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Thread: [Agent] Elaine P. English

  1. #1
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    [Agent] Elaine P. English

    (Excavating from Promada thread, et al.)

    Formerly with Graybill & English, now on her own: http://www.elaineenglish.com/
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  2. #2
    Seeking a Sanctuary of Intelligence Don Allen's Avatar
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    About 3 hours with Elaine English

    Well, I went to Washington and sat down for a conversation with Elaine English knowing full well that she rejected my book. My reasoning? I'm just sick and tired of guessing what agents want, what they look for, why they accept and why they reject. It was a great conversation -very candid, no bullshit- and for me at least took some of the mystery out the agenting process. I won't detail every aspect we spoke about but I thought I'd share some things will definitly help me, and maybe useful to some of you.

    1. Money... It's pretty much all about money from an agent and publishing point of view. You want to sell your book, know the market.. research agents in your market...be prepared to explain the market for your book to an agent or publisher.

    2. Don't be afraid of the minor leagues... The best piece of knowledge I brought out of the conversation,, The major houses want major players, or hot sellers. (notice the period) The major outlets, Borders, Barnes and Noble etc. dictate who and what they want on their shelves and they all pretty much want winners and past performers, (big revelation, your thinking) BUT... Minor league houses actually have a bit of an advantage in so much as they can get play in the major retail outlets because they don't have all the production quota's and return agreements that the majors have contracted with the giants. In other words a small house may turn a nice profit on say 3500 book sales compared to a major who to turn the same profit may require selling 10 times that amount of books. Ofcourse your advance won't be anywhere close to a major, but like she said if you write a winner, it will come back to you on the sales end..
    3. THIS FROM A PRETTY GOOD AGENT.. Don't be afraid to approach a smaller house without an agent. In many cases small house don't even want to deal with an agent because they know their market and don't need a third party to tell them their business.
    4. THIS SURPRISED ME.. The industry is changing.. SELF PUBLISHING NOT THE DEATH NOLL IT USED TO BE.. As a matter of fact the buzz in the agent and publishing world is that the internet and self publishing may in the coming years outsell the established retailers. We're not talking Amazon.com here. She told me of several examples that have scared the shit out of the established industry where authors (denied by the establishment) have sold respectable numbers and have even got reviews in PW, which would have been unheard of just 5 years ago.
    5. NEVER GIVE UP. unless you've been told point blank that you can't write a thought. If you have a good story and believe in it don't cave. She showed me the number of queries she received 600 1000 per month, and she's on the low end because she pretty much only reps romance. The odd's are against you, but the more you push the better chance you'll get noticed and eventually.... Heaven, I'm in Heaven, well you guys get it...

    Hope you find something useful here....don

  3. #3
    Thanks for the info, Don. It brings up something that I was researching this evening. I checked the New York Times Best Sellers List for Hardcover Nonfiction. There were only two books by independent publishers. At # 9 on the list is GEOGRAPHY OF BLISS, published by "Twelve." At # 32 on the list is THE SECRET HISTORY OF WORLD, published by "Overlook."

    QUIET STRENGTH, at # 7, was published by Tyndale, a Christian publisher that has been around since 1962 printing Bibles, Bible reference books, and books by Christian authors. I wouldn't call them minor league even if they aren't with the NY Big Boys.

    It makes me wonder how often books published by minor league houses make it to the top or even close to the top.
    Last edited by ExposingCorruption; 01-31-2008 at 02:03 PM.

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExposingCorruption View Post
    It makes me wonder how often books published by minor league houses make it to the top or even close to the top.
    Not at all uncommon in nonfiction. Rarer in fiction.

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  5. #5
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    be prepared to explain the market for your book to an agent or publisher.
    Any agent who I had to explain the market for a fantasy novel to would without doubt be the wrong agent for me. I would guess this would apply more to non-fiction.

  6. #6
    Seeking a Sanctuary of Intelligence Don Allen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragon-lady View Post
    Any agent who I had to explain the market for a fantasy novel to would without doubt be the wrong agent for me. I would guess this would apply more to non-fiction.

    Our conversation was geared toward Commercial fiction, not a defined genre. In your case I would imagine an agent as a pretty good idea who your audience is.

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    Any agent who I had to explain the market for a fantasy novel to would without doubt be the wrong agent for me.
    Or is it a test?

  8. #8
    Clever title pending. MarkEsq's Avatar
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    Any tales to tell?

    Anyone had experience with, or possess knowledge about, this agent?
    Thanks!
    Mark

  9. #9
    Writing is finite,revising infinite Prawn's Avatar
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    I sent her an equery in October, she requested a partial, then I got a form rejection eight months later in June.
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  10. #10
    Here I Am! Niki_G's Avatar
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    Anyone had a ms request from this agency recently? Ms. English just requested a partial from me and just trying to see if anyone's had any experience with her.

  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Niki_G View Post
    Anyone had a ms request from this agency recently? Ms. English just requested a partial from me and just trying to see if anyone's had any experience with her.
    I got a request for a partial from Elaine yesterday, after an email exchange. She seems very nice, but she wants the partial in hard copy and mailed, and she told me it'd likely be several months before she could get to it.

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW chimita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 52greg View Post
    I got a request for a partial from Elaine yesterday, after an email exchange. She seems very nice, but she wants the partial in hard copy and mailed, and she told me it'd likely be several months before she could get to it.
    Same here...

  13. #13
    permaflounced AllieB's Avatar
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    She sent me a rejection letter years ago that basically said I didn't have the talent to be a writer. That was 4 publishing contracts ago...

  14. #14
    Reverse psychologist LittleFlowerLei's Avatar
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    Elaine English Agency

    I was just wondering if anyone has any stories to share about this agency? Are they a trustworthy place to submit my first novel or not?
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  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    She's legit. She's a bit slow in getting back on query letters. I'd already signed with my first agent when she asked to see some pages.

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW Nadia's Avatar
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    I've never had her as an agent but I've hired her to review a couple of literary contracts for me before I got agented. She's very good, professional and approachable. She answered all my questions promptly and in ways that I can understand (note: not a lawyer or know much about publishing contracts in general) and made valuable suggestions, etc.

    I'm assuming that she'll bring that level of professionalism and knowledge to the lit agent side of her biz as well.

    BTW - if anyone needs a lit attorney, Elaine is absolutely fabulous, and she will work with out of town (meaning not in DC) and/or international clients.

    P.S. I think that she's slow to respond to queries and partials, but then many agents are.
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  17. #17
    Still the wrong side of Saskatoon Saskatoonistan's Avatar
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    I queried this morning to Naomi Hackenberg (who handles all the YA) and received a request for a partial on my YA urban fantasy about three hours later.

    My Website. Twitter.

    AGENTED - AUGUST 24,2010 WOOT!!! AGENTED AGAIN February 2015! WOOT! WOOT!

    "POLTERGEEKS is absolutely everything you could possibly want in YA fantasy!" STARBURST MAGAZINE

    "Sean Cummings is a master of the dark fantastic. His writing brims with soul, guts, and a dark wit sharp enough to draw blood. Chris F. Holm, award winning author of The Collector Books

  18. #18
    I think you can do better. Sarah Christine's Avatar
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    I sent a query to Elaine 10/16 and haven't heard anything. Should I resend it to Naomi? It looks like there's one email address for the agency entirely :/

    Btw, it's also a YA urban fantasy!
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  19. #19
    Still the wrong side of Saskatoon Saskatoonistan's Avatar
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    Yep - Naomi deals exclusively with YA so she's your contact. From their Blog:
    Queries for commercial fiction, including women's fiction, romance, mysteries and thrillers, may be sent via email (with no attachments) to Elaine at queries@elaineenglish.com or by regular mail with a SASE. Queries for YA fiction should be sent via email to Naomi at naomi@elaineenglish.com or by regular mail with a SASE.

    My Website. Twitter.

    AGENTED - AUGUST 24,2010 WOOT!!! AGENTED AGAIN February 2015! WOOT! WOOT!

    "POLTERGEEKS is absolutely everything you could possibly want in YA fantasy!" STARBURST MAGAZINE

    "Sean Cummings is a master of the dark fantastic. His writing brims with soul, guts, and a dark wit sharp enough to draw blood. Chris F. Holm, award winning author of The Collector Books

  20. #20
    I think you can do better. Sarah Christine's Avatar
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    Thanks a bunch! !!
    Scar: Trunked ftw.
    WatW: Trunked also ftw.
    WIP: FINISHED130k (I hate epics.)

    Twittering about your driving skills. And stuff. // Shared Art Blog for sketchbook vomit.

  21. #21
    figuring it all out rtrgirl's Avatar
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    Does anyone have partials out with Naomi? Seems like she's actively looking for YA. I sent to her last week.
    Women's Fiction and YA

  22. #22
    I think you can do better. Sarah Christine's Avatar
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    Saskatoon, you helped me get a partial out I guess that means a few of us are waiting together!
    Scar: Trunked ftw.
    WatW: Trunked also ftw.
    WIP: FINISHED130k (I hate epics.)

    Twittering about your driving skills. And stuff. // Shared Art Blog for sketchbook vomit.

  23. #23
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Naomi Hackenberg

    To Saskatoonistan and rtrgirl

    I too got the same email from Naomi a couple of weeks ago and am waiting to hear back. If I hear anything, yay or nay, I will post. Hope you will do the same.

  24. #24
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Naomi Hackenberg

    Anybody heard anything back from her? I haven't.

  25. #25
    figuring it all out rtrgirl's Avatar
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    Hello - No, I haven't heard anything. I mailed the submission on October 21.
    Women's Fiction and YA

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