Banks, Speed-Dating & Finding an Agent


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Thread: Banks, Speed-Dating & Finding an Agent

  1. #1
    WF Veteran Riis Marshall's Avatar
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    Banks, Speed-Dating & Finding an Agent

    Hello Folks

    My last post to this forum, Self-publishing or Traditional Bricks and Mortar? generated a lively and positive debate about the meaning of life, the universe and everything.

    It got me thinking:

    Think about banks: we walk into a bank and we have to beg and plead with them to let us spend our money and buy stuff from them. We are the customers but bankers, being bankers, have created a culture that works the other way round.

    And haven't agents done exactly the same thing?
    We are prospective customers: we want to buy stuff from them - we want them to do things for which we will pay them. But they seem to have been able to reverse this in precisely the same way bankers have.

    So:

    Unpublished authors of the world, unite!

    Let's get together and set up open days - tasters - where agents can come and sit down with us across the table, show us their CVs, and convince us they are the ones to represent us.

    We might even set up something similar to a speed-dating evening where a number of us sit at tables and, one-on-one, each agent has three minutes to convince us she or he is the one to whom we should give our money. Then every three minutes a bell rings and another agent sits down at our table.

    We probably have about as much chance of changing the present state of affairs as we do of changing the banking system.

    We can only hope.

    Thanks for listening.

    All the best with your writing.

    Warmest regards
    Riis
    All writing is practise for the writing that follows.
    If it jams, force it; if it breaks, it needed replacing anyhow.
    If you like intelligent contemporary conspiracy thrillers, you may want to check out The Bureau of Happiness
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  2. #2
    Unpublished authors of the world, unite!

    Let's get together and set up open days - tasters - where agents can come and sit down with us across the table, show us their CVs, and convince us they are the ones to represent us.

    We might even set up something similar to a speed-dating evening where a number of us sit at tables and, one-on-one, each agent has three minutes to convince us she or he is the one to whom we should give our money. Then every three minutes a bell rings and another agent sits down at our table.

    We probably have about as much chance of changing the present state of affairs as we do of changing the banking system.

    We can only hope.

    Thanks for listening. Agents don't come to writers, writers come to agents.

    All the best with your writing.

    Warmest regards
    Riis
    Its the other way around usually. Agents don't come to writers. Writers come to agents. Any good editor can find within a couple of sentences whether you're a good writer or not. Yes, good manuscripts do get thrown to the side, but most good ones don't. So I don't see the idea of a group of unpublished authors coming together to attract agents a real possibility. It could work though. You never know.
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    i personally want an agent because it's a service i need. i'm not good at self-promotion or really interacting at all with the "business" side of life.
    i don't like it. it irritates me. i'd rather pay someone to handle that crap for me. (now, if i could only get one)

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Riis Marshall View Post

    And haven't agents done exactly the same thing?
    We are prospective customers: we want to buy stuff from them - we want them to do things for which we will pay them. But they seem to have been able to reverse this in precisely the same way bankers have.
    Agents are more like gamblers. They take the stories, find one they think will pay off big and invest time and energy into it. If the book does well, they reap 10% of the rewards.
    If you ever need a second set of eyes on your work, PM me for a critique! I'm happy to help Hidden Content

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    Quote Originally Posted by bookmasta View Post
    Its the other way around usually. Agents don't come to writers. Writers come to agents. Any good editor can find within a couple of sentences whether you're a good writer or not. Yes, good manuscripts do get thrown to the side, but most good ones don't. So I don't see the idea of a group of unpublished authors coming together to attract agents a real possibility. It could work though. You never know.
    yeah. we need them more than they need us, really. i mean...it's not like we're a bunch of mexican fruit farm laborers.

  6. #6
    Like any commission based job, since they only have time to promote a finite number of manuscripts/authors, they are looking for authors they think they can sell. Makes perfect sense. So you have to sell yourself to someone else who will sell you because you aren't good at selling yourself. Gah!


  7. #7
    WF Veteran Riis Marshall's Avatar
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    Hello Folks

    I started this thread knowing it would change nothing, simply to make the point.

    PM me please, if you wish, for a couple of examples of prospective agents who, even though they claimed in their Writers' & Artists' Yearbook listing to be interested in unpublished authors, did not even read my covering letter let alone my work. This is somewhat contrary to several comments here about how an agent will respond according to whether she or he thinks your project can be turned into a profitable book.

    TK: in response to your comment: 'I'd be taller if I weren't so short.'

    I think my point, though, should be kept in mind when we newbies are agent-hunting: we are the customers, not the other way round.

    All the best with your writing.

    Warmest regards
    Riis
    All writing is practise for the writing that follows.
    If it jams, force it; if it breaks, it needed replacing anyhow.
    If you like intelligent contemporary conspiracy thrillers, you may want to check out The Bureau of Happiness
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    how do you know they didn't read your query? i mean...i sent my query out to many agents and many didn't respond. some did.
    many publishers are like this, too. they just don't have time to respond to the thousands of queries and manuscripts they get.
    but i think they read it, or at least enough of it to know they weren't interested in it. all i know is i'll try to draw their interest better
    next time. i'm not gonna blame them if they didn't think my work was good enough. they know what they can sell better than i do.

  9. #9
    WF Veteran Riis Marshall's Avatar
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    Hello Dale

    For the email submission, the salutation on their rejection message was: 'Dear Mary,' rather than: 'Dear Riis,' because the email address I used was my wife's that begins mary***. If they couldn't get my name right I think I'm safe in assuming they didn't even look at the covering email message; they just hit 'Reply' and pasted in their standard rejection message.

    For the paper submission, the postal address they used for the rejection letter was the return address on the outside of my original envelope which was slightly different from my address on my covering letter. I think I'm safe in assuming they never even opened the envelope.

    I don't have a problem with rejections; that's an expected part of the process. I can accept: 'Dear Riis, I think your project is well written but it doesn't fit well into my schedule for this year.' I can accept: 'Dear Riis, Your project doesn't fit well into my schedule for this year.' I can even grudgingly accept: 'Dear Riis, I think this is a load of codswallop and I'm not interested,' or: 'Dear Riis, don't give up your day job.'

    What doesn't make sense to me is why they would go through the trouble of inviting my submission through their listing in the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook then not bother to take even a cursory look at it.

    All the best with your writing.

    Warmest regards
    Riis
    All writing is practise for the writing that follows.
    If it jams, force it; if it breaks, it needed replacing anyhow.
    If you like intelligent contemporary conspiracy thrillers, you may want to check out The Bureau of Happiness
    Hidden Content

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    never been to the place. maybe try agentquery or querytracker...

    http://www.agentquery.com/

    http://www.querytracker.net/

    but i have had publishers and agents use my email name instead of my real name. that's basically just a form rejection and how it works.
    i don't see why you're mailing your queries, instead of emailing them. i know there are a couple of agents that SAY they only take mailed
    queries....but what you find out is that they DO take email ones, and they only say that to trim their slushpile. but anyway, good luck to ya.

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