Monday, March 12, 2012

New Agents at BookEnds

When an author is considering Bookends LLC, should the disparity between levels of experience between the agents play a major part, or can she trust that even a new agent at your agency will have the support and expertise of the other more experienced agents behind her? Is it all right to query the new acquiring agents even if you have already queried other agents at Bookends LLC, since that agent was not available to query (or have the query referred to them) at the time of the original query?

As someone who, at one time, was just starting out, either as an editorial assistant or a new agent, I'm a strong believer in "new blood." In fact, even today I seek out smart new assistants to submit to. They are hungry, they have time on their hands, and they are excited to work with new authors and promote those new authors to the people who make the decisions. The same holds true of new agents. They are excited to build a list, hungry to add new authors to their list and, if I can be so bold as to speak for the "new" people at BookEnds, incredibly smart.

I think there's no doubt that experience can play a role in how an agent operates, but so can an agent's personality. When selecting an agent at any agency I think it's more important to look at how that agent works and how well you communicate. A new agent at any agency has the backing of the agency's name and the experience of the other agents to rely on. We work very closely at BookEnds. We discuss proposals, manuscripts, submission strategies, editors, authors, and even revision suggestions with each other. I have a ton of faith in the people I work with and each of them has their own set of strengths. It's amazing how the opinion of one, and the experiences of one, can help all of us.

When sending out your submission to any agent I wouldn't discount the new or the younger agents. In fact, I would look at them first. They are the people who have the time to take chances and are looking to grow a list. Agents who have been around for a long time tend to be pickier because they can be. They don't have as much time to take a rough project and spend time working to build on the potential they see. And yes, they will always have the support of the others within the agency.

And yes, feel free to query other agents within the agency even if you've already queried someone. The worst that can happen is a pass.



Emma Cunningham said...

Interesting that you allow authors to query other agents at the same agency. Do you not pass along manuscripts that you feel would be a better fit for someone else?

Meg E Dobson said...

This article was very helpful, and it falls in line with what I have assumed to be true. Plus, I'd like to think that my work could help a new agent grow!

Still, it is difficult to obtain those newer agents' names and emails. Publisher's Marketplace often trails and many agencies have a lag time as well.

Do you have suggestions on where to find their names, blogs and information on what they are looking for in a manuscript and a prospective author? Perhaps what writer's conferences they plan to attend?

As always, thank you for your advice. There is something comforting about an agent who begins her day with thoughts for 'newbies'.

Julie Daines said...

I love this advice. Thank you so much.

Martha Ramirez said...

Thank you so much for this, Jessica! Awesome advice!!

Good question, whoever asked.

Kate Douglas said...

For what it's worth, Jessica was brand new when I first queried her. Looking back, I honestly wonder if she would sign me now if I were to query her that same letter, which was absolutely horrible! I really was clueless, but she must have seen something that caught her attention--or, because she was still building her client list, she was more willing to take a chance on an unknown. Point being, I took a chance, but so did the agent, and we were lucky enough that it worked. She hasn't resorted to blocking my emails, at any rate. Yet. :-)

Tracy Campbell said...

Hi Jessica:

I've been following your blog for sometime and I appreciate the time and effort it takes.

I was glad to hear that new writers should not be afraid to submit to new agents.

For Meg E. Dobson, check out This is a great website that lists agents and their websites. It's quite interactive. You can write notes after researching agents. There is also another website you might be interested in. It's

And Jessica, your agency BookEnds,LLC is listed on Query Tracker as are you.

Thank you again,
Tracy Campbell

Bonnee Crawford said...

Everyone started off as 'new blood' and the only reason anyone has experience is because someone decided to give them a chance when they began. So it's also important to have a little faith in the newbies and give them a chance.

Traci Kenworth said...

Good post!!