Massive post below, but feel free to read on for some great Q&As. I did my best to put the answers right underneath the pertinent question. If we missed yours, as I said, you can tweet at any of us, or leave a comment below.
Most agents, if you know them well enough (or get them drunk) can tell you about the “book that got away”: the manuscript in their to-read pile they didn’t read before another agent snapped it up, the project they passed on that was sold by a colleague for big bucks, the super-duper mega-bestseller they thought sounded like a retrend of everything they’d ever read before with nothing original about it. And then, in a different category of books that got away, there’s the one they maybe sold or worked on in a previous incarnation — as an editor, perhaps, before they hung out their own shingle, or the Times bestseller whose royalties are all going straight to their former agency after they set out on their own.