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On Researching and Dealing with Agents

A few days ago I received a query. This morning I had a tweet from someone wanting Jodi Reamer's e-mail and/or web site address. As someone trying to promote agent research, I find these incidences somewhat alarming. Let's have a closer look shall we?

The e-mail:

My first and foremost concern is that this person has an obvious disregard or ignorance of the following: publishing history, previous sales, scams. If said person had done any research, they would have realized I am NOT a literary agent. However, let's say there was a misunderstanding since I do happen to have an e-mail address with the word "agent" in it and do the Agent Spotlights. Even if someone had mistook me for an agent, a quick Google search would have revealed the following: no web site, no Publisher's Marketplace page, not on Preditors and Editors, AAR, or any query-tracking web site, and most importantly, I have ZERO sales to my name. Red flags, people. Huge red flags.

Beyond this, I must assume the author is also disregarding submission requirements. If the writer was following submission requirements, it seems likely he/she would have noticed I have none and am not an agent. On top of this, the query was addressed to "Dear Sir." I may have a gender-neutral name, but again, research would have revealed my name and, I'd like to think, my gender. But don't worry, I did not take offense because we have already deduced there was zero research involved. Tip: You can find an agent's gender on LitMatch.

The tweet:

My first thought was as follows: Google!? My second thought: Maybe this is someone I know and they want some quick information. Though, even that would have been alarming. Shall I repeat myself here? Research the agents you want to query, please! But, on realizing I did not know this person, I clicked over to their profile. What did I find? They are tweeting everyone under the sun (including John Green and Stephanie Meyers) trying to get Jodi Reamer's e-mail address. We must note, if the writer does not even know what web site Jodi Reamer can be found at, we can assume he/she a) does not know Jodi Reamer is with Writer's House, and b) he/she is planning on firing off a cold query with complete disregard to Ms. Reamers submission requirements. Alas, there is more. The writer was tweeting agents asking, "are you an agent?" and tweeting "e-mail me at X if you're interested in X kind of manuscript." Shall I continue? The writer also spelled query wrong in all of his/her tweets and was promoting their novel as "epic" and "fabulous." Can we get a tally on the mistakes here? Anyone?

Honestly, I'm not writing this to poke fun at either person. I would love to see them succeed. However, I am concerned, and I'm feeling an increasing amount of pity for literary agents. I took the time to e-mail both of these writers to suggest they use Querytracker.net, at least, and gave the tweeter a rundown on what he/she was doing that was unprofessional.

Where do we go from here? Look forward to a series of posts on researching and dealing with agents. I know most of my readers know what's what, but maybe we can field a few of these unknowing aspirees and help them. Feel free to put your 2 cents in on the upcoming posts.

14 comments:

  1. Its astounding to me the number of people who don't get it. I have only been researching the industry for a few months now, but its immediately obvious what should and should not be done. Thanks for putting this out there however; its good to remind us all what the wrong way looks like.

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  2. *beats head against wall*

    People like THAT is the reason why people like US are sometimes embarrassed to call ourselves writers.

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  3. Thanks, Eric. You're doing the right thing. You're researching while you're writing and you're asking questions when you don't understand something. That's perfect!

    We all start off as beginners, not knowing a thing about this business, but disregarding the vast amount of information available and the "rules" of publishing will only hurt a person in the long run.

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  4. Beth, ha! Guilt by common craft.

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  5. Wow! I can't actually believe this. It's actually really laughable!

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  6. This is awesome! And I received a query this week too! And I am also NOT a literary agent! LOL.

    I actually like stories like these. It makes me realize how much further ahead of "those" people I am.

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  7. Scar-y! It takes about 5 seconds to find out the info needed.

    It drives me nuts to see people trying to get around researching. It's something you need to do, not just to save evryone a lot of time and trouble on both ends, but more importantly, TO FIND THE BEST FIT FOR YOUR WORK!

    And thank you for what you do. I have an agent now, but man I would have killed for a blog like this that had all the links, testimonials and current info all in one place. You're doing a great job!!

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  8. It's totally crazy, Elana. You probably got yours because of your connection with the QT blog.

    People really need to research better. I can't beleive some are so desperate for representation that they don't care who will do it!

    Thanks a ton, Angela! It is scary. With Querytracker, LitMatch, and all the directories writers have available to them, there really is no excuse for querying random people who *might* be agents.

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  9. Look on the bright side, if you're receiving queries then your web presence must be doing pretty darn well! ;)

    I still don't understand the workings of a lot of these huge mistake-makers. How can someone know who Jodi Reamer is, but not know where she works or take the 1.5 seconds it takes to google her name. It honestly baffles me.

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  10. Tyler, I'd be willing to wager it has a lot to do with John Green and Stephanie Meyers. I know, for example, John Green has mentioned that Jodi Reamer is his agent in at least a couple of his vlogs. That would facilitate a way for fans to know who his agent is and yet have no idea what agency Ms. Reamer works for or anything about the querying process. Also, the acknowledgments in their books.

    I also noticed that Jodi Reamer's info is a tad harder to find than most (but still available), and that's probably because she's inundated with writers hoping to become the next SM.

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  11. This post is HILARIOUS!!! I do think that a series on how to research is a good idea!!!

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  12. Hi Mr. Reemer. My 300,000 word "Fiction Novel" is an epic retelling of the Lord of the Rings meets Twilight. if you do not take a look I think u r missing out on the Next Big Thing.

    Call me.

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