One of the Easiest Ways to Research a Potential Literary Agent

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:

One of the easiest ways you can check out a potential new agent is to do an internet search for his/her address. Is it a real, private office address, or is it a “rental” mailing address with conference rooms available for his/her use, should someone actually want to meet at the agent’s “office”?

These mailing address companies even provide pictures of the fancy Manhattan skyscraper that the address-renting agent can post on his/her website, plus photos of big, impressive, and multiple conference rooms.

I’m not saying that just because an agent rents a mailing address of a building he or she may never even step foot into that said agent is not a good literary agent (there’s the whole “need to compete with the big dogs” argument and all) but in my opinion, because an agent has a fiduciary duty toward his/her client (and that’s a Big Deal, inherently involving a lot of TRUST), that perhaps entering into the relationship without full disclosure of where the agent is actually located 90% of the time is perhaps a bit…squicky.

Maybe it’s just me? But to me, it feels a lot like saying, “I studied at Oxford” during a job interview, when in reality you went to a community college and just used the Oxford library to study in at night… Is it s lie? No. Is it intentionally misleading? To me, it is.

Judge this practice any way you’d like, but my point is this: just be informed enough to understand what you’re getting into and make your decisions accordingly so there are no surprises. Your Manhattan agent’s office may, in reality, physically be located in Hoboken. (No offense intended to Hoboken agents.)

And this doesn’t mean I only value Manhattan agents. Personally I prefer to see companies save COSTS rather than play the “look how fancy and successful we are, did you not SEE our $10,000 leather sofa??” game. A successful literary agency in, say, Denver, just SCREAMS big balls and confidence to me.

But again, that’s just me.

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