Second, the winner of last week's 10 page critique is Tracy! Tracy, I'll email you sometime today. Commenters today can be eligible for next week's critique. Just make sure to say you would like to win a critique in your comment and include an email address. If you want more info, this post explains everything.
Since Sara's offer has created such a stir, I thought I'd write a little about client referrals, (or at least my experience with them).
What is a client referral?
Referrals are basically a recommendation from a client. I have given Sara 3 client referrals since I started working with her last fall. I only refer when:
1. I have read a full manuscript AND loved it
2. And I feel like the piece might be a good fit for her
3. And the writer is interested in being referred
(That probably gives you an idea of why this blog referral is so cool!)
Why would I want a referral?
The reason client referrals are desirable is that an agent is more likely to request material when a writer is referred. A referral gives a query letter a little more weight. If an agent is debating over whether or not to request a partial from a query letter a referral might be the deciding factor.
What happens after a partial (or full) is requested?
At this point the referred piece gets about the same consideration as any other requested material. The agent has to LOVE it and believe it's salable. The agent knows their client loved the manuscript, but unless the agent loves it too they can't offer representation.
So, in summary, referrals are cool. They can definitely help to get your writing (and not just your query letter) in front of an agent. But they aren't magic. In the end, the only thing that will get you an agent is a great book that an agent thinks she can sell.
But remember, just because one agent doesn't connect with your work doesn't mean another agent won't. There are hundreds of agents and it only takes one yes.
Have you ever been given a referral to an agent or editor? Was your experience similar to what I outlined or totally different? Agented authors: Have you ever referred writer friends to your agents?