View Full Version : Still No Sale - Is it Me?

06-09-2008, 11:41 PM
I've been a client of one of the top children's lit. agents for almost two years now. we've got multiple projects and still not sale under our belts. I'm beginning to wonder if it's me. While I'm already a widely published writer in the article and poetry since, I've yet to sell but one "book" manuscript and that was on my own about two years ago.

I'm starting to think that perhaps my work just sucks. I'm the low man on the totem pole at the agency and almost everyone else has published 30+ kids books with major publishing houses plus have well known awards to boot. My agent has a "no small names" policy and was even closed to submissions when I sent in my first manuscript to them but they bent the rules for me. I keep telling myself it must mean I'm worth something - but right now I feel like I'm a big loser.

Any one else been through this type of thing? This whole thing is SERIOUSLY bugging me out.

Gary Clarke
06-09-2008, 11:55 PM
Your agent wouldn't keep working with you if she/he didn't think you had potential. Leave them to worry about the pitches Brookie, you just get on with writing the next thing that sets you on fire, ok? its the only way to do it and not go crazy.

06-10-2008, 10:09 AM
I'm with Gary, Any time you find yourself worrying instead of working, you're making an obstacle for yourself. Guess what? You could be writing another book, and each book should naturally be better than the previous (a.k.a. we can't help improving along the way). So even if your last book sucked, your next book could be the one that clinches a deal.

I had a great agent once, and ended up getting dumped because I didn't crank out new books every 4 to 6 months. No sale, either. Doubt can blow everything.

06-10-2008, 10:20 AM
Ya just gotta hang in there. My agent came in on a minor deal that I arranged and made it much better. I've turned down three small press contracts, and had one publisher go bust on me. But yeah, we're still waiting for that major sale, and have been for two years. I just keep writing. He has two of my books (one on sub now), and three more on deck, waiting for polishing. I won't stop until I hit that magic book--one of these buggers has GOT to go. If not, well then I'll keep going. And that's what you have to do--keep busy--stay focused.


06-10-2008, 09:23 PM
Thanks guys. All wonderful adivce. Thanks for that boost of confidence, Gary. I needed it big time! =)

've started a few new projects. I know you are all right about steering clear from doubt. (That's my biggest fear Scott. Being dropped because I didn't "make the big bucks quick" I'm sorry that happened with you. I hope you've found another agent. If not, sending happy wishes your way that you find a perfect one soon!)

Sometimes I get caught up in the thought of "proving myself". Guess I need to stop doing that. Most of the other clients have been publishing kids books for twenty plus years. It's authors that I grew up on. I think that plays into it a lot. While they were cranking out NY best sellers - I was in kindergarten listening to them in story time. lol

Tri - it's comforting to know I am not alone. I hope you get that deal soon! That's what I've been calling them too "that magic book". I just keep telling myself - shesh! Something's got to give!! =)

Thanks again for all the advice. You guys and girls are the best! =)

06-10-2008, 09:33 PM
Your agent is keeping you on. If you like him, stay.
You'd sense rumblings from your agent if he felt like you weren't producing work worthy of his time and energy. My book with my agent didn't sell, even after revisions, and I spent well over a year working on another. He didn't want to see that one until it was polished (just a synopsis he looked at and okayed). Then he didn't like the finished, polished ms. Didn't like my other ideas. We parted amicably. What I'm trying to say is, don't leave your agent unless your gut feeling or what you're getting from him is negative.

And sometimes it can take awhile to make a sale. Hang in there. :)

06-10-2008, 09:41 PM
Thanks Stormie. Very good advice. I adore my agent and would never leave. I know I've got it good - even if I am the low man on the totem pole. =) Hopefully someday I will be a little higher on it. lol Thanks for the encouraging words. =)

06-14-2008, 08:28 PM
While I agree with what others have said - snagging a good agent who is keeping you as a client even though nothing has sold - I'm wondering if he/she is sending you a list of where your work has been submitted.

Is it possible that this top agent is being kept busy with "top names" and spares little time for your work.

Sorry if this sounds discouraging. I wonder what Victoria Strauss would advise.

patrick bateman
06-14-2008, 09:49 PM
As someone who was dropped by their agent earlier this year due to nothing of mine selling, I can assure you that your agent (especially if she's one of the top ones) would have dumped your ass over a year ago if she actually thought there was little hope in you selling. The fact she's sticking by you speaks volumes. Now just continue writing and providing your agent with material to put out there. Good luck.

07-09-2008, 01:25 AM
Children's books are a tough market (I know, especially since I have the darnedest time getting my younger cousins, my little brother... heck even my older clansmen to actually pick up a blasted book and read instead of melting their minds infront of that television. I don't think I ask too much, a chapter or two a day from something you like. That's all.) Opps, I went off on a rant now, I'm sorry about that.
My main point is that it's a rough market and that there are a lot of us who can't get an agent right now, especially a reliable one who's helping to develop you. As long as you're with your agent you have a chance. It might just be horribly unlucky timing. The market is always changing after all. Just keep giving it the spirit of the dragon and do your best. You'll make it BC!

07-23-2008, 07:52 AM
Thanks Carmy. Definitly a thought to be considered. I'm hoping that it will change someday when I do make a sale. =) Hopefully. lol

Hi Patrick, sorry you lost the agent. There's loss - I'm sure! =) Thanks for the encouragement. I really needed some today! =)

Thanks Volt. I feel you. Nintendo DS has overshadowed the book shelf in my house for quite some time now. lol Thanks for all the encouragement! =)