Mail-order Agent

Submission protocol, query etiquette, and strategies that work
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Posts: 11
Joined: January 14th, 2010, 5:45 pm

Mail-order Agent

Post by kaykaybe » January 14th, 2010, 5:58 pm

Once you know that a particular agent represents your genre, what 's next?

I am more comfortable with the idea of a female agent. They don't have a male/female sort button on AgentQuery, but I wish they did. Flipping through pages of names and agencies is remarkably similar to how I feel about choosing an OB/GYN.

(this is a picture of a doctor pulling on a latex glove. Snap!)
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I've had both male and female doctors. It wasn't exactly more embarrassing to have a male doctor, but I never forget that he was a man.

My work-in-progress is a paranormal romance with an empath main character and I wonder if a man could really get it. (Present company excluded, of course, Nathan. This post is a recent recycle from my blog and one of the comments left was how the reader felt she knew you so well that you were excluded from this rule.)

According to my research into detecting lies, women are better than men at white lies, so maybe I want someone who will be able to tell me things in a very nice way, more concerned with my feelings than the exact facts. But I’m a woman, and women are supposedly better at detecting white lies, also.

But I wonder if I'm quicker to shut out a woman's criticism than a man's. And I'm afraid of a woman being 'witchy', and I would never expect that from a man. I have this notion that men tend not to take things personally or hold on to past mistakes like women may. Whether that's true or not, I don't know.

I don't value crit partner's and teacher's and workshop member's critiques differently based on gender. I value it based on usefulness. And I've had no problems working with men or women in various areas of my life. So why do I think it matters? Does anybody else care what gender their agent is?

This gender prejudice aside, what questions remain?

• Does it matter that an agency only has contact info on their one-page website? (are they unprepared for the digital age that has already arrived? Hmm. Yes. This matters to me.)

• Email query or snail-mail? (emails are deleted so easily. But the trees! Doesn’t anyone care about the trees? Personally, I have both email and snail mail only agents on my list.)

• Of course you should consider sales and reply time and all of that, but that seems a lot like asking how much money someone makes on a first date. This post is more about mentality than money.

• Books they like. –This is the most important thing I’ve found. Not only does it reveal more about the agent than any bio I’ve ever read, I have found some really great books this way.

I think I want a newish agent in an established agency. Although, let's face it, I would be happy for any interest. I could see myself being desperate enough to press my hand on the cab window as they drive away, mouthing 'call me!' with my hand in the phone sign at my ear, or whatever the cyber-equivalent is (entering blog contests, first paragraph contests and teen diary contests?).

I also read the agent blogs, and if I can find a podcast, or scroll down some Twitter posts, then that’s good. For example, I got to know Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown in this <a href=" ... podcast</a> with her client, Jon Armstrong, in which she describes some of the hilarious/scary things authors have done- well beyond accosting her in the elevator. It made me feel rather rational and balanced, for a writer;)

Like a lot of writers, I am a bit of an observer in real life. Getting familiar with people who don’t even know I’m alive makes me feel a lot more comfortable. Especially when handing out my manuscript is just as scary as a pair of latex gloves.

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Susan Quinn
Posts: 86
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 1:10 pm

Re: Mail-order Agent

Post by Susan Quinn » January 14th, 2010, 9:10 pm

I love it when I find things that make me feel more balanced. :) Hey, I'm not as loony as that guy!

And I think I would work well with either gender. I've gone through different vocations where I worked primarily with men or primarily with women, and they each have their +/-

Good luck!
Susan Kaye Quinn (young adult and middle grade author)

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