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Andrew, you can private message me via the administrator--just click on my profile and if you aren't able to do it yet, he/she will forward it.
Le Blanc, I didn't mean to imply that agents are more likely to "pick us" if we have a "perfect manuscript" -- you're absolutely correct that the story is the thing and I had PLENTY of rejections--more than 40 I think--before I got the five "hits."
Because of the nature of my book, the idea that I had already had it vettered, edited (by someone most all editors/agents know) only helped in that I think some of the agents felt that I had a handle on the business and went the extra mile.
I even have the advertising campaign ready---!
Wow, thanks for the votes of support everyone. It is much appreciated.
Copperpockets: not Miller, another agent at Trident.
By lesser agency: I mean one that gets perhaps 100 queries a week instead of a thousand. I'd like to increase my chances.
I'm not giving up. Definitely not. Just giving up on the idea of a big, powerful agency. I've contacted a number of them and most don't even respond.
Made it through the first couple of rounds at the Sandra Dijkstra agency, but in the end was rejected. Also received the nastiest rejection of my career from Russ Galen (why, I have no idea). I realize there are people who love this person as an agent, but I'd have preferred the non-response of Trident, and will never, ever recommend him to another writer.
I've searched the bookstores for other books similar to mine, but can't really find another book like it. When I do see something that's sort of in the same vein, either the agent is a big name who doesn't accept unsolicited submissions, or the author didn't mention him/her in the acknowledgments.
At the moment, I'm well and truly stumped.
Last edited by DeterminedNovelist; 01-10-2009 at 12:14 AM.
Very unusual to hear that about Galen--when he doesn't like something, the writer usually just gets silence in response. How long ago was this when you received a nasty rejection from him?
I don't know if it's any indication as to how good an agent is if they're not mentioned in acknowledgements; probably very little. I have a couple books with no mention of the agent, and these are books by reputable agents. Selling the book is the agent's job - it's what's required of them. While I'm sure they do appreciate it when a client publically acknowledges them, I don't think they really care all that much. They have other mss they need to sell; if they're the type who fret because x client didn't thank them, I'd wonder if they're worth working with.
Several months ago. Other writers' mileage may vary with Galen. I've simply never gotten a response like that. A room full of rejections to go with the drawer of acceptances sure, just not one like that.
I queried Russ Galen 883 days ago (yes, that's not a typo) and have never received a response. Obviously, he's not interested; why can't he add my email to a listserver that will fire off more of the great Rejection Boilerplate agents so relish dishing out? Just so I'm certain he (or someone) saw the query and consciously declined it. That would have prevented me from querying him a second time 15 months later with a fresh letter (also never received a reply to that one).
Just a modest proposal.
The Critical Word
Anyway, good to know he's out these two days since I can take that into account for a response time (or lack thereof). Thanks for sharing.
Look forward to hearing the result of your call.
Also, the reason I look at the acknowledgments is not to determine if an agent is a good one or not. Rather it's to learn the name of the agent who represented a book of a type similar to mine. For instance, if I like XYZ book, and I think there's a chance the agent who represented it might also like my book, I glance at the acknowledgments, hoping the author will have thanked that person. If I know the agent's name, I can go look up his/her policies regarding queries (i.e. are they accepting unsolicited queries or not?). I find it's one of the quickest, easiest ways to do a little market research, and personalize a query letter.
I presume you've been through our own AW list of fantasy agents here http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=42019
It is very often the case that it is easier to gain an offer of representation from a new agent than an established one. Russell Galen probably only takes on one or two new clients a year whereas someone just setting up might take on 15.
It took me 3 attempts to get a response to my query from Russell Galen
Last edited by waylander; 01-09-2009 at 03:57 AM.
About 15 years ago, I took a year off from advertising (I'm a copywriter) and worked at a publishing house to see what it was like "from the inside."
What I learned--and has been confirmed from writers--is that in 99% of the cases, it's up to us (unless you have a $$ track record) to promote your book, as we all probably know. And you don't want to pester the publicist/publicty/marketing department with ideas or suggestions, but if you have ideas for ads or promotions for your book, they tend to be open and welcoming to the ideas--saves them the work.
I'm fortunate because of my ad background to have a sense of how to go about it, but to answer the question, YES, it's up to the publisher to put dollars behind the book.
It used to be they would invest $1 behind each copy they were going to publish. In other words, most first novels (back then) sold 3000-5000 so they would plan on spending $5000 to promote the book.
Back then, I think it costs about $30,000 for a full page ad in the NY Times book review, so you can see that $5000---even back then--didn't go far.
Working with the publishing house, they have mailing lists they use but perhaps no money for your book. If you pick up the printing costs and labor, you may gain access to their list. For example, a simple postcard mailing to book buyers every three weeks--called "pulse marketing"--can be cheap and effective.
Your bookcover on the "face" of the postcard, and on the address side, ordering information (by book rep for that territory) and maybe any blurbs you have.
Anyway, that's what I mean by I having the ads figured out -- they can use them or not, but I'll certainly promote the book.
Many agencies take a very long time to respond to material. It isn't just Trident. Publishing is a very, very slow business. Just because it's taking some time for them to respond doesn't mean they're being scammy or stealing anyone's manuscript ideas.
Personally, I've received nothing but prompt responses from the agency, and after meeting Scott in person, I think he's a great agent.
Unpublished and non-celebrity authors querying Trident: should they offer representation, please be aware that their contract contains several onerous clauses. Having once signed an agreement containing similar terms at an equally large agency, I was determined not to make the same mistake. I forwarded the agreement to my attorney, who is experienced with book publishing. Trident refused to negotiate the clauses, which included a three-year (!) term, and "rights in perpetuity" to any all permutations of the writer's work. The agent - who's been an agent for about an hour - rescinded the offer of representation. Writer Beware, indeed.
BTW - To copperpockets, had the same experience with Elblonk. The rudeness, arrogance and unprofessionalism in publishing has increased exponentially since I began authoring books.
I've heard from a number of people that Trident's contract contains an interminable agency clause, but I've yet to actually see a contract. If anyone would be willing to share, in complete confidence, I'd be very grateful: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interminable agency clauses are not writer-friendly, to put it mildly, and there has been much criticism of them by writers' groups, including the Authors Guild. But either these clauses are becoming more common, or writers are more alert to them, because I'm getting an increasing number of reports of agencies, large and small, that include them in their contracts.
I've gotten several complaints now that this thread has been derailed (I agree), with requests to split off the posts about nefarious thieving agents into a new thread. I'm going to lock the thread for the time being while I do that.
Thank you Victoria.
Well, not to continue to sow seeds of discontent, but I did just call over there regarding my submission from last August. The assistant said she'd look into it to ensure they received it, so that's it for now. Can't ask for more than that, I guess.
I'm just entering these waters...I sent a query to Mr. Miller on 28 November, and just received a full request this morning. I'll send it out today, but based on the traffic from you guys, I'm feeling a little wary.
Best of luck to all of you.
Hey, congrats...we're now neck-and-neck!
I received a request for material from Mr. Miller today, as well. I queried him on 12/9/08.
If I had a signature, you'd be reading it right now.