Pub Rants

The Usual Suspects

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STATUS: I’m having weather shock. It snowed lightly this morning in Denver. Such fond memories of the beach…

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? LEAVING LAS VEGAS by Sheryl Crow

On Friday, I was reading through the daily emails from Deal Lunch to see what sold this past week. And sure enough, I saw the deal for a YA project that I just loved, offered rep, but the author went with another agent. Project went at auction too! I could have called that. *grin*

Obviously with the posting of the deal, I got to find out who the author had chosen. And drat if it wasn’t a usual suspect. There are certain names that just keep reoccurring if the author doesn’t choose me. If I love a project and offer rep, I can almost always name the other 6 possible YA agents I’m probably up against. We just have the same tastes. And they are all great agents so talk about stiff competition. But since they are all so terrific, I don’t lose sleep over it. If you are going to lose out, lose out to the best. At least I saw the project.

I bet this happens to editors too. They don’t win an auction and they find out who else participated and I bet they run into the same reoccurring names all the time as well.

But darn those usual suspects…

18 Responses

  1. Meagan Spooner said:

    I sometimes try to imagine life as an agent, and I usually end up thinking that this exact situation would be one of the most frustrating aspects of it. You wade through so many queries, partials, and fulls, most of which aren’t right, and then when you finally find the one that is, it ends up in the hands of another agent.

    I’m not sure I could handle that kind of frustration! Better facing the rejection frustration on the writer’s end. 😛

  2. mt si dad said:

    I promise you that when I send you my query letter I’ll let you have access to the work for a period of time.

    Now if I can just finish the YA novel I’m working on…

  3. Anonymous said:

    Okay, now you’ve got us all asking: WTF are these other agents?

    (I wouldn’t blame you if you declined. ;-))

  4. Jacqui Pirl said:

    Just taknig a guess here, but after researching Y/A sold last week on PMP, was it Katie McGarry’s REDEFINING NORMAL?

    “Two teens, the school bad boy and a former member of the girls “in-crowd”, are brought together by their court-ordered therapist and are determined to discover the secrets of their case files but neither foresaw the shattering consequences of learning the truth regarding their families or of falling in love.

    Like the previous poster, I wouldn’t say no to NLA!

  5. Anonymous said:

    You politely declined the golden oppt’y to rep me, and yet I suspect I also signed with one of the usual suspects.

  6. Ted Cross said:

    This makes me sad in a way. When we query we try to imagine that we have several hundred good possible agents to get to, but we always worry that the true number is far less.

  7. Buffy Andrews said:

    I think competition is good. Keeps everyone on their toes and doing their best. But you can’t beat yourself up when you lose. We can’t win all of the time and when we do, our losses make it that much sweeter. Blessings and peace, Buffy

  8. Kevin Spacey said:

    I second the request to learn the rest of the suspects. Just say it aint Kaiser Soze…;)

    I also feel the need to immortalize my word ver: Butspork

  9. Peace, Lena and Happiness said:

    it’s probably unethical to give out the names, guys. just saying. but it’s reading things like this that make me think, why even query? if it’s that hard to find an agent, what are chances i could convince someone in eight sentences that my book is worth publishing?

  10. Surprised shy long term reader said:

    Uh Folks, with all due respect to Kristin who is more than capable of answering for herself and it is after all, her blog, I just want to step up and offer a supportive block to bang her head on. Asking ‘can you name the other six’ is like going to sell your car at a local dealer and when he says that’s his top offer on your car you say, “ok, but can you name me some other local dealers who you think will offer me more?” Or asking an independent shop owner if Costco or Walmart sell the same thing for cheaper. There is so much free advice here on this blog that we are spoilt, spoilt, spoilt by its generosity. But it’s almost rude (in my opinion) to ask, can you give away specific information on your competitors? It’s still business and she’s not in it just one-sidedly for us. If we don’t know who the other top agents are in the genre of books that we are writing, we have to do the leg work to find out. Maybe I’m wrong and Kristin can happily ‘give out the list’ but I think I’d eat my Mac mouse in surprise. Let’s not be fooled by friendliness and generosity of free industry information – not everything is on special offer. We need to look ourselves to find the discount coupons for competing providers too.

  11. bbtaylor said:

    I agree with not giving out the list. It’s much more fun to prowl through the PM deals and try to figure out which one is similar to Kristin’s current list.

    Also agreed that we all take Kristin’s generosity with publishing info for granted 🙂

    Personal story to share–If you haven’t checked out her posts on how to write a rocking query, you should do so right away. I was blessed enough to attend the in person version of this that she taught at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference last August.

    Testimonial: That class got me out of Slush Pile Hell. 20 queries, 4 requests for more and 1 offer for representation.

    Thank you Kristin! I’d write you a Thank You email but I figure your box has got to be full enough already.

  12. starkalicious said:

    I think there’s a better way to look at this post. View it as encouragement! The internet – and even Kristin’s blog – has lots of ‘doom-and-gloom’ stats about how only tiny percentages of queries are even considered for the next stage. It’s enough to get an aspiring writer’s hopes down. On the other hand, this post shows that if you can write a great novel [and a comparably good query letter] you get to be on the other side of the table and pick from a list of people who want you.

    Thanks, Kristin!

  13. cheesebk said:

    It’s always so fascinating how people think they can come to a blog and be disrespectful just because they can leave their comments as Anonymous.

    Would you come into someone’s office and demand to hand out those lists? Would you go up to someone in person and insult him/her because they chose not to work with you?
    And if you answer these questions with yes, then why do you hide behind Anonymous to voice your opinion?

    I find this blog highly informative and helpful, even though I don’t even WANT to send out any queries yet. Kristen is in no obligation to offer information for free. She does. Let’s not sully it by being disrespectful.

  14. Carmen said:

    … If you’re doing your homework properly and your novel is actually something up Kristin Nelson’s alley, then chances are you’re already querying “the usual suspects” as well.