When Multiple Agents Are Interested
A writer asked:
If there are two or more agents interested in representing me, how do I make my decision? I’ve heard it can be better in some cases for a less established author to go with a younger or newer agent — is this true? What other factors would you consider?
First, a Conversation
It starts with talking to each of them on the phone. You’ll definitely want one or two calls in which you can chat, ask questions, and get a general feel for who they are and how they communicate. Find out how they work, who they’d expect to be pitching your project to, and how close they think your manuscript is to being ready to submit. Get a feel for the other clients they represent and what kind of a track record they have for selling books to legitimate publishers. (You may want to read my posts “Getting the Call” and “Questions to Ask an Agent.”)
Check ’em Out
You’ll also want to do your due diligence in finding out whatever else you can. Read their blogs, websites and Twitter feeds; Google their names to find online interviews or articles; check Writer Beware and Preditors and Editors to make sure there are no red flags. If you have access to Publishers Marketplace, look the agents up to see what kind of deals they’ve done recently.
Some people even like to “check references” by talking to some of the agent’s current clients. Many authors have blogs/websites with contact information and you can write them asking if they’d mind being a reference for the agent.
Newer Isn’t Always Better
Some people advise that a younger or newer agent might be a better fit for a new author, and this can be true, but I don’t think you can make your decision based on a generality like this. Try to choose the person who is the best fit for you.
While you may be excited and want to make your decision quickly, I recommend you take your time and do as much investigating as necessary first. You should be able to find out everything you need to know within a few days… then put those agents out of their misery and tell them your decision!
© 2011 Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent