Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What Gives You Pause?

As I trudge through my love/hate relationship with Query Hell, I read a lot of posts/comments/blogs while doing my research. I’ve moved beyond the wide-eyed aspiring author who only wants someone to love my work and take it on. I’m now the author who asks, “Are you the best person for my novel?”

Now, there are glaring reasons why one would say no to an agent:

They charge fees.
They have an editorial business that they push on rejected authors.
They have a known history of unprofessional behavior.
They have bad reviews from other clients/submitters. *This is why scrolling writer’s forums are so invaluable.*

While there are many more reasons to remove an agent from your list, (which happens to be the question all searching authors should ask, “Do you deserve to be on my list?”), what this post is about is what gives you pause?

I’m talking about the little things that aren’t the obvious reasons to say no, but may raise a red flag.

For example, I was researching an agent the other day and couldn’t find much information about the agent online. I kept going to the sparse website rereading everything posted. I kept looking for different ways to Google said agent, and reading what little information I found. Then I saw the agent’s email address. It was through AOL.

Is this a reason to keep the agent off my list? Not necessarily. Does it seem odd that an agent—who has been in the business for several years—doesn’t have an email address linked to their business? Little bit, yeah. The AOL address was enough to give me pause, and on its own probably wouldn’t be enough to keep the agent off my list. But combine that with the lack of information, and this agent didn’t make it on my list.

So tell me, have you come across something while researching an agent that made you pause and rethink sending them your query? Was it so-so feedback from other authors? Typos on their webpage? Or comments made on their blog that rubbed you the wrong way?


Tere Kirkland said...

Great post, Karen! Yeah, when I was querying, I did a lot of research.

One of the biggies for me was to check what books the agent has sold to publishing houses. If there were no sales (and I saw quite a few of these), I wouldn't submit to that agent. Let someone more desperate be their guinea pig.

Karen Denise said...

LOL. Yeah, that was one of my red flags too. I know a lot of agents don't keep Publisher's Marketplace up to date, but their own site should be pretty accurate.

Jai Joshi said...

That kind of thing does give one pause, doesn't it? I mean, why don't they have a website? and why is there so little about them online. I'm always wary when I notice stuff like that. If I have to spend more than a few minutes looking for an agent online then I cross them off my list of possibilities and move on.