PDA

View Full Version : Moved to Roundtable: If I have an offer from a publisher, do I need an agent?



the perfect geese
09-17-2009, 03:43 PM
Miracle of miracles, it looks like an offer from a large publisher dropped from the sky. I don't have an agent - should I get one?

Also, if I need to get one quickly, how easy is it to get representation from even one of the top agents out there? Would a simple telephone call to them be appropriate? And if it is easy and appropriate to do so, do I risk getting an agent (even a good one) who is more passionate about the easy "sell" than the book itself?

Final question:anyone know of a good agent passionate about multi-ethnic YA?

Christine N.
09-17-2009, 04:03 PM
I don't want to appear rude, but WHICH publisher? I ask because it makes a difference. Most large publishers in the US don't take unsolicited submissions.

If it truly is a large publisher, then yes. There are some "large, small" publishers where it won't matter, but you'd probably do well to have an intellectual property attorney specializing in fiction book contracts look over the contract.

Saskatoonistan
09-17-2009, 04:08 PM
I don't want to appear rude, but WHICH publisher? I ask because it makes a difference. Most large publishers in the US don't take unsolicited submissions..

Indeed. Cover thy butt.

YAwriter72
09-17-2009, 04:08 PM
It depends on if you are only writing this one book or if you want a career. IMO this is a great spot to be in, because you are more likey to get an agents attention now, and then they will rep any subsequent books you write. Some people feel like why bother, you did all the work and now why should you hand over 15% to someone who did nothing, but if your eye is towards the future, its a smart step to take.

You would send a letter to you top few agents similar to a query, but tell them you have an offer from XYZ Publishing and would they be interested in representing you.

YAwriter72
09-17-2009, 04:11 PM
I don't want to appear rude, but WHICH publisher? I ask because it makes a difference. Most large publishers in the US don't take unsolicited submissions.



There are actually quite a few big houses in the US that take unagented submissions. Especially for YA. Unsolicited and unagented are totally different, btw. You can query a lot of them, but they do not want you to send them an unsolicited MS if they don't ask.

Perks
09-17-2009, 04:19 PM
I think we're all flinching in hopes that this 'big' publisher isn't Publish America. They love to go on and on about how BIG they are.

If it's a St. Martins or a Harper Collins or a Knopf or some such, then yes, call a reputable agent ASAP. He or she will shepherd you through the contract process and, from what I've heard, your 15% will have been very well spent.


Good luck! (And congratulations!)

waylander
09-17-2009, 06:12 PM
Jennifer Laughran who posts regularly on this site specialises in YA/childrens

Erin
09-17-2009, 06:23 PM
You would send a letter to you top few agents similar to a query, but tell them you have an offer from XYZ Publishing and would they be interested in representing you.

I won't repeat some of the advice you've gotten here, however, I wouldn't snail mail a letter--that could take forever. I'd send email with a pertinent subject line to catch their attention and differentiate from a query, i.e. "Offer from XYZ Publisher" or some such.

Congrats on the offer!!

YAwriter72
09-17-2009, 06:31 PM
I won't repeat some of the advice you've gotten here, however, I wouldn't snail mail a letter--that could take forever. I'd send email with a pertinent subject line to catch their attention and differentiate from a query, i.e. "Offer from XYZ Publisher" or some such.

That's what I meant! LOL I only ever e-queried, so my "send a letter" actually meant, send an email! Does anyone send letters by mail anymore?

Erin
09-17-2009, 06:36 PM
That's what I meant! LOL I only ever e-queried, so my "send a letter" actually meant, send an email! Does anyone send letters by mail anymore?

I thought you meant that! But I just wanted to clarify for the OP. :)

Actually, there are still agents who only take snail mail.

Perks
09-17-2009, 06:36 PM
Yeah, at the point of having an offer, you could even jump the fence and call their offices.

DeadlyAccurate
09-17-2009, 07:27 PM
Yeah, at the point of having an offer, you could even jump the fence and call their offices.

Unless they specifically say on their blog or site to do so, I'd still go with an email. I think my agent said on her blog non-clients are not to call her even if you have an offer.

I'll try to find where she said that on her blog.

ETA: This (http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2009/07/no-you-dont-know-me-well-enough-to-call.html) was the closest I could find, though I could've sworn there was another one that specifically mentioned people with offers. Or maybe I need more caffeine today.

James D. Macdonald
09-17-2009, 07:48 PM
Miracle of miracles, it looks like an offer from a large publisher dropped from the sky. I don't have an agent - should I get one?

Yes. There's still lots to negotiate (subrights etc.) The boilerplate contracts even from the biggest publishers contain clauses that are less advantageous for the authors. There are still your subsequent books and career to look out for.


Also, if I need to get one quickly, how easy is it to get representation from even one of the top agents out there?
With an offer in hand from a major publisher, you're in the best shape you've ever been in.


Would a simple telephone call to them be appropriate?

A phone call is appropriate. Call your number one dream agent. If he or she says no, call your #2. I bet you won't get to #3.

And if it is easy and appropriate to do so, do I risk getting an agent (even a good one) who is more passionate about the easy "sell" than the book itself?
Writers who are good enough to sell to major publishers have a rare ability. They'll be interested in your career. (If you choose a good agent.)


Final question:anyone know of a good agent passionate about multi-ethnic YA?
Who represents your favorite authors?

triceretops
09-17-2009, 07:49 PM
Christine is correct--this hinges entirely on WHO this publisher is. You can forget small press POD right off the handle. The size of the advance comes into play too.

Tri

scope
09-17-2009, 09:35 PM
I suggest you follow the advice given to you by James, but before doing anything, understand and play by the ground rules mentioned ny triceretops and others -- that is, everything hinges on WHO this "large" publisher is. Wisely you ask for advice, but without knowing the publisher it's next to impossible to do anything more than generalize.

Christine N.
09-17-2009, 09:56 PM
I think we're all flinching in hopes that this 'big' publisher isn't Publish America. They love to go on and on about how BIG they are.

If it's a St. Martins or a Harper Collins or a Knopf or some such, then yes, call a reputable agent ASAP. He or she will shepherd you through the contract process and, from what I've heard, your 15% will have been very well spent.


Good luck! (And congratulations!)

Pretty much. Which is why I said I didn't want to sound rude. I don't assume the everyone is a newbie, but also don't assume that every offer from a large publisher is legit either.

Phaeal
09-17-2009, 10:03 PM
Yup, I'd make up my top ten list of agents and start calling them, dreamiest of dream agents first. State right off: "I have an offer from Blankety Blank House for my novel. Would you consider representing me?"

I'd also have a list of questions ready, because I'd be sure to be so excited I'd be stuttering all over the place. Maybe I'd even write down my answers to questions the agent would likely ask, you know, like, what's the title of the book? is it part of a series? what else have you done? what are you looking to do in the future?

;)

Darzian
09-17-2009, 10:16 PM
I suggest you follow the advice given to you by James, but before doing anything, understand and play by the ground rules mentioned ny triceretops and others -- that is, everything hinges on WHO this "large" publisher is. Wisely you ask for advice, but without knowing the publisher it's next to impossible to do anything more than generalize.

And I'd recommend you to follow this advice as well as the advice you've been encouraged to follow in this advice.