How do you personalise if u can't find info on some agents?

Submission protocol, query etiquette, and strategies that work
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How do you personalise if u can't find info on some agents?

Post by BransfordGroupie » December 31st, 2009, 9:02 am

There are loads of agents out there that don't seem to have any searchable info other than what you would find on their agency website. So, all you have are the genres they are interested in and little if no other information. Is saying (truthfully) that you have read at least one of their client's books enough? Also, one of the agents in my 'A list' represents an author whose work inspired me to write in the first place (there is no similarity between my work and that author). Would I sound like I am being cheesy or 'sucking up' if I mention something along those lines in the personalised part or my query? Is this something an agent would see a lot of, and therefore yawn at the lack of originality?

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Re: How do you personalise if u can't find info on some agents?

Post by casnow » January 4th, 2010, 1:00 am

In my non-expert opinion I think that the most important step is making sure to follow the submission guidelines and give them exactly what they ask for, making sure to get their name right, making sure that they looking in the genre you are submitting, etc. I don't think anyone has ever gotten straight out rejected (if they have an interesting story/hook) for not being able to mention several of the agents other clients.

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Re: How do you personalise if u can't find info on some agents?

Post by hartjohnson » January 8th, 2010, 12:10 pm

It seems actually there is mixed information out there on personalizing ANYWAY. I think personalizing if your book targets a similar market (and the reasons) as one of their current clients is fabulous. Saying you like dogs as much as they do crosses a line and you are far better off with just a relatively generic letter (personalized, but not personal).

I haven't had great luck querying (hopefully better now that I've revised) but the nibbles I've gotten have ALL been from the standard, no reason given (though the agents CHOSEN had said something that made me think for the agency they were the right person). When I've said anything more targeted though... none have worked.

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Re: How do you personalise if u can't find info on some agents?

Post by Bryan Russell/Ink » January 8th, 2010, 12:45 pm

Think of personalization as the cherry on top. You don't need it, but it's a nice little treat. It shows you went the extra mile. But, again, you don't need it. Heck, some people don't even like cherries. And some agents aren't interested in having personal information out there, and so you don't know just what kind of cherry they want. If there's an honest connection, use it. You don't need to suck up, just show that you've done your homework. But if they don't put information out there they don't really expect you to know it. And if you've offered up a great sundae, then the agent won't really care whether there's a cherry or not. If you have a great query and novel it will make no difference if you don't have a cherry. They'll still want to see a partial. The cherry is nice, as it helps the agent perk up a little when going through piles of queries and puts them in a good mood fo rreading yours... but it's not necessary. In the end they just want a good sundae, cherry or no cherry.
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Re: How do you personalise if u can't find info on some agents?

Post by kristi » January 8th, 2010, 3:58 pm

I've noticed that a lot of agented authors have stated in blogs, interviews, etc. that they didn't personalize their queries. Out of my list, I'm only going to personalize in a few cases where there's a specific reason that I've chosen to query them. So I wouldn't worry if you can't find a lot of info on an agent -- although you would at least want to know that they have recent sales which you can check through Publisher's Marketplace. Good luck!

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