I loved the feedback I got in my “what do you want in an agent” blog post. Some really interesting answers on how you might choose when given the choice.
As I sometimes do, I’m taking one of the questions from those comments and giving it a wider audience.
Actually, Jessica, I was curious: when looking for an agent, should we look for agents who represent age categories and genres we’d liked to be published in outside our current MS? (Did I confuse you? Lol.)
Here’s an example: I removed an agent from my list who fit my current project, but who didn’t represent chapter books/early readers and I have a few sitting on my drive I’d love to clean up and see through to publication. And there are some agents I passed on who don’t want to represent any adult fiction (and I love to write adult romance, category and single-title). Should I only focus on agents who’s interest match mine entirely?
Focus on one thing at a time and find the perfect agent for the book you are currently shopping. It never does anyone any good to set limits on themselves. As I’ve built and grown BookEnds I’m frequently asked questions about how big we can get, what my plan is, and how many clients I can handle. The answer is I don’t know until I do. In other words, I can handle as many clients as I can handle and how much time I spend on them is dependent on them. If I’ve sold everyone on my list and they are contentedly writing for their publishers that’s a lot less hourly work then if I’m editing and revising with ten different clients at a time. Sure I still need to talk with publishers and execute contracts, but revisions take forever, phone calls don’t. So why would I tell myself I’m only allowed ten clients? Why set obscure limits? The same goes for finding an agent. Why limit yourself to the small number of agents who handle every genre you’ve ever thought you’d write? What if the perfect agent doesn’t?
All authors have dreams of what else they could be and other books they’d love to publish, but looking too far ahead and trying to plan for what might be is limiting. My suggestion is take one day at a time, focus on finding the perfect home for this book and, later, when it’s time to take a second look at those chapter books (if you still want to do that once you have a thriving career with your WIP) you can take a look talk with your trusted agent about your plan.