the biggest galeries with venues in high end places.

When he came to my atelier he showed up with 3 blackberries and 3 laptops. He answered his phones every 5 minutes and consulted all of his computers then started his monologue over again and again after each interruption. After my initial reaction to his glamourous status, my gut feeling was close to vomit. Then when he told me artists are idiots, that cinched it.

He called me incessantly insisting that he could pass by my atelier and pick up 20 paintings. I was vague, said I wanted a contract. I still wanted a gallery. Finally after digging through google, I contacted six living artists that showed in his galleries. The ones on his website were all the big names. Turns out he is a swindler.

Talk to the other represented clients.