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If I Write in Multiple Genres, Do I Need Multiple Agents?

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Q: I’m in the process of authoring books in four different genres. Do I need to enlist four agents?—N. Schad

A: You’re writing four books at once? I can’t handle writing two stories at the same time, let alone four, so I’m impressed. But when it’s time to find an agent, you may want to focus all your energy on one. “You don’t need four agents,” says Mollie Glick, literary agent at the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. “When you’re ready to query, pick one genre and start researching agents in that specific genre. Pick a few to go after—ones you think will best fit your book.” She also notes that if you send out simultaneous submissions, it’s extremely important that you’re upfront about it in your query letter.

When an agent starts to nibble on your bait, it’s your call whether you show your other work or not. Glick, who’s had some writers ask her to look at all their work and has had others not mention it all, suggests that you always give the agent the option of reading your other work. “I prefer it when writers let me know about all of their books. It can help them make the sale.”

It’s even more important to mention them if you do land the agent. “If you’ve signed a contract, you may be obligated to show any other works to them first,” Glick says. “If you plan to shop your work elsewhere, make sure any written agreement reflects what genres that agent will be handling for you.”

If your agent turns down your other books, start shopping them around. “Having one agent can be used as an asset,” Glick says. “It’s seen as a positive. If you’ve already landed an agent, others are more likely to listen.”

Brian A. Klems is the online managing editor of Writer’s Digest magazine.

Have a question for me? Feel free to post it in the comments section below or e-mail me at WritersDig@fwpubs.com with “Q&Q” in the subject line. Come back each Tuesday as I try to give you more insight into the writing life.

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