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another pb sub question -- querying pre- v. post-conference

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I am gearing up to start my agent search and I have a timing question.  Is there a benefit to querying agents after attending a conference rather than before -- aside from being able to query closed agents?  Do agents give more consideration to queries that come from conference attendees?

I'd love to hear what others' experience has been.

Margaret
#1 - May 31, 2012, 10:13 AM
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Yes, if you have the ability to go to a conference, it does benefit you to submit after the conference using the agent's guidelines for that conference. Many (not all, but many) agents will take more time to respond to conference submissions, and you may get a more personal response.
#2 - May 31, 2012, 12:38 PM
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Conference attendance will not change an agents mind about your manuscript -- they are going to love it or not. But they sometimes will respond more personally and may have a better initial attitude toward your manuscript -- they often expect higher quality submissions from attendees, because attendees are more likely to be taking their writing seriously and professionally. Even more importantly, sometimes you can get a better idea of which agents would be a good fit and what they would like to see by going to the conference.

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#3 - May 31, 2012, 12:42 PM
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A couple other benefits in addition to what Larissa says:

1. You get a much better sense of whether you'd actually be a good fit for that agent after meeting/hearing them. (This may sound like a small thing. It's not. I can't tell you how many agents I would have considered on paper whom, after meeting, I wouldn't dream of working with for various reasons. To repeat an oft-quoted phrase here, no agent is better than a bad (for you) agent.
2. You're more likely to find out their preferred methods of handling queries, and can thus get faster/better attention when you do query.
3. They're more likely to ask for a longer partial at an event than in their online sub standards.
4. If you meet them, they're more likely to remember you and put a face/person to the query (or at least to remember the event, and, assuming it was a good one, feel kindly toward you for being there.)
5. You can hear more about their interests and tailor your query accordingly.
6. You don't have to squirm if you DO meet them wondering if they've already read your query and are trying to decide what to do with it.

None of this (except #1) is more important than whether they like the writing and concept of the actual work, but it can all add up to a certain advantage in the slush. IMHO, of course.

ETA: oops, cross posted with EECoburn. Same ideas, more words here, ha!
#4 - May 31, 2012, 12:44 PM
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Thank you Larissa, eecoburn, and Joni!  I've been so nervous about making the right decisions re:querying and your answers have been very helpful.
#5 - May 31, 2012, 01:45 PM
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I absolutely agree with Joni--especially her number one. Finding a good fit is SO important. When I was agent hunting, I followed a lot of agents on Twitter. It helps you get a sense of their personalities--and, of course, meeting them in person is even better than that.

Good luck!
#6 - May 31, 2012, 01:51 PM
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Thanks KatyD!
#7 - May 31, 2012, 08:05 PM
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