I mentioned to a relative's wife at a recent wedding that I was hoping to get my novel published. She indicated that her relative by marriage, whom she knows slightly, is X, a very successful agent, and offered to intercede on my behalf but wasn't sure how to proceed. Should I simply ask our mutual acquaintance to alert Agent X that my query is on the way and to be sure to give it a look? And then should I refer to our mutual acquaintance up front in my query? Any other suggestions for maximizing this connection? Thanks.
You're joking right?
This is NOT a connection. This is the first draft of a Robert Altman movie.
Clue: "knows slightly"
Clue: "relative by marriage"
One of the surest ways to look like a nitwit is to mention anything like this. It marks you as hopelessly clue free. It marks you as someone who thinks their writing might need the assistance of an introduction cause it's not compelling enough to stand out on its own.
There is a VERY select list of people who get my attention when they are mentioned in a query.
First on the list is Grandmother Snark. Frankly, she's got carte blanche. She wants me to read the pool boy's astrologist's novel, and I'm on the couch reading right now.
Second is a select list of colleagues. About five. I read everything they send my way cause that's how collegiality works.
Third is any editor I've worked with who has read something and sent the author off to find a good agent.
Fourth are people I've worked with for years in various capacities. There are about six of them.
In other words, the connections that count aren't people who know who I am. They are people I know and have worked with. Until your relative by marriage fits that description, you thank Miss Helpful nicely then sit your happy ass down on the piano bench and tap out Variations in the Key of Clue.
And for you nit pickers in the comments section--thanks.
And for you politicians who think merit counts for 3%--there's a reason you work in politics I guess.
And connections, ie knowing an agent, can certainly warm things up, but it's when YOU have the connection. So, if you go to a conference and meet an agent, of course you mention it. If you meet an agent at the supermarket and you are both ready to hurl after walking by the meat department, mention that splendid detail by all means.
This post was from someone trying to build a bridge between two balloons..not a solid foundation and both parties are trying to escape.