Can I just say how happy/relieved I was to see this posted up by BookEnds Agent Jessica Faust?
In all the months I’ve been querying agents, I’ve usually found that their submission guidelines were pretty fair and well thought out. I know that their job is tough. I know that the slush pile is never ending. I know that the time they have to offer towards aspiring writers is limited and their already-acquired-clients take precedence, as they should. I know, I know I know, I know, I KNOW!!!
However, I’ve come across a stipulation on some agent blogs that, at first, made my brow furrow. I’d submit anyway.
As time goes by, rejections come in and the hunt for a love connection continues. I come across the same agencies, the same stipulation and the frown turns into a grimace.
What is this stipulation, you ask?
It’s the ‘If you receive a rejection, please do not query another agent at this agency with the same project. A ‘no’ from one is a ‘no’ from all.’
Now, I can understand not querying two agents within the same agency simultaneously. That’s just common courtesy.
Nor do I believe that you should query the same project in its current state to another agent within the agency as soon as you receive your rejection. I’d take a good look at your project and the query letter when you receive a certain number of rejections before even considering resubmitting it anywhere.
And I absolutely agree you’ve got to do your research and know who you’re targeting. However, if that agent passed on the project a couple months ago and your ms has since seen some substantial renovations- shouldn’t you be able to submit it to a different agent within the agency who might be better suited? Especially if there are two or more agents with similar pasts and preferences and it was a hard choice to begin with as to which one to query.
When one agent rejects a project, they say it could be for a variety of reasons but the one that they most often address is that ‘it’s a matter of falling in love with the idea and then the project itself.’ Now, if we all fell in love with the same kind of man, Jude Law would have to buy stalk in restraining orders. (Okay, maybe does….But you know what I’m trying to say.)
Most agencies and rejection letters say something along the lines of ‘This is a highly subjective business and another agent may feel very differently.’
If this business is indeed subjective than how can one agent decide for everyone in their agency whether or not a project is worth looking at? Do they have some kind of Avatar mind meld that we know nothing about?? Or perhaps they consider it’s the price we must pay for having chosen the wrong agent to query within their agency to begin with.
I myself find it hard to believe that of the five to twenty different agents working for the same agency- each and every one of them look at a cup and see it half empty. That all of them agree the grass is greener on the other side and that the whole third floor is convinced that the Mona Lisa follows you with her eyes.
I thought the thing agents take most pride in is their ability to see something in a project and a writer. To be the first to see it. To discover something. To help create a final product that will touch the numbers. To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before…
In order to do this, they’ve got to have their own mind, their own eye, their own pasts, preferences, and ideas. I think refusing to look at a project because another agent in their agency has R-ed it is not only unfair to the querier, but unfair to themselves.
Just my two cents. **Creepy steps down from the overturned laundry basket**. Thank you all for coming. Pamphlets are by the door. Next meeting’s at the Hank’s Dairy Bar parking lot. Your golden coins will vibrate if I need you.