This is short and sweet: If you have an agent, then why are you querying?
I’ve received two queries this week from authors who mention that they have agents, and their names. Now this just makes me do the blink blink thing. So again I ask, If you have an agent, then why are you querying?
I will put this very simply: This is unprofessional.
For starters, why bother with an agent if you’re going rogue? To whom do I answer? What purpose does your agent serve?
This sort of thing reminds me when a friend of mine had her first baby. She was grumbling over paying him. “The nurses told me when to push, gave me meds when I needed them. They were with me the entire way. The doctor rushed in long enough to catch the baby.”
While docs may get away with this, agents don’t let the author do all the work so they can rush in and “catch the baby.”
Going rogue like this creates a lot of confusion for me. And we all know that I confuse easily.
Authors have contacted me saying that they really appreciated my crits when their agent previously queried me. They have told me how they rewrote their books based on what I had to say – and could they please re-send the rewrites. That’s really lovely my thoughts were appreciated, but those crits were forwarded to you BY YOUR AGENT. Not me. You and I don’t have a dialogue; your agent and I do.
First off, if you did a rewrite, then those rewrites need to be approved BY YOUR AGENT. Once s/he approves them, s/he re-queries if that is the agreed-upon strategy. If you contact me directly, I have no way of knowing if your agent has even seen your rewrites. Just who is running this insane asylum?
I’ve seen situations where the agents have told their authors, “You are free to query the smaller commercial presses, and I’ll concentrate on the big six.” I’ll leave it up to your imagination as to how this ‘tude would set with a smaller commercial press. Either the agent reps you or they don’t. This isn’t Let’s Make A Deal, and I can tell you that I will be underwhelmed if your agent has given you this kind of arrangement. Do you really want to face a new query with an already-irritated editor?
It’s A Protocol Thang
I know many authors are rolling their eyes because they will perceive this post as my being a Ms. Snobby Pants. But ask my mother – she’ll attest that I may be a number of things, but snobby ain’t one of ’em. Don’t ask the beagle – she’ll say anything as long as there’s booze in it for her.
Truly, this isn’t about being elitist, but about making the query process easier. If I’m dealing with the GIC (Guy In Charge), then I know to whom to direct my questions or crits. If I’m being directed back and forth, chances are I’ll lose interest.
Bottom line: If you have an agent, let them agent you. If you would like your agent to re-query an editor, then discuss it with them, and let them take the proper steps. Why? Because he has to re-sell you and re-familiarize the editor to your story.
If you have an agent who is happy to let you query on your own, I would seriously question how invested they are in your book.
Your job is to let your agent do what s/he does best. Wait it out by writing something new, but please avoid contacting the editor. It’s tacky smacky.