Query Tips from #Askagent

I posted in December about the wonder of Twitter's #PubTip hashtag - a collection of industry insiders and experts sharing thoughts and common mistakes as they come across them. It's an ever moving conversation that you don't even have to take part in to learn from - brilliant for introvert but inexperienced writers.

Well, today's post is a quick homage, if you'll excuse my French, to a slightly different but as widely used tag - #AskAgent.

AskAgent sessions work differently to #PubTip - they're usually slightly more organized (though often still spur of the moment), meaning two or more literary agents get together and agree / announce that they'll be doing an #askagent for a certain time. Then, you just Tweet your questions about agents' habits, preferences, industry standards, submissions, etc., to them, with the hashtag at the end. They reply - and bingo.

It's a brilliant way to get the answers to your specific questions, from the horse's mouth as it were. Except in this analogy, the horse is an agent. Yup.

Just a quick search shows up some good ones:

Only unethical agents. > RT : Do agents ever reach out to gauge editors interest in queries, before signing author?


  1. Well I can't sleep. So that's awesome. I'm open to a midnight sesh of to anyone who's awake.
  2.  Re: age groups. I write in Adult and YA. Should I be looking for an agent that reps both? Or would I potentially need 2 agents?
  3.  what age group does your querying ms fit into? 
  4.  I have completed ms's in both age groups that I've queried at different times. My most recent is YA.
 query agents who represent the genre of the book you are pitching-- and mention in the query that you write adult as well.

  1.  When should I follow up on a partial request? I've heard 3 months, but should I give the agent more time because of holidays?
  2.  I think 3months is fair, whatever's happened in that time 


 What's the rule for re-submitting? If you've rewritten entire novel (taking over 6m) do you say so or make like it's new?

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  1.  We might recognise it so always tell us if extensively revised and offer afresh 
  2.  If you just queried and book is completely different, I wouldn't worry. But if agent requested material, say so. 


And that is a tiny percentage. You can keep an eye out for a new session - following a few agents on Twitter is the best way to get plugged in - and from there, remove all the confusion and worrisome problems from the querying process.

In other news, my agent Molly has a new blog post up with her own 2013 wishlist - you can find it here and I'm sure she would much appreciate you reading it before you send anything to her. Though, of course, if you have any doubt - #askagent


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