Friday, May 23, 2014

5 Agent Insights

I'm continuing with sharing some of the tidbits I picked up when attending the Pennwriters conference. One session I attended, How to Succeed for Writers: Agent Insights and Tips, was led by Marie Lamba and Roseanne Wells, both of the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency. You'll notice I only have five things to share from the hour long presentation. Both agents were energetic and interesting speakers but in this workshop, they spent all their time talking and allowed little time for questions.

Here is what they shared about their particular agency.

1. Make sure you know what the agent wants to represent. I think we'll all heard this before. Do your research before submitting.

2. On the other hand, at their particular agency if they receive something they think another agent in their company would like, they will pass it around the office.

3. Speaking as if it was a pet peeve, both agents warned writers to make sure you use professional salutations on all correspondence including email.

4. They do expect you to have a social media presence before you contact them. They shared that if they were considering two different projects of equal appeal, they would chose to represent the writer who had an established online profile.

5. Another recommendation from the agents was for a writers to educate themselves on the entire process of a book going from submission to publication. This would help the writer be patient during the sometimes lengthy times between contract and actual book release.

Not a lot of WOW information to be shared here. I think there might have been if there had been a chance for more questions.

Do you write emails with the same professional manner as a snail mail letter? What question might you have asked these agents if given the opportunity? Would you have found this presentation interesting or would you have been on Twitter like I was during some of it?


  1. Never knew agents used social media presence as a deciding factor sometimes. Interesting!

  2. It disappoints me that things have evolved to such a degree that an amazing piece of work can't succeed on it's own...that the author has to have a dedicated "online presence." It is what it is I know, the subject has been done to death, but it just encapsulates how distracted we are as a society...everything starts it seems, with an online snippet. It's all about tweets. Oh for the days readers just went to the bookstore and browsed, and writers sat at their desks and...wrote!

  3. Someone in the audience needed to hear it though.

  4. Seems all straight forward enough, but yeah some people can't get it through their heads.

  5. So these agents just wanted to dish the rules, not interact? The more these incidents happen, the more we see the writing on the wall.

    I'd have been disappointed in spending money for little return, and the fact that you knew they were peeved says a lot about their professionalism.

  6. These are rules to be followed, but as you say they're not new. However, maybe they will be to someone just starting out.

    Did anyone ask which book they'd turned down only to have to take off under the guidance of another agent? I like those kinds of questions. :-)

  7. Sounds like something for newbs to hear but a bit boring, otherwise.

    Like cleemckenzie, I'd be interested to hear what they turned down, and more so, was it a success elsewhere.

  8. Certainly nothing new there....

    Most writers today have some sort of on-line presences. I'd be shocked if they didn't.

    I'm not impressed with that agency. No interaction at all? That is saying a lot about them.

    Have a great weekend, Susan!

  9. That's not the first time I've heard that a social media presence can tip the scales. I get why (exposure means sales), but I still think it's regretful. I guess I would have asked if we should be including our profiles in our queries. I include my blog, which has links to my other social media profiles, but that's it. Given, I'm just querying short stories now. And, yes, I always use a professional salutation, and have spent quite a bit of time researching editor names at publications to figure out who to address them to.

  10. I agree with Liza's comment. I think so much talent will be missed these days due to the need for an established online presence, because not everyone is comfortable with blogging or using twitter in that manner.

  11. I was already familiar with most of what they had to say but like others, I think it's too bad authors are 'required' to have an on-line presence, at least by this agency.

  12. Yup, most of that stuff is familiar, but that's because I've done plenty of research, and attended a workshop like that before. Maybe for a newcomer, it would be more helpful?

    As for the phone presence requirement... Well, like it or not, it is the reality these days, so I figure I'd better get used to it!

  13. I have all that. I quit querying around 2005 because I had enough rejections to wallpaper our ensuite. Now I have 3 published novels with small independent publishers, so I I guess all I need is some courage to try again. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I do want to be famous and filfthy rich during the week. But not on the weekends.

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