Q01: Agent Acquisition

(This question is part of a larger subseries called Perpetual WIPs: Agented Writers. For the remaining questions, see here.)

How did you get your agent – traditional querying, contest, referral, or some other way entirely?


I won a 1st chapter crit contest from one of my agent’s clients. Said client loved what she read and sent it to my agent, who in turn said she wanted to read more. So when I was ready to query, I queried her first with her client’s referral. I’m always cautious when telling people this though b/c I made sure to confirm with her that had I simply cold queried, she would have requested my manuscript anyway. So while the referral was AMAZING, traditional querying would have also worked for me.


Good old fashion querying.


I got my agent through a combination of factors, actually. We had been casual friends on the internets for about a year before I’d even started querying, and I ended up getting scouted quite a bit by a number of agents who knew me or of me, had seen my website and read the query that was posted there. They asked me to query or send partials or just send them the whole darn book. (People had told me this happened, but I didn’t really believe them until the fourth or fifth time that it happened to me.)

My agent was one of these – I sent along a query, synopsis (ugh), and 3 chapters. She was an assistant agent at the time, not yet able to take on her own clients, but she was enthusiastic about the project (like, way enthusiastic) even though the agency eventually ended up passing.

A few months later she called me to say that her promotion to Associate Agent had come unexpectedly early, that she hadn’t been able to get my ms out of her head, and that she wanted to sign me and the project.


Traditional querying (three writers gave this exact same response)


I got my agent through a contest before I’d actually started querying the manuscript. She requested a partial through the contest and I signed with her a couple of weeks later.


I think the most queries I had out at one time was 7. When I got all those back with the same general response about how the voice didn’t click with the reader and the beginning was too slow I quit sending out and revised. My feeling is that, sure, there are tons of agents out there, but only ONE is the right one for me. I’d hate to blow my opportunity with that agent by sending them something that isn’t ready. So, I’m a very cautious querier. I’m feeling my way through the process with a lot of patience so that I can get it right.


Querying Couch, definitely. Oh wait, that wasn’t one of the options? Um. Okay really, just normal querying. I actually queried a different agent at the agency and she pulled me out of slush, but after reading the MS thought it wasn’t right for her but would be right for another agent at the agency, so passed it along. But in short, traditional querying.


Contest. My first stab at entering one!


I was querying and contesting and the two converged with multiple offers. The agent I signed with was a traditional slush pile query.


Straight from the slush pile- I had queried her months before but hadn’t heard anything. I nudged her when I received another offer of rep and she responded right away to request my full. She offered the next day.


Through meeting at a conference and then following up with a traditional query. I found that the in-person meeting really helped set us off on the right foot for a friendly dialogue both through emails and twitter. I already knew what my agent was about and she knew my approach to things already.


Between contests and traditional querying, that’s a whole lotta slush success! Tell us, how’d you get your agent?


1 thought on “Q01: Agent Acquisition”

  1. I was one of the 25 queries assigned to her for critique on WOC’s Luck o’ the Irish forum. She gave a great critique, mentioning how much she loved the premise. A couple days later she emailed me asking for the partial. A few days after that, the full. While she considered the full, another agent offered representation. I let her know and within days she offered too. 🙂

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