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View Full Version : How to get an agent if you already have a contract with a publisher?



nitaworm
06-27-2009, 06:55 AM
Lucky friend of mine has a deal with a small press publisher, but has no agent. He is considering not pursuing gaining an agent at this time. He said after sending out over a hundred queries and getting no bites, he doesn't want an agent cutting into his profits after he has done all the work. Should he? How?

KTC
06-27-2009, 06:57 AM
Your friend should have taken the contract to an agent prior to signing. You can approach a publisher without an agent...especially a small press. But if they offer you a contract...that's the time to approach an agent if you want one...when you have the unsigned contract in your hand.

An agent can get you a bigger deal. If so, you could still make more after his/her cut.

nitaworm
06-27-2009, 07:05 AM
Oh, I don't think that is so easy. He tried querying agents and they didn't respond. I don't believe he wants to wait for them. He did go talk to a lawyer who reviewed the contract with him and already negotiated the terms he wanted. I'll pass it on, but I don't that what you told me is enough to convince him that its worth his time at this point.

KTC
06-27-2009, 07:16 AM
Oh, I don't think that is so easy. He tried querying agents and they didn't respond. I don't believe he wants to wait for them. He did go talk to a lawyer who reviewed the contract with him and already negotiated the terms he wanted. I'll pass it on, but I don't that what you told me is enough to convince him that its worth his time at this point.


It doesn't matter. It's a moot point if the contract is signed and returned to the publisher.

I answered because I'm close to this exact point. I have a novel with a publisher who seems interested. I spoke to an agent...she said that if I get a contract offer come see her. I just answered based on that. The agent said COME SEE ME BEFORE YOU SIGN. It is hard to get an agent. I know this. But the agent I spoke with said it's a hell of a lot easier to get an agent if you already have a contract offer.

suki
06-27-2009, 08:04 AM
Oh, I don't think that is so easy. He tried querying agents and they didn't respond. I don't believe he wants to wait for them. He did go talk to a lawyer who reviewed the contract with him and already negotiated the terms he wanted. I'll pass it on, but I don't that what you told me is enough to convince him that its worth his time at this point.

You're right, a contract in hand won't be an automatic, but it can really open doors - ie, agents much more willing to consider a potential client with a contract in hand.

And with a medium to large publisher, and especially a contract from one of the big name publishers, an agent will generally be able to negotiate an increase in advance sufficient to cover the 15% commission.

So, if your friend wants an agent for his future career, having an unsigned contract in hand can really improve his chances of landing one. And it's not really about what the agent can get on this deal, but landing one when you are more attractive for future books.

But, if it's a small press, chances are there is little wiggle room on the advance, and then it's not really likely to entice an agent. Is the advance less than $5,000? Then my take is that it is unlikely to entice an agent.

Plus, if your friend has already had a lawyer negotiate the terms, it will be hard to bring in yet another advocate without blowing the deal, IMO.

So, for future reference, I'd tell him to seek an agent with offer in hand, if the offer is from a press with room to negotiate and IF your friend wants an agent for future career guidance.

tell your friend good luck.

~suki