Dear Miss Snark-
In reading about agents in various publications, I've noticed that the listings include a percentage listed of how many authors agents represent that are unpublished or new. From a new author's perspective, do we want this number to be high because it says how willing they are to take a chance with a new author, or do we want it to be low because it represents how many of their clients that they can't place with a publisher? I've never been sure how to view it.
Thanks for your blog and the time you take to answer our questions.
I think you should ignore that figure unless it's zero.
Searching for an agent is NOT like doing your geometry homework (and before you get all ew ew ew, Miss Snark loves math and wishes you did too) wherein you work the problem till x = 1.
There are only three absolutes to determine:
1. is the agent legit (ie verified sales)
2. are they open to new writers
3. do they represent the kind of work you do
You start looking for agents that have more than 50% new writers and you'll miss some darn good agents who may really like your stuff. I've said this before; it's worth repeating:
The worst thing that can happen is you'll hear a lot of no. Well, join the club. I hear that every day of the week, twice on Sunday, and that's just from Mr. Clooney's doorman.