Agent Buffet

You definitely ROCK! Mind if I put you in the acknowledgements of my next book (all the gods willing that there will BE a next book)?

Miss Snark thinks that is an excellent plan. Also, you must thank her at the Oscars when your book is made into a movie that wins Best Picture and stars George Clooney. Please make sure to include Miss Snark's home telephone number in the speech just in case Mr Clooney lost it (..again).

An agent I'm considering states that she isn't interested in mysteries except for chick lit mysteries (yay for me). She also isn't interested in thrillers. So, I have a thriller I want to sell too. Does this mean I should pass on her (at least until I'm totally desparate?).

I've heard that some agents contract on a project by project basis. Is this prevalent? If an agent is interested in one genre that I write, should I leap at the opportunity? And then what do I do with the book in the genre she or he doesn't represent/has no interest in? Seek another agent? I'd always thought (until recently) that agents contracted the AUTHOR, no just one book the author has penned.

Is the project-by-project contract the way agents are working now? Or just a few?

Well Miss Snark likes to have her authors think of themselves in bondage to her. Leather bondage. Contractual bondage is so much less..well...nevermind.

My agency takes on the whole person. If you write a thriller, and I sell it and your next book is a science fiction poem, well, ok. I make it clear that science fiction poems are pretty much NOT my strong suit and if you want a different agent, no hard feelings. You're always welcome to come back with the next thriller.

Frankly this doesn't happen too often. Most of my authors are writing within one field.

If the agent you're considering wants the first book, and not the others, ask her how you to handle it. She'll tell you. If you're writing in a bunch of areas, you might query mid size and larger agencies first, where they can handle all that stuff inhouse.

Agents too are willing to sell things for established clients that they aren't willing to take queries on. Find a good agent, the rest of the stuff will work itself out.


Anonymous said...

Dearest Miss Snark,

I have a day job in publishing, and I've been soliciting advice on the query letter for my novel from a few colleagues. I've heard very different opinions about the importance of categorizing the book. I believe it's accessible and intelligent, but it doesn't fit into a category like thriller or mystery. My instinct is to write "literary novel," but some here think that is too vague or limiting from a sales stand point (we're in sales & marketing). They suggest I call it commercial fiction or compare it to other books (as in "a literary novel in the vein of...") to make it an easier sell. I'm wary of doing either. I understand and often depend on the usefulness of a good sales hook, but when I put on my novelist cap, I have a hard time reducing two years of labor to a "[bestselling author] meets [critically acclaimed author]" formula. If the rest of my one-page query letter describes the ideas and action of the book and why the reader shoot give a hoot, and if my five page sample shows off the style and voice, do I need tell the agent I'm querying about anything other than a literary novel?


Liz Wolfe said...

Miss Snark,
Not only would I think you at the Oscars, I'd drag you up on stage with me. Then we'd go to Mr. Clooney's after party.

Liz Wolfe said...

THANK you. I meant to write THANK you, not THINK you.

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons I chose my agency over others is that they will handle juvenile as well as adult books. It's rare to find the former, and I have projects in mind in both areas.

Anonymous said...

If, say, someone did a contemporary police procedural with you (do you do them?) and then did a futuristic or historical police procedural that was in the same style and wasn't too filled with the cliches of their new sub-genre, would you still be able to deal with it?