An Agent Passing a Manuscript onto a Colleague - Good or Bad Sign?

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LCValentine

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Like I'm sure many have, I've submitted to lots of agents, and always seen the line regarding if an agent thinks it's a better fit for a colleague, they'll pass it onto them and not to contact more than one agent in the agency. However, I always assumed that this was mostly written out of a kindness and to stop agents getting sent the same manuscript to all their staff, and assumed if an agent wishes to reject you, they wouldn't pass you onto a colleague.

I, however, recently got a request for my full manuscript from an agent, who then passed it onto her colleague believing it to be a better fit for him. It's not something I've experienced before and I'm not sure whether it's a good sign; that the agency are obviously interested enough to not reject it flat out but pass it between staff, or a bad sign; that the agent in question wasn't hooked. To make matters slightly more interesting, the agent the work has been passed onto is currently closed for submissions, meaning I don't know if it'll be viewed or not until he reopens (it's not something I want to ask as I don't want to pressure agents).

Has anybody got any experience with this and know whether it's a good or bad sign?
 
I personally don't have any experience as such, but if an agent is a professional, I would think he/she would act in a professional manner and pass on someone's work for the simple reason that he/she has not the contacts to sell your genre that another agent might have. The fact agents are closed to submissions is for writers from the outside. I've never heard of agents being closed to submission within the agency itself. Relax!
 
Has anybody got any experience with this and know whether it's a good or bad sign?

Wouldn't like to generalise from my one experience of this. Not quite the same, but... it's undoubtedly better than a flat out rejection.
A US agent turned me down very swiftly, but simultaneously suggested I try other agents she works with. I checked them out and decided against doing so.
 
Like I'm sure many have, I've submitted to lots of agents, and always seen the line regarding if an agent thinks it's a better fit for a colleague, they'll pass it onto them and not to contact more than one agent in the agency. However, I always assumed that this was mostly written out of a kindness and to stop agents getting sent the same manuscript to all their staff, and assumed if an agent wishes to reject you, they wouldn't pass you onto a colleague.

I, however, recently got a request for my full manuscript from an agent, who then passed it onto her colleague believing it to be a better fit for him. It's not something I've experienced before and I'm not sure whether it's a good sign; that the agency are obviously interested enough to not reject it flat out but pass it between staff, or a bad sign; that the agent in question wasn't hooked. To make matters slightly more interesting, the agent the work has been passed onto is currently closed for submissions, meaning I don't know if it'll be viewed or not until he reopens (it's not something I want to ask as I don't want to pressure agents).

Has anybody got any experience with this and know whether it's a good or bad sign?
I had the same thing happen, but it was within the same company—yours? I think it means they advocate for your MS but either need the okay from other people in the group or its just not a good fit for them for whatever restrictions they have, but they believe in your story enough to pass it on to someone who may be more likely to represent you—a good thing!
 
Been there. It happened to me one sunny April a couple of years ago. The agent said that her colleague (within the same agency) would be better suited but that she was on maternity leave and wouldn't be back until November that year, and that I should re-send it to her then.

I'm not sure whether it's a good sign;
Personally, I'd take it as a good sign. Agents know each other, what they like etc, and if she passes it on it means she saw something in it that might interest the other agent. Also, any opportunity to be seen by someone else is another chance to get representation. She obviously thought your work was good enough to go in front of her colleague. She wouldn't want to waste her colleague's time (and look incompetent) by sending something she thought wasn't any good. Agents don't have time to waste, so I'm fairly sure she saw something promising. I'd be proud of that if I were you. Would you send your workmate nonsense, esp if he/she is busy?
the agent the work has been passed onto is currently closed for submissions,
Even more encouraging. I'm not sure about the following but I don' think anyone is truly ever closed for submission. If something comes along that could make them money, they'd be silly to turn it down. Agents make money by representing you. Turning something down that could make money is turning down income. I'm self-employed. If my diary is crammed full with no room for new bookings, I don't advertise, but if someone comes along through recommendation and wants to book me, I still consider it. If I feel it's worth my while, I make the time and slot them in. It's my monthly wage and you never know where it leads. I suspect they're the same. But I don't know. So if they're closed and she still passes it on, I think that's great.

I find it helps me if I put myself in an agent's shoes and try see the book world from their POV. i.e.: They're busy. They get thousands of subs. But they do actually want work (salary). They have their specific contacts in the publishing industry whom they know like a specific thing, so the agents need to supply that specific thing that the publisher likes, and yours needs to be that specific thing. In other words, the agents will have to go through some kind of submission process themselves when they try to sell our work to the publisher. They need to bring the publisher something sell-able (and sell-able isn't necessarily a measure of good or bad). The agents don't want to waste the publisher's time, or else risk ruining their business relationship. Then the publisher 'submits' the book to the book shop (sells to the bookshop). Same thing. The publishers have to consistently bring work that the bookshop can sell to the end user if they want to make sure the bookshop continues to see their reps. It's a whole chain of submitting; a chain of bringing books to the next person in the chain; books that will sell to the end user. As authors, we're at the front end and we need to figure out what the end user wants to read.

So I think it's great that this agent is passing your sub on. It's all positive noise of which you can be proud. Only move on from an agency if you have a definite 'no' from them.
 
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Thanks for the replies all. I was feeling positive about it, but as it had been a few weeks I was losing my nerve a little. Thank you all, and I do agree that when I look at it from the agent's point of view, it can only be a positive thing.
 
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