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I never felt bad about my book until I got an agent


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#1 actusreus73

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 11:32 AM

So I wrote a novel, searched and searched, and finally landed an agent.  She had me sign a contract that gave her rights to everything I write and want to sell for the next five years, and seemed very optimistic, although, truthfully, I question to this day whether she actually read my book (does that happen?).  It's been four months since she gave me a list of 20 recognizable publishers to whom she sent it.

 

Okay, donkey kick to my pride time -- should I give up?  She's sent me half a dozen "no thanks," notes from publishers, but zero other feedback.  I can't imagine the entire list to whom she sent it haven't read it and said no by now.  So am I being paranoid?  What percentage of books get picked up by agents and then never sold?  How long is the longest I should keep my hopes up?  Should I ask her to dump me and try to self-publish?  Honestly, like I said in the opening, I never felt as bad about my book until after I got an agent.

 

Thanks for any feedback!



#2 Litgal

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    In between I became a "hybrid" as part of a group of six authors involved in a high concept novel-in-six-parts called "A Day of Fire" which released in November of 2014. The book, "A Day of Fire," tells the story of the final days of the doomed city of Pompeii in a way you've never read it before.

Posted 21 May 2017 - 12:28 PM

1) five years and everything you write in that period (which generally would be read to cover anything you start in that period) seems like a very long time to me. I've been with my agent 9 years but have never be asked to sign something so sweeping.

BUT that's really the only warning sign I am seeing:

 

2) FOUR MONTHS IS NOTHING in the big picture of submissions. And if anything submissions have slowed CONSIDERABLY since began in this business. Not sure what you are writing but in many genres right now the pace is, at best, described as glacial

 

3) You are not going to get a bunch of feedback from editors unless they are actually interested in seeing a rewrite. This is the same as it was with agents--you don't get feedback out of anyone's goodwill

 

4) 20 is a lot of editors. I mean I personally like to see things go out in small rounds/batches so the market and reaction can be gauged. But each agent has their own way and presumably you discussed both your agent's connections and strategies before this all started.

 

It is very early to give up. And remember 50% of first agented manuscripts don't sell. Generally it is still better to trunk such a novel and continue with your agent and work on a new project than to start all over again (because remember just around 2% of those looking for agents get them).

Take a few deep breaths--getting an agent was base-camp on a steep climb. You must have faith in your work, and also an ability to take hits and keep on coming. Everyone I know who is published has unpublished material in a drawer somewhere that they still love. Them's the breaks. 


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#3 RSMellette

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 03:04 PM

What Lit said.


From Elephant's Bookshelf Press

 

51xExIpByyL._SS140_SH35_.jpg51n1zBAR2vL._SS140_SH35_.jpg

by R.S. Mellette

"WOW. That is the first word that comes to mind when I think about how I felt reading this book - WOW. I was so pleasantly surprised - oh, let's be honest, it was more like blown away!" -- Holy B. In NC, Amazon Review.


#4 Niambi

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 10:10 PM

I've read many stories on this site about the same thing happening.  

 

I would say, "At least you have an agent."

 

- And - 

 

"Never give up!"

 

If you don't like the contract you signed relish in the fact that it's only 5 years.  You could write novels and not submit them, then when the contract is over find a different agent.  But, from what Litgal said, it may take 5 years to get this and maybe one other work published.  



#5 Litgal

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    In between I became a "hybrid" as part of a group of six authors involved in a high concept novel-in-six-parts called "A Day of Fire" which released in November of 2014. The book, "A Day of Fire," tells the story of the final days of the doomed city of Pompeii in a way you've never read it before.

Posted 24 May 2017 - 03:28 PM

Actually you can't. Generally a contract covers submission and/or sale of any work COMMENCED during the term. So if you start a book in that period (let alone finish one) the agent generally has a contractual right to be the one to pitch that to editors. Of course individual contract language may vary.

 

 

If you don't like the contract you signed relish in the fact that it's only 5 years.  You could write novels and not submit them, then when the contract is over find a different agent.  But, from what Litgal said, it may take 5 years to get this and maybe one other work published.  


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#6 Sassalota

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 10:31 AM

So, for other people reading this - a trick I learned from writers who were hosed in negotiations. Don't sign away your next five years. You can be more specific. Like - they get first shot at next book if it's in the SAME genre.  Five years and everything you write is insane. But, you learn as you live. It will probably work out fine but just in the future, maybe protect yourself more.



#7 Niambi

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 12:53 PM

Good point, but how would an agent know if a work was commenced within the contract?  

 

 

 

Actually you can't. Generally a contract covers submission and/or sale of any work COMMENCED during the term. So if you start a book in that period (let alone finish one) the agent generally has a contractual right to be the one to pitch that to editors. Of course individual contract language may vary.



#8 Litgal

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    In between I became a "hybrid" as part of a group of six authors involved in a high concept novel-in-six-parts called "A Day of Fire" which released in November of 2014. The book, "A Day of Fire," tells the story of the final days of the doomed city of Pompeii in a way you've never read it before.

Posted 01 June 2017 - 10:43 AM

Good point, but how would an agent know if a work was commenced within the contract?  

that question assumes a couple of things I am not willing to assume: a) that someone on the writing end of things would be dishonest and not respect the terms of a contract they had signed and b) that an agent of many years experience doesn't know how long it takes to write a book. Not to mention c) the fact most agents are in a position to retain lawyers if they are cheated. 


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#9 LucidDreamer

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 07:16 AM

Sorry, but that is a very restrictive contract. My agent actually allows me to self-publish on the side (for which she gets nothing) and even supports my self-pub. efforts by promoting them on social media.






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