How many Nos do you get?

A Snarkling is covering all the bases to ask:

How far do rejection letters stretch? If my novel is rejected by an agent, is it kosher for me to query another agent within the same agency, or is the whole agency in effect giving me a thumbs-down?

This is a good question. I don't know the answer. Miss Snark flies solo on her broom. Most of my close collegial friends do as well. I'm going to take a flying guess that it depends on the agency (safe guess) and tell you it probably won't hurt to query another agent there. What's the worst that will happen? They say no again..well, you aren't any farther back than when you started. They cant blacklist you, or report you to the Bad Queriers Office of the Client Deportment Brigade so, what the heck...go for it.

If any of you reading have other info to provide, please step up to the mic.


Anonymous said...

Miss Snark. You fly solo because colleagues would worry about George Clooney seeking retribution against them too. But I wonder if there could be an advantage being repped by an agency with several agents--if they worked collegially. Agent B making a contact for Agent A with just the right editor for client C. Which makes me wonder, just idly, about agreements among agents at multi-agent firms. Is the 15 percent put into a big pot and divvied up at the end of the year? Or is just a portion shared or none at all? Why do agents huddle together while others fly on their brooms alone? I know that law firms have all kinds of partnership arrangments and I assume agents do too.

Does Heide Lange get to keep all the Da Vinci swag? Or is it shared around with the peasants at S. Greenburger?

Bernita said...

A related question would be: if an agent receives a publishable ms, but on a subject they cannot stand(secret tastes in operation here - information not available to the normal researcher of agents) - oh say a vampire story - would they pass it over to another agent in that office who thirsts after that type?

jill w said...

One of my rejection letters (from Big Name Agent at Large Powerful Agency) specified that other agents at the agency had also read the query and also passed.

Either they felt the need to mention it because other agencies don't operate that way, or they just needed to spell it out for clueless newbies.

Anonymous said...

My agency's agents meet regularly to discuss projects, queries, submission strategies, etc. My sense, however, is that not all operate that way. When I was querying some mega-agencies, I would send an email and reserve a rejection or request for more material sometimes within hours. Obviously, those agents didn't consult among themselves. On the other hand, again, if you submit to an agency screener or through an on-line web submission form, it's more likely more than one agent will know about it.

As Miss Snark says, it wouldn't get you in some black book to submit to another agent.

Margaret said...

Actually, pay careful attention to the guidelines and FAQs on this. A number of big agencies, Donald Maass included, do a group evaluation of projects. The reason why there might be a quick response is that they don't do a group evaluation of every query, I would think. There are some basic things that would indicate a project isn't ready or has enough potential to go to the next level. It would be ones that succeeded the next level test I'd expect to get the group discussion.

However, that some agencies, at least, frown on submitting the same work to multiple agents in the same house is a fact. My guess at the mechanics and timing is just that, a guess :).