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Thread: Books going directly to publisher without agent

  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharonsharon View Post
    I know this is very rare. Through a series of what seem like miracles to me, my book is now on the desk of an editor at a major publishing company in NYC. One of the executive editors read it, and then did copy edits for me to fix (which I did). I got a letter this week saying he dropped off my edited version on the desk of an editor this week in Children's book department.

    I am amazed. I have no idea what will happen at this point, but even that this ended up on the desk at this place is a miracle. I sent this book to a top agent in NYC who loved it, but was unable to take it due to a conflict of interests. She told me to give it to a friend's agency. They told me they were not accepting anything. I sent Query letters to many agents. None even asked to look at the manuscript. Now, It is on the desk of the top publishing company. How this happened is beyond me, but it did.

    Has anyone ever heard of things like this happening in the publishing world? I had started a thread a month ago here saying how an editor in this company loved it. The people in the thread thought it was a scam and nothing like this could happen. I am here to say it did. I also got the most amazing edit on my work (for free). I had paid someone months ago to edit. The edit was awful and her advice even worse. Then, one of the most talented editors edits it for free.

    I have no idea what will happen next, but it has given me faith in this process. It has also given me an incredible editing job on my work.
    Yes, it is very difficult to get through with first book proposal.No name, and nobody wants to listen to.On one hand is understandeable their raction (agents,publishers) when they receive so many querries.On the other hand is their job to select something worth of publishing.And then, there is third party;we are covinced that what we have written is worth of publishing, and if one really believes it, one has to persist in getting agents\s or publishers\s attention.Here, comes self confidence into play.

  2. #27
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    I know this thread is a little old but I'd just like to say congratulations - have you had a reply from them yet?
    I'd really appreciate any help with my query, if anyone has time, here it is: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=296292

  3. #28
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    no, i have not heard, but the managing editor who gave it to children's department said the editor there informed him it would take a very long time to look at it. In publishing time that might mean years I am hoping it means months. He said he would tell me as soon as he hears.

  4. #29
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    HI! The managing editor got back to me last week. The random house children's department is going to pass but had some nice things to say about my work. I think the main problem is the length. I want to work on it to whittle it down to picture book length. But, as you can see, a manuscript can get into an agency and be read without an agent. Now, I am looking for an agent!

  5. #30
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    Sharon, you're making a wise decision in looking for an agent. If you're querying editors on your own, you're shrinking the field for your agent when it comes time for her to query your work. Good luck to you.

  6. #31
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    Hello, I did not query any editors. This editor heard about my manuscript through his partner then read it. I never queried any editors. Yes, it would be lovely to get an agent, but it seems nobody is interested. None even ask to see the manuscript.

    If it were not in need of illustration and promotion I would self publish, but this would need illustration and a good publisher.

  7. #32
    Worst song played on ugliest guitar Libbie's Avatar
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    Perhaps now that you've had the interest of an editor at Random House, it might not be as hard to find an agent. They may be more inclined to take a look if an editor was already interested, even if the editor did ultimately pass.

  8. #33
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    I wish i knew which agent that would be. I think I sent to most of them. One loved it but was unable to take it and the rest did not ask to see the manuscript. I wish i could get help with it. It needs to be shortened.

    Amazing that the managing editor liked it enough to even drop it in the children's department.

  9. #34
    It happened at his concert... Deb Kinnard's Avatar
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    I'm not into childrens' publishing so I know nothing about it. But having an agent isn't tantamount to getting your submission read, either. I had an editor ask me to send them something, on a cold e-mail (i.e., she contacted me, not the other way around) and still couldn't get that house to read the submission timely nor ask for the full MS when my agent submitted it there.

    It seems to me (and I'll gladly listen to folks with different experiences -- with the caveat that my experience happens to be the opposite) that publishers are just as chuffed to ignore a sub from an agent as one direct from the author.
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  10. #35
    Gnawing my hairless tail Cricket18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesaritchie View Post
    Agents would like you to believe it can't be done, but it isn't rare at all, and never has been.

    Editors buy good books, they do not buy agents, and they can usually get the same book cheaper if no agent is involved.

    Publishers like agents because it means they don't have to employ first readers to separate the trash from the treasures, but a treasure is a treasure, even if no agent is attached.
    All this. Congrats!

  11. #36
    crazy mean SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deb Kinnard View Post
    It seems to me (and I'll gladly listen to folks with different experiences -- with the caveat that my experience happens to be the opposite) that publishers are just as chuffed to ignore a sub from an agent as one direct from the author.
    I think that much depends on the agent. Editors will clear their desks for some agents, but others have to wait in the queue.

  12. #37
    It happened at his concert... Deb Kinnard's Avatar
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    I thought about that. It also seems to me, in retrospect, that it might depend on how and with what level of enthusiasm the agent pitches the book to the publisher. The industry is contracting mightily in my market, so the lesser agents probably have to wait their turn just like authors who submit (when and where they can) without agent involvement.
    WIP: "IF I BUT LOVED", 1375, Cornwall

    "City Lights" series (indie)
    LOVE ONLY KNOWS, Book 1
    FALLING SLOWLY, Book 2
    A HOME FOR THE HEART, Book 3, all now available for Kindle

    An inspiration... ...I have a serious case of Grobanosis

  13. #38
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Some publishers really won't read unagented submissions. I had a temp job stuffing a rejection letter that said, basically, "We don't read unagented submissions" into SASEs at one point. The greatest book ever written could have been in that slush pile and nobody would ever have known.


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  14. #39
    practical experience, FTW JKRowley's Avatar
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    Sharonsharon, are you a member of SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Editors)? You might want to join this organization. It can be a wealth of information for children's book writers and illustrators.

    This is a picture book? I do not think you need an agent for picture books, at least not until after you get a sale. Most picture book authors I know did not have an agent when they sold their first book. Not that you couldn't go that route. Children's publishing is quite different from novels. After first publication is another story.

    I would suggest going to conferences and workshops to get the manuscript in picture book length (800 words or less. It may be 500 words now.) Conferences will give you an opportunity to get the book in front of editors (or agents) for critique. It will also give you an opportunity to sell it.
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  15. #40
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin mogajones's Avatar
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    Miracles... Miracles...

    I too had a similar experience.
    Through a series of unusual events, I ended up getting published without an agent. I used an entertainment lawyer for my contract, and he did a great job -- though he was VERY expensive.
    I found that the problem with not having an agent came later. There are so many little, niggly things to sort out when a book gets published, and without an agent, you have to sort them out with the editor directly. He's trying to look after his budget, etc., while you're trying to fight your corner for the sake of your baby. Conflicts are bound to come.
    For my next project, I want to get an agent. Though I want to make sure it's the "right" one. I had bad experiences with agents in another field of entertainment, and so I know that taking on an agent who just offers to represent you because you already have a contract (and they want the commission) is not necessarily a good thing.
    My advice is to pay someone to negotiate the contact for you though. It eats up most of your advance, but it's worth it, I think.
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  16. #41
    Formerly Phantom of Krankor. AW Moderator Torgo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mogajones View Post
    My advice is to pay someone to negotiate the contact for you though. It eats up most of your advance, but it's worth it, I think.
    I am sorry to say I think this is poor advice. An agent won't charge you to negotiate a contract - they get a cut of the advance, and not a huge advance-swallowing cut, either. And an experienced literary agent, working in the right field, is the person to do this, not a lawyer, IMHO. There's no point getting an entertainment lawyer as well as an agent.

  17. #42
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin mogajones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torgo View Post
    I am sorry to say I think this is poor advice. An agent won't charge you to negotiate a contract - they get a cut of the advance, and not a huge advance-swallowing cut, either. And an experienced literary agent, working in the right field, is the person to do this, not a lawyer, IMHO. There's no point getting an entertainment lawyer as well as an agent.
    I agree. My point was that you shouldn't try to negotiate a contract yourself. If you can't get an agent to do it, hire a lawyer.


  18. #43
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister SuperModerator Medievalist's Avatar
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    If you can't get an agent with an offer in hand, then there's a problem with the contract or with the book.

    Having an offer in hand is the point where it's easiest to get an agent.

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