Some of the most common questions I get in the ol’ inbox are some variation of when and whether to tell an agent something. When should I tell an agent about my previous agent? When should I tell them about my pen name? When should I tell an agent about my foot fungus?
Ask no more. Or rather, if it’s on this list ask no more. I’m going to put together a definitive list of when to tell an agent what. Please note that this is my list, and other agents’ lists may vary.
I’m imagining this as a collaborative post and am starting with a bare bones list, so please make a note in the comments section for anything I’m missing, and I’ll add it.
When should I tell an agent about my….
Previous agent: Somewhat up to you. If you want to include that you had a previous agent in order to show that you were good enough to attract one, at the very least mention that you parted on good terms. Otherwise it can wait until you’re farther along in the querying process.
Pen name: I strongly prefer that an author queries me as themselves. There will be plenty of name for discussions of pen namemanship around the time you are discussing working with an agent.
Editors already considering/have considered your manuscript: In the query.
Manuscript request from another agent: If an agent asks to see your manuscript you do not need to notify the other agents you are querying.
Offer of representation: Tell the other agents who are considering your manuscript immediately, and give them a reasonable amount of time to get back to you. Also tell the agents you have queried in the past month but you haven’t heard back from (see the comments section for more on this).
That you originally self-published: in the query
That you are previously published: in the query, with publishers and dates listed.
Your age: if you’re under 18, in the query. If you’re over 18, not really necessary.
That you have already an agent but are looking for another agent for a genre they don’t rep: In the query
Your other book projects: I recommend sticking to one book project in the query, and waiting to discuss your other projects. Usually this will come up when you’ve received an offer of representation. When you’re talking to the agent, be sure and tell them about your other projects and gauge their response.
Foot fungus: Only if you’re asking an agent for a foot massage.