Friday, September 30, 2011

Question from a Writer - Multiple Agents?

I have several manuscripts that fall into different categories. (children's picture book, romance, paranormal romance, erotica) When querying agents, should I look for an agent who lists all of my categories, or is it ok to look for agents for each of my manuscripts individually?

This is a great question and one that comes up frequently.

I will say that there probably isn't one right or wrong answer here. Every agent out there might have a different opinion on this one. If you there are agents that visit the blog today, please chime in with your thoughts on this one.

First of all, I would stress that it is important to find an agent that understands the genre you write. Each one of us specializes in specific areas. We have strengths and we have weaknesses. Having an agent is one thing, but you do need to have someone that can provide the feedback to you and the guidance to really make your career head in the right direction. This, of course, seems obvious.

Now, if you can find an agent (or an agency) that specializes in all of these areas, you have a great resource working for you. The agent would know the deadlines you are working with and guide you in such a way to make sure you have time and focus for each of the areas. In many ways, it is like having multiple doctors. You want to make sure each of them is not giving you some prescription that might work against the prescription of the other doctor.

For this reason, I would personally recommend having one agent that takes care of all this and not looking for an agent in each of those areas. Of course that might not be possible. So, with that said, you might want to consider finding an agent that represents most of the genres. You might not get them all, but come close. As you continue with your career, you and your agent might expand into those other areas. He or she might also pair you up with another colleague at another agency that is familiar with that other genre.

I guess I would also add, and this goes with something I say frequently here. In my humble opinion, I think it is important for all writers to specialize in one area. Really take the time to learn, know and become successful in that one area before jumping into a new genre. My bet is that you have some genres you are stronger in than others. Use your gut instinct and stick with that genre.

Let me know how all of this plays out!



  1. Great post, Scott. However, I'd like to throw this particular thought I had while reading your post, something that you didn't mention.

    It might also be possible that multiple agents at one agency could work for the author--as in, one agent that does, say only children's, while the other agent handles the adult market.

    Then both agents are in the same house, and it would be easier to coordinate with contracts/deadlines, etc.

    If it were me, I would at least look for a singular agency with multiple agents who take all I write, and put my strongest work forward to query, then go from there.

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  3. Thanks Scott. Once again, great food for thought as we newbies traverse the road to publication. It's definitely something to keep in mind. :)

  4. I am curious as to how having multiple manuscripts in multiple categories plays into platform. Is it possible to develop a strong, distinguished platform with so many irons in the fire? As a writer who is trying to chisel out her own platform right now, I would be hesitant to throw everything out there all at once. Focusing on a single specialty, as Scott points out, might be the best way to get noticed.