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Agent v. Publisher


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#1 xtymorgan

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 12:58 PM

I couldn't figure out which forum was the best to post this question.  Looks like no one has been in here in a while so I'm sure I won't get a response, but here goes.

 

So, my latest novel has garnered me 5 full requests from agents and 3 full requests from publishers, so far.  one of the publishers has called me several times since I sent him my novel and we've had some very encouraging conversations which lead me to believe an offer is forthcoming.

 

BUT...I can't decide what on earth I'm going to do if I get an offer to publish from this Indie publisher while I still have fulls out there with agents!  I can't decide if I'd rather publish my first novels (it's a series) with an Indie publisher or if I'd rather go with an agent.  I'm so confused. 

 

If I get the offer I think I'm going to get from this publisher, it will likely be for all three books in the series.  But I know that with a smaller publisher, I won't have as much publicity and/or as much distribution/marketing.  Therefore, I would probably make next to nothing, if anything at all.

 

Now, money is not my driving motivator.  I'd like to make money yes, but ultimately, I just want to see my books in print, as we all do.

 

But if I go with an agent, wouldn't I have a lot higher chance of making more money (i.e., an advance and higher royalties?)  And wouldn't my book be more widely published?

 

But then again, just because I secure an agent doesn't guarantee I'll land a deal with one of the big six.  So, what if I pass on the opportunity with the Indie publisher, go with an agent and then they can't land me a deal!?

 

My head is spinning and I would really love some advice on this, preferably from people in-the-know.

 

Thanks!

Christy


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#2 dogsbody

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 02:12 PM

I'm curious: what gives you the impression that agents and small presses are mutually exclusive?

 

Small presses are still traditional publishing. That means they deal in legal contracts, and the kind that are the bread and butter of literary agents. Now, some agents are friendlier to the idea of submitting to indie/small presses than others, and I've even heard of an agent talking someone out of dealing with a small press and trying to reach for the skies. (That's third-hand hearsay from an untrusted source, though; I just don't want to paint too rosy a picture.) But for the most part agents and small presses are part of the same system and there's no reason to choose between one or the other. Personally, I think one of the worst things you can do is sign a contract with any press without an agent's vetting, but that's because I've heard too many horror stories. 

 

But I think you also might be mistaken about the duties of an agent -- they're in no way a guarantee of better money, bigger deals, or larger distribution. They're basically there to protect your interests and negotiate the best deal of any given situation, but "best" doesn't always mean "big." Have you ever read Kristin Nelson's Pub Rants? The archives are extensive and absolute worth going through, but I'm just going to link you to her "What Makes A Good Agent" series: http://nelsonagency....article-series/. You said in another post you have free legal advice, which is amazing, but any good lawyer will tell you people have areas of expertise. You don't want someone only versed in bankruptcy law negotiating child custody agreements, but you DO want someone who knows the publishing business going over your contracts with a fine-tooth comb. 



#3 Jeanne

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 05:40 PM

If you decided to go the indie publisher route, you should definitely contact Author's Guild. Their contract manual is worth its weight in gold and has excellent tips on how to negotiate a good deal for your book, including managing things like the subsidiary rights. I think it costs $125 a year to belong, but you must have a publication offer before or a published book before you can join. I joined a after I received a publication offer from a small press, and AG helped me work through some of the terms of the contract.

 

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#4 VonAngel

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 09:52 AM

Question: what is your ultimate goal? Do you only want to publish this series or do you have a long-term career goal in writing? That's something else an agent will provide. They don't represent books; they represent the author and manage his/her career. If the agent isn't able to sell your series, then hopefully you've been working on something else in the meantime (w/ the agent's guidance) and he/she will fight to sell your next project. 

 

Now, what you can do is if you receive an offer a publication, you can alert the agents w/ your full of the offer. If one offers to represent you (and not just offer to represent you on this deal only), yes, they will get a percentage, but look what all comes along w/ that deal. But if the agents reject your fulls once they receive notification of the offer, then what did you lose? You'd still be able to publish, and like Jeanne advised, you can get consultation from the AG on the contract.

 

You decided to submit to both agents and publishers simultaneously (generally not the best idea b/c of situations just like this). And you're right; you don't know if an agent will sell your series and to whom they will sell it. But you shouldn't worry about the unknown; work with what's in front of you today. :smile:


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#5 Litgal

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Posted 21 July 2015 - 09:19 PM

I agree with what VonAngel said but would add this--

1)  I totally understand that money doesn't drive you. But if having an audience does than when weighing a publishing offer--whoever it is from--make sure you look at their distribution etc.  

2) If, as suggested, you tell the agents you have an offer and one of them subsequently offers to represent you that agent may be able to generate additional publishing offers.  As with agent hunting, it is not unusual to have interest from more than one publisher. 


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#6 xtymorgan

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Posted 29 July 2015 - 03:43 PM

Thanks to everyone for their useful advice.  I just got a call from a publisher today (see my new post for more details).  I'm excited and now I just have to look over the proposal...


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#7 KirkDJohnston

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 07:21 AM

I couldn't figure out which forum was the best to post this question.  Looks like no one has been in here in a while so I'm sure I won't get a response, but here goes.

 

So, my latest novel has garnered me 5 full requests from agents and 3 full requests from publishers, so far.  one of the publishers has called me several times since I sent him my novel and we've had some very encouraging conversations which lead me to believe an offer is forthcoming.

 

BUT...I can't decide what on earth I'm going to do if I get an offer to publish from this Indie publisher while I still have fulls out there with agents!  I can't decide if I'd rather publish my first novels (it's a series) with an Indie publisher or if I'd rather go with an agent.  I'm so confused. 

 

If I get the offer I think I'm going to get from this publisher, it will likely be for all three books in the series.  But I know that with a smaller publisher, I won't have as much publicity and/or as much distribution/marketing.  Therefore, I would probably make next to nothing, if anything at all.

 

Now, money is not my driving motivator.  I'd like to make money yes, but ultimately, I just want to see my books in print, as we all do.

 

But if I go with an agent, wouldn't I have a lot higher chance of making more money (i.e., an advance and higher royalties?)  And wouldn't my book be more widely published?

 

But then again, just because I secure an agent doesn't guarantee I'll land a deal with one of the big six.  So, what if I pass on the opportunity with the Indie publisher, go with an agent and then they can't land me a deal!?

 

My head is spinning and I would really love some advice on this, preferably from people in-the-know.

 

Thanks!

Christy

Ok, I'm totally new to this, so can you explain to me how you got offers from publishers even though you're obviously still querying agents?

 

Isn't the process that you query agents and then once you've secured a deal with a single agent then that agent contacts the publishers on your behalf, so it's really just the agent you have to secure first?

 

Or am I totally not getting how this works? The whole long winded process that goes on after you've actually written the novel is so complicated and convoluted, imo.



#8 Jeanne

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 09:29 AM

The big traditional publishers, like Random House, don't accept queries from authors, but a lot of small presses, university presses, and independent presses do accept them.

 

There are several ways this can happen. Some people query agents only up to a certain point, and if they're getting a lot of rejections, they may start sending queries to small presses or independent publishers that don't require an agent to submit.

 

People can also get requests from both publishers and agents in Twitter Pitch contests, a fairly common phenomenom.

 

Sometimes folks enter contests while still querying agents, and the prize is a traditional publishing contract. (That happened to me.)

 

However, most agents prefer you NOT query publishers at the same time, since they may be interested in contacting those same publishers if they take your book on.

 

One thing you will discover as you get deeper into the business side of writing and publishing is that everything is in flux. Things that were taboo to agents a few years ago (self-publishing, for example) are now accepted. The best way to keep up with the changes is to participate in forums like Agent Query or Query Tracker where people in the know share their information and knowledge.

 

Jeanne



#9 ah_522

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 10:26 PM

Jeanne is correct. 

 

If you participate in pitch contests on Twitter, like SFFpit or pitmad, both agents and small presses can favourite your link and you can submit to them--provided if you're okay with not having an agent to act as your intermediary.  

 

To add onto the self-publishing phenom, authors like Tammara Webber or Cora Carmack, who wrote self-pubbed books and were contacted by agents only after they sold a tonne of novels (referred to as 'units') on Amazon or IBooks, etc. That, however, is generally the exception to the rule. .  



#10 Anna.k

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Posted 04 December 2015 - 02:17 PM

I was wondering the same thing..I have a few fulls and partials pending with agents, but I entered Twitters #pitmad and garnered interest from some indie publishers.. Apparently 80% of NYT bestsellers are agented, therefore having an agent seems to be the way to go. BUT there are varying opinions on the net..Anyway, I'd be interested in what ppl think...

#11 KirkDJohnston

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 01:34 PM

The big traditional publishers, like Random House, don't accept queries from authors, but a lot of small presses, university presses, and independent presses do accept them.

 

There are several ways this can happen. Some people query agents only up to a certain point, and if they're getting a lot of rejections, they may start sending queries to small presses or independent publishers that don't require an agent to submit.

 

People can also get requests from both publishers and agents in Twitter Pitch contests, a fairly common phenomenom.

 

Sometimes folks enter contests while still querying agents, and the prize is a traditional publishing contract. (That happened to me.)

 

However, most agents prefer you NOT query publishers at the same time, since they may be interested in contacting those same publishers if they take your book on.

 

One thing you will discover as you get deeper into the business side of writing and publishing is that everything is in flux. Things that were taboo to agents a few years ago (self-publishing, for example) are now accepted. The best way to keep up with the changes is to participate in forums like Agent Query or Query Tracker where people in the know share their information and knowledge.

 

Jeanne

Ah, OK.

 

Cheers.



#12 Andrea Lambert

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Posted 10 February 2016 - 07:14 AM

I put out my first two books on small presses because they were the one that offered first and I never looked back. I never got paid, but it was totally worth it to get my books out there. Often a small press will take a chance on a new author when a big press won't. Plus my first two books were so not commercial that obscure European small presses were the best fit for them.

 

Who knows, if you turn down the publisher that's offering now and hold out for what the agent's only perhaps offering you you will be walking away from an amazing opportunity.

 

I figure, there's so few lucky breaks in this business, if you get one, run with it and publish with it. Don't hold out for something better because you may not get it.

 

Smal presses are quite legitimate. It's a great way to get your foot in the door and get publication cred. Then when you write the next book, and  the next and the next, as you are going to, being a writer, each one is a new opportunity to try to get an agent. the books tend to improve with time.

 

If you've had agent rejections with your first book already, I would say definitely go with the publisher that's already offering.

 

Congratulations, BTW. That's awesome!


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LORAZEPAM & THE VALLEY OF SKIN: EXTRAPOLATIONS ON LOS ANGELES from valeveil: http://www.valeveil.se/posts/196
 

HAUNTING MUSES from Bedazzled Ink on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/194383752X

 

WRITING THE WALLS DOWN: A CONVERGENCE OF LGBTQ VOICES from Trans-Genre Press: http://trans-genre.n...the-walls-down/
 
THE L.A. TELEPHONE BOOK, VOL. 1 from ARRAS.NET: http://www.arras.net/?page_id=658

 

 





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