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13 Things You May Not Know About Agents

You've read lots of articles about literary agents, but here are 13 things you might not have heard yet.

1. We really hate how often we have to say “no” to writers. It’s one of the most excruciating parts of our job! So don’t imagine us gleefully rubbing our hands together and cackling happily when we send that rejection letter.

2. We are always rooting for you. We love working with writers, and we always hope the next query or the next pitch meeting will be a winner.

(What are overused openings in fantasy, sci-fi, romance and crime novels?)

Guest post from Rachelle Gardner, agent at Books & Such Literary Management.
Rachelle is currently seeking nonfiction from writers who have made a good start
on building a platform, particularly with blogging. Visit Rachelle on Twitter, Facebook, or rachellegardner.com. Be sure to read Rachelle's submission guidelines.

Rachelle 2014

3. While many of us do a great deal of editing on your manuscripts and proposals, the bottom line is that it's the writer's job to provide a marketable book. Agents shouldn't be counted on to make it sales-ready, only to polish it up.

4. We are very invested in your book and once we’ve decided to represent it, we often feel like it's "our baby" too (even though we KNOW it's yours!)

5. If it seems like we're too busy, it's because the economics of this industry demand we carry a certain amount of volume to make a living wage.

6. We prioritize taking care of current clients above the search for new clients. So sometimes, queries and writer's conferences take a back seat.

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The biggest literary agent database anywhere
is the Guide to Literary Agents. Pick up the
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7. Most of us are interested in your long-term career, not just the size of the next advance.

8. We hate the slowness of publishing just as much as you do!

9. We want to set you up with the publisher and editor who will be best for you, not just the one who's offering the most money.

10. When we've tried to sell your book but we're not successful, we're almost as disappointed as you. Not only are we emotionally invested, we've put in a lot of time for no paycheck.

11. When you send us a manuscript to read, we usually don't do it during the work day. We read in the evenings (our "free time") and on the weekends. With Kindles and iPads, we may even be reading your manuscript on the treadmill at the gym.

12. We're aware of all the new options for writers these days, and we're doing our best to help steer each client in the right direction.

13. If your writing career keeps you awake at night, there's a good chance it has kept us awake on occasion, too.

Questions: What are some things agents may not know about writers?

(Secrets to querying literary agents: 10 questions answered.)

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