Pub Rants

My 8 New Clients And Where They Came From

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STATUS: Oh baby. Ally Carter is still on! This week, CROSS MY HEART AND HOPE TO SPY is at #5 on the New York Times hardcover list and I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU is #2 on the NYT paperback list. Do I see #1 in our future? I’m praying for it!

What’s playing on the iPod right now? YOU GOT LUCKY by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

I’m really starting this year on a roll. I just took on a new client today. With that in mind, it occurred to me that I didn’t really explain how I found the 8 new clients from last year and that info might make for an interesting blog. Or not. Let me know.

If the client has already sold, I used his/her name.

Brooke Taylor—young adult
Brooke is an interesting story. I actually met her in person at an RWA chapter conference a year before she queried me with her novel UNDONE. She knew a couple of my authors and had mentioned that info as well as our previous meeting in her query letter. That certainly made me pay more attention to it when it came in.

Sarah Rees Brennan—young adult fantasy
Sarah simply sent a query letter by email—going through our standard email query submission process.

Jamie Ford—literary fiction
Jamie did the same.
Helen Stringer—middle grade fantasy
Helen came to me via an agent friend recommendation. My agent friend doesn’t rep middle-grade so she asked me if she could send this author my way. So glad she did!

Client 5—young adult
This client is a currently published author who had left her previous agent. She knew several of my clients and asked if they would give me a heads up that she would query me about new representation.

Client 6—young adult fantasy
I met this client at the Surrey International Writers Conference in Vancouver, B.C. She had a pitch appointment with me. I loved her title right off so was eager to see sample pages just based on that. She didn’t disappoint!

Client 7—young adult
This client was a direct referral from one of my current clients. She is previously published in the adult world but her agent didn’t want to handle children’s on her behalf so I took her on.

Client 8—women’s fiction
This client was also a direct referral from one of my current clients.

I’m so glad my clients know really great authors who are looking for representation. It certainly helps to have that referral to help you get the agent’s attention, but it’s not the only way. A really good or intriguing query letter or pitch can do the trick as well.

19 Responses

  1. Music Critic said:

    I’m a fan of Tom Petty and the boys, but not this song. It’s okay, not great and gets ranked accordingly. #5

  2. dingle, the other reindeer said:

    AR- try not to do the casual query thing on an agent’s blog. It’s considered in horribly poor taste, since they are horribly busy folks, and the rest of the blog-addicts are likely to chastise you. After all, they’ve spent many months kissing the agent’s ass in the interest of getting their own queries a little extra attention. You’re horning in on their racket.

  3. Betty Blogger said:

    So two out of eight went the traditional query route and hit gold. Good for them. The rest (with the exception of the one with a great title- way to buy into a work on the merit of the work… choosing to look at something because of three or four words is a dynamite way of going about choosing an author, BTW) had inside tracks of one kind or another. I guess if we don’t know a published author or an agent we’re SOL. Salud.

  4. AR said:

    Thanks for the heads-up, dingle. I’m so far from being ready to publish my mess of a story that I thought it would be obvious my question wasn’t a sales pitch. And I know Agent Kristin is busy, that’s why I addressed my question to the readers.

    So to rephrase the question without discussing any details about the actual story: how do I know that my kid’s story at its present length and age level fits into any particular market? Is there some guide to figuring out whether I need to reconceive it as either older or younger?

  5. thunder woman said:

    Shut up, Betty, I’m trying to get noticed with good titles, don’t ruin it for those of us who can string together 2-4 words, but can’t write worth a shit.

    “The Stone Door” Sounds forbidding, doesn’t it?

    “High Heels, Martinis & Werewolves” Guess what it’s about? You got it! Oversexed lycanthropes!

    “The Diary of Wendy” Well, it’s just kind of Wendy’s diary. But she’s hot, and kind of a slut.

    “Odor of Fear” It’s a thriller. The working title was “Smell of Fear”, but odor sounded scarier.

    “Undercover Housewife”
    “The Man Outside the Moon”
    “Teasing Death in Pittsburgh”
    “Cantaloupe Soup”
    “Louisiana Fire”


  6. Anonymous said:

    You know, Betty, you can always get to know published authors. It’s not hard these days. They have webpages, blogs, and forums.

    And they like it when you e-mail them and say, “I loved your book!”

  7. Betty Blogger said:

    So in other words, my anonymous friend, I shouldn’t kiss an agent’s ass, I should go to a published author’s blog and kiss his ass! Brilliant idea. If you ask me, there’s too much asskissing going on in cyberspace. And really, do we really know anyone we meet here? I mean, dateless e-harmony losers aside.

  8. Mommy with a past said:

    Given that you had 30,000 queries in 2007 and only signed two authors via that route, the odds of landing an agent without being referred appear quite dismal.

    However, I believe it’s better to know than to not know, so thanks for sharing the info.

  9. Anonymous said:

    I think the blog readers here need to read a little more carefully. Only four of the new clients Kristin mentioned were referred by other agents or existing clients. The other four got her attention all on their own. Yes, two of them met her at a conference first, but if their pitches were good enough to interest her, it’s likely it would have worked if they’d queried on paper, too (which one did, actually, just mentioning that they had met).

  10. Ally Carter said:

    Hi everyone,

    I came to Kristin through her general query process. In fact, of the published writers I know, almost ALL got their first agent with a regular query, so don’t get discouraged.

    Write a great book. Be professional and persistent, and I firmly believe you’ll find an agent that works for your style.

    There really is no trick, I’m afraid. Just keep writing.

    Best wishes,
    Ally Carter

  11. Getting There With a Passion said:

    Thanks for posting this Kristin, I find it extremely helpful. I’m impressed with the frontage you give your authors.

  12. bran fan said:

    “Brooke Taylor…queried me with her novel UNDONE.”

    I had to read that twice before I figured out that the novel’s title was UNDONE, but that the novel itself was complete when she queried you. At first I thought you meant that her novel was incomplete when she queried you, and that the caps were for emphasis. d’oh! (head slap.)

    Because of course, writers shouldn’t query unfinished novels.

    And it is also unfair to say that the person with the intriguing title sold on the basis of that title alone. If the writing wasn’t good, it would have been rejected even with a good title.

    As Miss Snark used to say, just write well. Quit obsessing.

  13. Jeannie Ruesch said:

    No matter how you access an agent, be it query letter, conference pitch or a well-placed, friend who is a client, your writing still has to be great. No amount of connections will get you an agent or a contract if your book isn’t where it needs to be.

    And Ally, if you’re still perusing this…I just picked up your first book. I’m not usually a YA reader or a reader of books written in first person, but I could not resist getting it! It looks fabulous.

  14. Dana King said:

    Great post, Kristin. I have an agent (alas, no publisher yet), but I still read your blog regularly for industry news and tredns, and to pass along tidbits to members of my writers’ groups who are looking for agents. This will set their minds at ease on a number of points, and should keep a couple of them plugging away.

  15. Anonymous said:

    Hello everyone! I’m just a lurker on this blog (up till now), I love this blog. I hope there is still much hope to find an agent on the basis of queries alone, because I’m an American living overseas in a non-English speaking country, so it is virtually impossible that I could ever meet an English-language agent here. Oh, I just saw the date of this post, well, better commenting late than never heehee!