Wasting an Agent’s Time

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: May 04 2010

It’s really irritating when an author decides that the best way to get an agent’s attention is to lie. Ask enough questions and you will learn that the “interest from a publisher” that you need to jump on is not an offer or much interest at all. The truth, though, if you’re looking for a reputable agent, “interest from a publisher” isn’t going to get you an agent or a sale. We’re still going to want to read the book and see if it’s something we can sell.


13 responses to “Wasting an Agent’s Time”

  1. Avatar Kelly Moran says:

    Wow. Who'd lie about that?
    I recently submitted queries, got requests for partials, then a full request from a publisher. Once the full request came in, I told the only agent who had it for review that I did get a full publisher request.
    Is that norm? Because I was always under the assumption agents wanted to know that info when they requests manuscripts.
    But I'd never lie.

  2. Avatar Kristan says:

    Oy, now I'm feeling paranoid. I won a contest with a major house and have correspondence from an editorial assistant there that shows significant interest, so I included that info (not the emails themselves) in a few new queries. I hope that wasn't a bad move…?? I certainly wouldn't expect it to exempt me from having partials or fulls read! I just thought it might help me stand out…

  3. Avatar jfaust says:


    I should have made it clear. these are usually authors who contact after we have the material or the query. You are doing fine. no reason to be paranoid.


  4. Avatar Kristan says:

    Phew, thanks!

  5. What if a particular editor gave permission to use their name because of work you did with them in the past (when they were an agent)? Is that then okay?

  6. Oops…I meant work that the editor (then agent) did with me, not you personally, Jessica.

  7. Avatar Malia Sutton says:

    It's interesting how some authors think it's all a huge game instead of an actual business.

  8. Avatar Amanda says:

    Just another example of why you shouldn't "lose your values" when getting into the business.

  9. Excellent point, Malia. How unprofessional to embellish something that is easily found out (or embellish anything, for that matter). Instead of wasting time on gimmicks, why don't they use it to improve their writing??? This is a business, and some 'writers' just treat it as a game, and exasperate the slush piles with their mess.

  10. Avatar Kelly says:

    I can't even believe people have the nerve to do this stuff.

  11. Avatar mi says:

    what a way to stand out to an agent – and not in a good way!

  12. Avatar Anonymous says:

    I sent a query to an agent and then i received a full manuscript request and told her? is that wrong?

  13. Avatar Lucy says:

    @ Anon 5:55

    If the full request came from a publisher, I don't think that would be a problem.

    My impression is that Jessica is referring to authors who try to get a faster and/or positive response to their query by sending spurious "updates" regarding publisher interest that doesn't in fact exist. The intended message is "I'm-a-hot-commodity-sign-me-while-you-can," but it's not a very intelligent move.