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View Full Version : Stupid novice question, but it needs to be asked I suppose



Mayusan
02-13-2009, 09:04 PM
I wrote a book, and after a year of searching, I found a reputable agent to represent me. He's been doing the best he can to get a publisher to pick it up.

Today he emailed me and said that he found a publisher who would pick up the project, but at a $17,000 cost to me! So he finished the email with "Yeah, we're passing and we'll keep looking. don't give up!"

I dont want my agent to think I'm completely green behind the ears, so I decided not to email him back and ask, I thought I'd ask any writers here.

did my agent pass because they were charging me period, or did he pass because they were charging me too much?

but, I always thought publishers pay YOU, and anyone who asks for a price to publish are irreputable.

Have I been wrong in thinking this and should prepare myself for publishing costs from any publisher?

Branwyn
02-13-2009, 09:07 PM
YOU DO NOT PAY A PENNY!!!!

An agent is supposed to get you the best deal possible because he gets a percentage of that. THEY PAY YOU!!!!!!!!!!NEVER EVER PAY!!!

M.R.J. Le Blanc
02-13-2009, 09:11 PM
No disrespect meant to you, but shouldn't your agent know who charges and avoid them like the plague?

Mayusan
02-13-2009, 09:12 PM
ok that's what I thought.

I didn't know if he passed because they charged me at all, or if he passed on them because they were asking too MUCH of a charge. I didn't want to sound like a doof and ask him. I know he knows i'm a novice, but I don't want to sound completely uneducated. lol

waylander
02-13-2009, 09:14 PM
I very much hope your agent passed because they mentioned charging at all.
Please tell me you have not paid anything to your agent for 'ongoing costs' or anything like that

Mayusan
02-13-2009, 09:15 PM
No disrespect meant to you, but shouldn't your agent know who charges and avoid them like the plague?

I don't know how that works. perhaps he worked with them before and this is new.

He did pass on them.

I trust my agent. He's been very upfront with me... he's never asked for money upfront, he's never asked for money period... he helped me spiff the book up to make it more sellable prior to sending it to publishers... and I can't find any negative comments on him or his publishing company.

Marian Perera
02-13-2009, 09:21 PM
I don't know how that works. perhaps he worked with them before and this is new.

Seems kind of a startling new development, though. I mean, I can only see a legit agent working with a commercial publisher, one which paid the author... so to jump from paying the author to asking the author for seventeen thousand dollars would be quite something. If that's actually what happened, of course.

Cyia
02-13-2009, 09:23 PM
Maybe it was a new "publisher" that looked and sounded good until they actually got around to their "offer" and the agent was smart enough to run screaming in the other direction.

DeadlyAccurate
02-13-2009, 09:28 PM
I trust my agent. He's been very upfront with me... he's never asked for money upfront, he's never asked for money period... he helped me spiff the book up to make it more sellable prior to sending it to publishers... and I can't find any negative comments on him or his publishing company.
(bolding mine)
The agent has his own publishing company? Or did you mean his literary agency?

Old Hack
02-13-2009, 09:32 PM
No disrespect meant to you, but shouldn't your agent know who charges and avoid them like the plague?

My thoughts too. This would make me question the agent's expertise, I'm afraid.

Stacia Kane
02-13-2009, 09:35 PM
My thoughts too. This would make me question the agent's expertise, I'm afraid.


Ditto.

Did he tell you who the publisher was?

Mayusan
02-13-2009, 09:38 PM
Ok let me clear things up.

The agent has his own literary agency, not publishing company, that was a typo on my part.

My agent is reputable, he has helped get books published that I've personally read, he has never asked for money, and he has no complaint filed against him. The few writers I've talked to who are or have been signed with him loved working with him. He's been very helpful and seems to have looked out for my best interest.

I decided to bite the bullet and ask him about this, and he cleared up the issue.

He said a reputable publisher doesn't charge for publishing a book, however, this publisher told him they will most likely NOT buy the rights to the book, but instead they would work with the me in editing, designing, marketing, and selling the book, and they sent him a proposal.

He said that is what made him decide to pass on the publisher, he said there is no reason to pay them for all that frill when another publisher would be willing to pay me for the rights and do all the rest anyway.

CaoPaux
02-13-2009, 09:42 PM
Mayusan, have you changed agents since October?

Red.Ink.Rain
02-13-2009, 09:43 PM
Sounds like you got this cleared up, then. :) And don't be ashamed to ask questions - a lot of us are novices here.

Mayusan
02-13-2009, 10:31 PM
yeah. now I understand what happened at least and why he passed them up. He said to keep my fingers crossed because he is in contact with a few other publishers that seem interested and willing to buy the rights. knock on wood.

victoriastrauss
02-13-2009, 10:31 PM
Mayusan, would you let me know the name of your agent privately? PM me or contact me at Writer Beware: beware@sfwa.org . Any info you share with me will be held in strict confidence.

- Victoria

IceCreamEmpress
02-13-2009, 10:31 PM
Maybe it was a new "publisher" that looked and sounded good until they actually got around to their "offer" and the agent was smart enough to run screaming in the other direction.

That sounds quite plausible. If that was the case, the agent did exactly the right thing--it's his responsibility to let the author know about the ridiculous 'offers' as well as the legit offers.

But there's something that seems a little off to me about the way he's framing it, as you report it. Maybe it's just an artifact of rushed posts on message boards.

Please do contact Victoria about this. It would be really helpful for her to have the info on the $17K (!! Pricey even for vanity pubs!!) "offer".

Mayusan
02-13-2009, 11:01 PM
I think the confusing thing is that I was paraphrasing the email, so maybe I didn't explain it right. (I broke several ribs after a fall so I'm on pain meds right now. lol).

again, he told me they were not going to buy the rights... but sent him an offer for how much it would cost to do the other stuff for me.

then he told me he passed since he has potential publishers who'd be willing to buy the rights and do all the rest the other publisher wanted to charge me for, and he laughed at how rediculous the offer was.

He said there is no reason to pay a publisher to do all that work when one will pay ME for the rights and do all that themselves anyway.

happywritermom
02-13-2009, 11:02 PM
It sounds like the agent might have been so floored by the publisher's proposal that he shared it with you. But it doesn't sound like he ever seriously considered it. Still, a PM to Victoria sounds like a good idea.

Good luck!

priceless1
02-14-2009, 01:00 AM
The thing that bothers me about this particular scenario is that the agent didn't know more about this publisher before querying. For instance, we're weency, but I know the agents whose clients we signed investigated us before querying. Why waste everyone's time? They asked around, talked to other agents, got their feedback. They do this because they are always on the lookout for niche publishers, and they want to avoid surprises. It's a little scary these days to toss out a dart and not know where the bull's eye is.

Deb Kinnard
02-14-2009, 01:43 AM
Maybe this publisher contacted the agent, rather than the other way around? And I didn't get any sense from your posts that they'd seen YOUR project specifically. Maybe they were just shotgunning-?

All in all, it sounds more like a "book doctor" firm than any sort of publisher.