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 About querying agents by name

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LC
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LC

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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyMon May 09, 2011 3:52 pm

I've read on various sites (some of them editor and agent blogs) that you should always address a query to a name. Some agents claim to throw out a query that doesn't have a name on it. However, when I looked on a few large agent sites, just the address was on them. How am I supposed to know who in particular to address a query to?

Neither of the two queries I sent yesterday (one to a pub, one to an agency) had a specific name on them. They were just addressed to the business address. I've never addressed a query to a specific person. Not every place I sent a query to responded, but I figured the ones who didn't wouldn't have responded even if I put a name down, anyhow.

What are your experiences?
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dkchristi
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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyMon May 09, 2011 6:07 pm

I guess you call the agencies and ask for a name...use Google Voice and call them free...

Maybe looking up the agency online will reveal some names.

I have written only a few and had the name for those. With no success by the way...I did get nice replies about my work not being their interest at the moment but good luck, etc. etc.
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LC
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LC

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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyMon May 09, 2011 6:48 pm

I've read that strategy -calling the agency and asking for a name- and I reject it. IMO, it makes the caller a PITA. Does the receptionist really want to answer dozens of calls a day from writers seeking names? Is that how her boss wants her spending her time? And in a large company with who knows how many agents, how would she pick a name for me, anyhow? How would I pick one off a website (assuming I saw individual names, which I didn't)? I don't care which agent I get, as long as I get one.

How did you get the names of the agents you queried? And how did you choose them?

And why would I need Google Voice to call them free? My landline has unlimited free minutes to anywhere in the continental US. I thought this was standard now.
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Al Stevens
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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyMon May 09, 2011 7:55 pm

When an agency website lists agents, it usually lists the genres that each agent represents, which helps us choose one. When the website provides no names, I do what you did.
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LC
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LC

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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyMon May 09, 2011 9:23 pm

So each agent in a house represents different genres?

I've read on message boards where some agent declined a project but offered it to another in the same house. That suggests overlapping genres to me.

Anyhow, I hope I'm not alienating anyone by just addressing the house, but what can you do. I guess if someone is so petty that they'd reject an otherwise good query because it's not addressed to them personally, then good riddance, I don't need them anyhow.



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Al Stevens
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PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyTue May 10, 2011 8:28 am

LC wrote:
So each agent in a house represents different genres?
Not necessarily, although I have seen that.
LC wrote:
I've read on message boards where some agent declined a project but offered it to another in the same house. That suggests overlapping genres to me.
Yep.
LC wrote:
Anyhow, I hope I'm not alienating anyone by just addressing the house, but what can you do.
I doubt it. They're in business to find good manuscripts. You have a track record. You've been published. If your previous works are in the same general genre, that's an advantage.
LC wrote:
I guess if someone is so petty that they'd reject an otherwise good query because it's not addressed to them personally, then good riddance, I don't need them anyhow.
I think you read those things written by authors who need a reason for having been rejected other than that their work is not what the agents want.
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LC
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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyTue May 10, 2011 8:38 am

Al -this nonfic is not in the same genre as my other stuff. Totally different, a trade book with mass-market appeal.

About this:

"I guess if someone is so petty that they'd reject an otherwise good query because it's not addressed to them personally, then good riddance ...

I think you read those things written by authors who need a reason for having been rejected other than that their work is not what the agents want "

I've read that by agents and editors, not writers. Some claim on their blogs they won't look at anything not addressed to them by name. I can't reference their blogs offhand, I just know I've seen that posted over the years.
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Shelagh
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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyTue May 10, 2011 8:54 am

How to find your perfect agent:

http://www.jennycrusie.com/for-writers/essays/the-impossible-dream-how-to-find-your-perfect-agent/

_________________
About querying agents by name 41ZdcL0lV7L._SL125_ About querying agents by name 41C9GeFDNWL._SL125_ About querying agents by name 41%2BmGkZJdOL._SL125_ About querying agents by name 51eDGllZXhL._SL125_ About querying agents by name 41y7VHKoszL._SL125_ About querying agents by name 51Zs4N4T4eL._SL125_
Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ©️Shelagh Watkins 2017
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LC
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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyTue May 10, 2011 9:23 am

Marry Brad Pitt now that he's free? How old is this article?

Quote :
The Hunt
You start by asking everybody you know who her agent is or if she knows the name of a good agent or if she has any information about agents. I just had lunch with three friends, all published writers. One of them said, “I’m looking for an agent,” and we couldn’t give her advice fast enough. When we were finished, she had a short list of five really good agents,

That's nice. What about most of us who aren't plugged into such a community -and know that those who ARE don't just serve up their own agents and editors?

This article was a load of self-serving crap.

But thanks for posting it anyhow. Smile

btw -I don't need my "perfect" agent. I just need the one that the major publishers say they won't look at my work without.
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Al Stevens
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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyTue May 10, 2011 9:49 am

"Do not give up a personal life to write, it’s bad for your writing."

One of the best pieces of advice you can get.
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LC
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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyTue May 10, 2011 9:52 am

Doesn't that apply to any field?

Quote :
Then query. The best approach is to tell the agent why you’ve chosen her, discussing her excellent taste in authors and her outstanding reputation and being sure to mention any of her clients who referred you specifically,

I have a feeling some of the more impatient agents -like the shark lady- will go, "yada, yada, yada" as she reads those first three lines on her smartphone, then hit delete.
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Shelagh
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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyTue May 10, 2011 10:11 am

Self-serving crap and one of the best pieces of advice you can get -- all from the same article.


_________________
About querying agents by name 41ZdcL0lV7L._SL125_ About querying agents by name 41C9GeFDNWL._SL125_ About querying agents by name 41%2BmGkZJdOL._SL125_ About querying agents by name 51eDGllZXhL._SL125_ About querying agents by name 41y7VHKoszL._SL125_ About querying agents by name 51Zs4N4T4eL._SL125_
Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ©️Shelagh Watkins 2017
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Al Stevens
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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyTue May 10, 2011 10:14 am

LC wrote:
Some claim on their blogs they won't look at anything not addressed to them by name. I can't reference their blogs offhand, I just know I've seen that posted over the years.
Yeah, I've seen that, too. They also say they won't look at a query that doesn't conform exactly to their submission requirements in the tiniest detail. Didn't dot that eye? Into the circular file. I think it's a form of time management to allow them some initial screening criteria to apply to the deluge of queries they get.

My acquisitions editor once told me that her main job was to delay signing contracts as long as she could. To postpone publishing decisions and thus defer making the big mistake to a later time. She thought it was as funny as I did.

For what it's worth, Elsie, conventional wisdom says that you don't need an agent for non-fiction. Unless it's a memoir or something like that. Submit your proposal directly to the publishers.

The contents of a nonfic proposal are different from those of a fiction query. Also the nonfic manuscript doesn't have to be already completed, whereas the fiction manuscript does.

That's what I'm reading these days. The nonfic part was definitely true a few years back when publishers were slathering to get computer books. But the "for dummies" craze changed a lot of that. You can't get Wiley nee IDG to look at a "for dummies" proposal without an agent unless you are already hooked up with them.
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Al Stevens
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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyTue May 10, 2011 10:17 am

LC wrote:
This article was a load of self-serving crap.
Interesting. I didn't find it to be so. It's clearly aimed at the new, unpublished author of romance fiction, which isn't you and me, but it seemed to have relevant advice for her audience. I don't get the self-serving part. What did she have to gain by publishing it?
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Shelagh
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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyTue May 10, 2011 10:17 am

I don't know much, but I do know that LC wouldn't waste her time querying agents if she could succeed without one.

_________________
About querying agents by name 41ZdcL0lV7L._SL125_ About querying agents by name 41C9GeFDNWL._SL125_ About querying agents by name 41%2BmGkZJdOL._SL125_ About querying agents by name 51eDGllZXhL._SL125_ About querying agents by name 41y7VHKoszL._SL125_ About querying agents by name 51Zs4N4T4eL._SL125_
Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
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Al Stevens
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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyTue May 10, 2011 10:22 am

LC wrote:
Marry Brad Pitt now that he's free? How old is this article?
"Written by Jennifer Crusie, this essay was originally published in Romance Writer’s Report. PRO Column, June 2005."
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LC
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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyTue May 10, 2011 10:59 am

Quote :
What did she have to gain by publishing it?

Just the same self ego-stroking that so many others indulge in. Some folks get one or two (or more) books published, and all of a sudden they're the experts on All Things Publishing. The blogosphere and message boards are full of them. Harmless enough, I guess. Just not terribly useful. Telling unpublished romance authors to get with their successfully published friends and ask for agent recommendations just seems a bit ...disingenous...to me.

I'm aware of the different requirements for nonfic and fic. But most big houses won't take either without an agent. At least for trade nonfic. Otherwise, Shelagh is right, I wouldn't bother querying agents. I sent a query to the one big house I saw that (reluctantly) accepts unagented work.
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Al Stevens
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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyTue May 10, 2011 1:28 pm

Quote :
Some folks get one or two (or more) books published, and all of a sudden they're the experts on All Things Publishing.
I think it's more like 22 in this case.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_tc_2_0?rh=i%3Astripbooks%2Ck%3AJennifer+Crusie&keywords=Jennifer+Crusie&ie=UTF8&qid=1305059074&sr=8-2-ent&field-contributor_id=B000APUP3C

Heaven forbid a writer should have an ego to be stroked. When others won't do it, one must do it oneself.

I have one colleague who, if we aren't talking about her, changes the subject.
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Al Stevens
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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyTue May 10, 2011 1:30 pm

The problem with being an expert in publishing is that it won't hold still long enough for your expertise to continue to be relevant.
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LC
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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyTue May 10, 2011 1:34 pm

Yes, with 22 books, i'm sure she has a crowd of fellow published authors to swap agent names with. I'm just not sure that most of her readers do.

But whatever -all articles have a bit of something we can take away.
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LC
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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyTue May 10, 2011 4:40 pm

Ok, I'm going to backpedal a bit. I've been browsing agents, all kinds of agents, and found this:

http://www.andreabrownlit.com/agents.php

If there were ever a group who would want to a query to start out with how great they are, it is probably this group. In the dating world, I think these women are referred to as "high maintenance." One's looking for "the Lady Gaga of YA." okaaaay ... hope she finds him, I mean her. Smile
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Al Stevens
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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyTue May 10, 2011 4:46 pm

LC wrote:
Yes, with 22 books, i'm sure she has a crowd of fellow published authors to swap agent names with. I'm just not sure that most of her readers do.
Well, even a small resort town like this has a gathering of published authors. Nothing formal. They get together infrequently to kick around their tales of authorship. Unless it's really the boondocks, I suspect anyone could find such a group within driving range. And, their egos being what they are, they love the opportunity to swap lies and impress the unwashed, unpublished masses.

You can find them. I'm not sure you want to.

(I haven't joined the local group, though, so they might be the exception--just in case any of them is tuned it.)
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LC
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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyTue May 10, 2011 5:02 pm

http://www.amazon.com/Hermans-Publishers-Editors-Literary-Agents/dp/1402243375/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1305072104&sr=1-2

Have you bought this book? I'm tempted...
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Al Stevens
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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyTue May 10, 2011 6:34 pm

Nope. I haven't looked at that one. I'm burned out on agents lately. I think I hit a huge generation gap when I did my search. I restricted it to agents who accept email queries. And I think they were all under 35. Kids today. What do they know? Smile
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dkchristi
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About querying agents by name Empty
PostSubject: Re: About querying agents by name   About querying agents by name EmptyTue May 10, 2011 6:54 pm

I went to a local romance writers group and it was fascinating. It included people who wrote for Harlequin and other paperbacks. Some of them were critique partners who would go off on a retreat and write and swap their writing. I felt like a novice since they had major publishers and were turning out lots of books and I only had two novels and only one of them by a small press. They also had some rules about membership that I didn't fit since my novels are not romance novels but are classified as literary fiction.
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