Jump to content

Disclaimer



Photo

How to ID agent for existing book with zero contact info?


  • Please log in to reply
3 replies to this topic

#1 winterlight

winterlight

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:First chapter of my current book was published in Embark, an online literary journal.

Posted 07 December 2017 - 11:41 AM

Hi, I'm in the process of coming up with a list of comps. The one book, Ostland, that would be my best comp was published a few years ago by UK publisher Quercus, later bought out by Hachette. The book does not mention the agent. The author has a very common name (David Thomas), and my extensive searches everywhere have failed to unearth any way of reaching him (he is also in UK). He has a blog (http://dwpt.tumblr.com), last post 2013,  also with zero contact. Emails to Hachette go unanswered. Author does not have any social media presence that I can find. I think he must be in the UK version of the Witness Protection Program, honestly. Or perhaps he's moved on to the literary salon in the sky (I hope not). (He also writes under the pseudonym Tom Cain - Tom's last book was published in '13. The Tom Cain website hasn't been updated since 2008.) Linkedin has over 1000 men with similar names in the UK alone. 

 

Here's what I know: He's 55 or so, went to Eton and Cambridge. He was once editor of Punch magazine (1989-1992).

 

I have a similar problem with finding the US agent for Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay; I believe her original agent was in France (and probably would not be interested in hearing from me).

 

So I have 2 questions:

1. Can you think of any way to ID the agent for this book or to contact the author?

2. A lot of my comps were published overseas, some later translated into English. Is there any point in sending queries to agents overseas (English speaking countries)? Or to agents who've facilitated US publication of works originally published elsewhere? 



#2 lnloft

lnloft

    lnloft

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 136 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 07 December 2017 - 03:27 PM

Honestly, you've set yourself to a very difficult task, and I'm not sure that it's really worth it. Sure, maybe an agent who repped a comparable book might be interested in your book, but just as easily they could see it as too similar to something they've already done and pass on it. Most agents have lists of their clients, which means that in theory you could stumble over these authors accidentally, but that's a needle in a haystack, and again no guarantee. I've used the client lists as just another tool: if they've repped an author I like, then it stands to reason that we might have similar tastes, but I can already vouch to being rejected by one such, so... Plus, sometimes those client lists can be a double-edged sword. If an agent has a highly successful and popular author on their client list, then, sure, that could be a good sign, but on the other hand, it's likely to make that agent more competitive. They're a proven commodity at that point, which could make it harder to nab them.

 

I'm not too sure how it would work dealing with an overseas agent, but I doubt it's worth it, at least to start off with. You're in the northeast US, which means that you're at least relatively close to New York City, so for now I'd focus on them. There are so many quality agents out there that it's not worth agonizing over trying to track down one specific person.

 

The last note I'll make is that comps are just to help give a general idea of the story. And that's really all. Some agents even supply their own sort of "comps" on their websites, where they note authors they've enjoyed and whose style they're looking for, but who aren't their clients. But again, it's all just another tool. I didn't bother to deal with comps at all, preferring to let my query and story work on their own.



#3 winterlight

winterlight

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:First chapter of my current book was published in Embark, an online literary journal.

Posted 07 December 2017 - 03:56 PM

Thanks. Makes a lot of sense. Guess I'm feeling a need to establish some sort of "connection" with the agent I'm querying -- just read an article on P&W where one of them said they don't even read ones with no connection established in the first paragraph. But as you well know, one could literally go crazy trying to follow advice in all of these articles/blogposts/etc from agents. 



#4 smithgirl

smithgirl

    smithgirl

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 483 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 09 December 2017 - 05:06 PM

I totally agree with Inloft. Don't knock yourself out trying to sleuth out the agent, especially if he/she might be at a foreign agency.

 

Agents always write that they want you to personalize your query, but to honest I've had more requests from non-personalized queries the personalized ones. Keep in mind that you have an ~ 0.01%  chance of getting an offer from any one agent. If you invest a lot of time into each one, you'll never get anywhere.

 

Personalize where you can: read their blogs, see if they have a manuscript wish list (mswl -- often posted on Twitter), but you don't forgo querying an agent just because you don't think you have an "in."

 

I have gotten no responses from agents that seemed, on paper, to be a perfect match, then requests from agents who seemed to be barely a match at all.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users