New reader with a few of publishing questions:
I think the general wisdom goes that if you have some short stories published in magazines, an agent is more likely to take you seriously and more willing to take a look at your book submission. Does it matter what genre the short stories are in? Do the type or character of the magazines matter, or does it just matter that they pay?
Also, about writing in multiple genres: if I publish a book in one genre, will it be difficult to publish in other genres? Finally, if an agent (that's already handling a published book of mine) only handles one or two genres and I write a new book outside of the genres she handles, what's the best way to handle this situation?
Sorry for so many questions packed in at once. There's just so much to learn about this business!
I take people seriously if I know the caliber of the magazine they've been published in. To steal a bit of Miss Snark's wisdom, if I can't easily google the magazine, then I don't know what it is. I personally only really give a lot of credence to professional-rate paying markets; I think it's wonderful that there's so many semi-pro magazines out there, but most of them just don't rank high enough on my radar. In regards to genre, if you're trying to get me to read your Scottish Highland romance novel, and you've only been published in SF publications, that looks a little funny.
As far as publishing in multiple genres, there's absolutely nothing wrong with doing that. Just be aware that as your first book in each new genre comes out, you're essentially "starting over". The best way to handle your situation is to look for an agent who handles all the genres you're writing in. Barring that, if you're with an agency that does exclusively children's stuff, sometimes agents will have no problem with you having a second agent for only your adult publications. Now me.. I want to handle all your stuff; unless you're J. K. Rowling coming to me because you've written a stupendous adult novel, I'm probably going to pass on your query since you've already got one agent working for you... who wants to split time and money and investment in a client with someone else? This is a business after all.