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Are Older Agents Better?

Categories: Q&A from Blog Readers.
Q. Can you tell me how I can find an agent with experience who is over 50 years old?  I’m an experienced, published, academic writer (over 50) transitioning into lyrically-written fiction from scholarly, i.e., footnoted writing.  I write literature with analytical, literary theory underpinnings and subtext, and feel that agents under 50 won’t be able to understand my work.  Any advice on this?  And, in the guide books, do agents indicate their experience level?  (Also, unfortunately, I cannot afford to travel to conferences, since I’ve been a low-wage adjunct.)
        – Tamara

A. Tamara, I gotta say that this is one of the most unique questions I’ve ever gotten on the blog. 
       You can find an agent’s experience level by looking at what books they’ve sold.  This is the type of information you will have to look in multiple places for – namely WritersMarket.com, the agency’s Web site, and Publishers Marketplace.  It’s not easy researching who sold what.  Younger agents might have plenty of sales.  Older agents may be brand new to the game. 
       Pretty much the only way to target “older” agents is to find pictures of them on their agency pages (or using Google images) and take a guess at who is over 50.  But I don’t think this is a good plan in the first place.  It sounds like you’re writing literary fiction, so I suggest you simply target agents who handle this category and strike your interest.  Some may “get” your writing style while others don’t.   Something as unique as your project might require a lot of queries and sample pages e-mailed out before you find your perfect match.

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6 Responses to Are Older Agents Better?

  1. Vee says:

    That’s rather insulting and ageist to assume someone under the age of 50 "won’t understand." Perhaps the reason people won’t understand is because of her writing, rather than their age. In any case, I agree with anon– who exactly does she expect to read her work if she thinks no one under that age will understand it? And for that matter, people over the age of 50 like to be entertained, too– dry "literature with analytical, literary theory underpinnings and subtext" is probably just as boring for them as it is for the under 50 crowd.

  2. anon says:

    If she believes only agents over 50 will understand her work, does she expect only readers over 50 to buy it, too?

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