Friday, February 20, 2009

Agent Recommendation

I get asked a lot if, after a rejection, I have a recommendation for another agent who might be a better candidate for the book. I also get asked in the “real world” if I have recommendations for agents of children’s books, science fiction, or other genres I don’t represent. And sadly, the answer is almost always no.

Let’s put it this way: it’s a very, very rare occasion that I will recommend another agent, and when I do it’s only because I knew the minute I read the work that it would be a perfect fit for someone else, at which point I’ll tell you in my initial rejection letter. For the most part, though, all agents are swamped with queries and submissions and it’s rare that I know exactly what other agents are looking for and that what I’ve read is a fit for one specific person. In addition to that, I really feel that if you’ve done your homework and are submitting in a smart professional manner, you’ll hit that agent anyway.

The other thing to consider is that if I was really wowed by it I’m going to offer myself, which means I really wasn’t wowed enough to recommend the work to editors, and therefore not wowed enough to recommend it to other agents. They are all my colleagues and I would only send them work that knocks my socks off.

As for agents outside of the genres I represent, frankly, I don’t know that many and I certainly don’t know their specific wants, needs or tastes.

So, while it can’t hurt you to ask for a recommendation, it’s unlikely you’ll get one from me.