Dear Miss Snark,
I had some good news recently--an agent offered to represent my novel. The agent and I had a longish chat about my writing, and I liked him and felt we could work well together. However, he is just starting out (at a well-reputed agency) and has few sales to his credit. Some of my published friends, who have read my novel and are optimistic about its prospects, have advised me to shop the manuscript around, and try for a more prestigious, well-established agent. (yea, mother in law friends...'you can do better, sooo much better.')
My question is this: what sort of benefit might I expect from having a more established agent? I would like someone who has time for me, and for whom I am not their least important writer. Yet, I don't want to give up potential access to better editors, bigger houses, and more lucrative publishing deals. Agent #1 acted as if he expected I would be showing it to other agents, but I also don't want to delay the process any longer than necessary, and perhaps cause his enthusiasm for me to wane.
So, he was ok to ask out but now that he wants to dance you want to check for better looking dates? Oh wait, middle school flashback, sorry.
Your agent knows he's new. He knows you want Binky to phone you and throw herself at you, followed by Flip, Esther and Andrew Wylie.
If that happens, take good notes, you can dine out on that story for years.
You have an agent who likes your work. You can query till the cows come home but you simply may not get any other offers. Binky et al are busy with very very high powered clients who have lots of deals going, and agents like that don't take on a lot of new talent every year.
When I offer someone representation, I give them my best pitch and then I give them a month. If they haven't gotten back to me, I email them once, ask if they've made a decision, and if the answer is anything but "yes Im on the Snark Tobaggon team" I figure it's no, and move on.
And I do move on. I need to sell stuff to keep my sled greased and Killer Yapp looking better than Kate Moss. That means if you aren't on the team now, I'm going to go find the next guy who will be. If you come back in a month, I may very well have room, but maybe not. I can only run a certain number of active projects at a time, and I've learned the hard way that no one is happy when I'm feeling like I've got too much to do and clients aren't getting all the attention they deserve.
A more established agent might, MIGHT, get you a better deal. There's no way to know. And you can't phrase your choice that way, cause that's not the choice you have. Your choice right now is: 1. sign with this guy now OR 2. hold off, query others, hope for another offer and failing that go back and hope guy #1 is still available.
Bottom line: if you think you can get higher up the food chain , have at it, but you better hustle your bustle cause no one is going to hold off the fiddler waiting for you to get in the dance line.