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Barb D
09-30-2009, 11:00 PM
If you get a reputable agent, what are the chances that you WON'T get a publisher?

And

If you get a reputable agent for your first book, what are the chances that said agent will not accept your second book?

I'm not looking for specific percentages, of course. More like, "It happens all time," or "never heard of such a thing."

- Barb, who has not yet been accepted OR rejected, and thus still has hope

DeleyanLee
09-30-2009, 11:07 PM
If you get a reputable agent, what are the chances that you WON'T get a publisher?

More often than any writer probably wants it to. Having an agent isn't a guarantee of publication, though it does put you closer to the target.


If you get a reputable agent for your first book, what are the chances that said agent will not accept your second book?

Depends on whether the agent is interested in your career or that book. If they're career-oriented, then they'll likely take several books from you and try to place them, only finally dropping you as a client if nothing sells over a period of time (whatever their personal limit is).

suki
09-30-2009, 11:14 PM
If you get a reputable agent, what are the chances that you WON'T get a publisher?

And

If you get a reputable agent for your first book, what are the chances that said agent will not accept your second book?

I'm not looking for specific percentages, of course. More like, "It happens all time," or "never heard of such a thing."

- Barb, who has not yet been accepted OR rejected, and thus still has hope

It happens. Both. Not sure of how often, but a lot of books don't sell, even with good agents. Sometimes they can be sold later, after the writer has had something else published or at a better time in the market, but some books never sell.

And often agents don't agree to rep all books a writer writes...that happens. Even if all the books are in a genre the agent represents, sometimes an agent just doesn't think a book is strong enough or right for the market. How often that happens I don't know, but it does happen.

~suki

MsGneiss
09-30-2009, 11:16 PM
I have a very good agent, and still, no publisher, although some are still considering it. Chances are pretty high, although I doubt you'll get anything in the way of actual statistics here. As I mentioned in another thread a short while ago, it is my belief that agents are much more likely to "take a chance" on a new author than editors, since editors are very much accountable to those cold and calculating souls in marketing.

Disclaimer: bitter agented author without a publisher, so take the above as you will.

Ken
09-30-2009, 11:26 PM
... refusing to adhere to your decree, I will quote percentages anyway! ;-)
About a year or two ago, I read that 60-65% of agented manuscripts end up being sold to publishers. If an agent sells your first book I'd suppose it is highly likely they'll rep your second, so long as it rates fairly well. Having a successful track record is alluring to publishers, and agents can make use of that when pitching a client's stuff.

stormie
09-30-2009, 11:27 PM
It ups your chances of getting your book published by having an agent, but then again, you and the agent should be able to work well together. And of course, no agent is better than a bad agent.

And yes, an agent can say, "Nope, I don't like your second book. Write a third." Even after spending a year on the second one. (This particular agent couldn't sell my first book with him, looked at only the synopsis and first two chapters of the second, then wouldn't look at it until it was completed and thoroughly polished and ready to go. Then--"Nope.") BUT you can submit that second book to publishers that allow unagented mss.

maestrowork
09-30-2009, 11:45 PM
Having an agent is not a guarantee for sales. It's just part of the process, an essential process, but not guaranteed -- some may even bypass the agent part and deal directly with publishers. Some people believe that once you've got an agent, it's smooth sailing from then on. It's just not true.

As for reps, the agent may find your other book(s) unmarketable, or in a market he or she's not familiar with or can't place, or the market condition has changed. Basically the agent-author relationship is a mutually beneficial one, and when the cost outweighs the benefit, they may part ways.

DeadlyAccurate
10-01-2009, 04:38 AM
I have a very good agent but no publisher.

jclarkdawe
10-01-2009, 06:14 AM
If you get a reputable agent, what are the chances that you WON'T get a publisher? I've heard figures of around 50% so Ken's numbers seem reasonable. But guess what? The statistics only matter if it happens to you.

I found a good agent for THE NEXT STEP. It was submitted to the biggies and good editors. Nearly all of the editors like the writing. Unfortunately, the story moves too slowly. And none of them were seeing any solution to the problem.

My agent stopped submitting it because we were getting the same answer. And we both understand the problem.

And

If you get a reputable agent for your first book, what are the chances that said agent will not accept your second book? I had another story called THE PICTURE. My agent doesn't like it because it seems to be YA and if so, it's too long in her opinion. (In retrospect, I've decided that if it is YA, then the book is too long.) We discussed a new idea that eventually became GEORGE'S STORY. My writing in it just is not that good and it's got a couple of plot problems. She rejected it.

I'm not looking for specific percentages, of course. More like, "It happens all time," or "never heard of such a thing."

- Barb, who has not yet been accepted OR rejected, and thus still has hope

Agent and I discussed the situation. So what I've been doing is going back through THE NEXT STEP. On submission, it had shrunk to 48k. I've taken out about another 8k that doesn't work with the 38k I've added. Lot more plot and action than the original. I'm now into editing it and turning it into a good book (I hope). When I get done, my agent is willing to look at it.

She has faith in my writing (which is more than I have some days). I have faith in her ability to sell a good book.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

blacbird
10-01-2009, 11:34 AM
Having an agent is not a guarantee for sales.

Having no sales doesn't much help getting an agent, though.

caw

wrtaway
10-01-2009, 12:51 PM
I got an agent with my first novel; she tried to sell it for a year, and then we gave up. In the hopes of getting SOMETHING published I pulled together a nonfiction proposal based on my previous career. That book sold within two weeks! On top of this, my agent does not normally rep NF.

So, my situation is probably not the norm, but my take is that once an agent takes you on, it's usually in his or her best interest to rep future books if at all possible.

Nakhlasmoke
10-01-2009, 02:28 PM
Happens all the time.

Or at least, there's no guarantee that a well-respected agent is going to sell your book. There are many of us in purgatory or submission hell who get together regularly to drown our woe in gin.

ChaosTitan
10-01-2009, 07:24 PM
Having no sales doesn't much help getting an agent, though.

caw

But it's been proved again and again on these boards (and elsewhere) that having no sales doesn't hurt, either.

erinbee
10-01-2009, 07:49 PM
Nope, not a guarantee. My first book died in marketing after a long submission process. The great news is that my agent stuck with me and we sold my next book three years later.

blacbird
10-01-2009, 09:40 PM
But it's been proved again and again on these boards (and elsewhere) that having no sales doesn't hurt, either.

Having no sales may not kill (obviously some people get an agent with no sales record), but I guess I'll disagree that it doesn't hurt, at least with some agents. Otherwise, why would they all ask for previous credits?

caw

YAwriter72
10-01-2009, 09:46 PM
Of all the agents I queried including the ones who asked for fulls, none asked for previous credits and my agent never asked if I'd been published before when he signed me.

OP, getting the agent was the easy part for me. I have one book out on sub, talked with agent and we decided to polish another I had finished to get out there too, and I am working on three others under his direction. I am basically writing and he's submitting until we get a bite!

ink wench
10-01-2009, 10:09 PM
Having no sales may not kill (obviously some people get an agent with no sales record), but I guess I'll disagree that it doesn't hurt, at least with some agents. Otherwise, why would they all ask for previous credits?

cawI wonder why myself, seeing as I have none and I did have a few agents specifically ask about prior sales or experience. Yet my answer didn't stop those agents from requesting material or one of them from offering to rep me.

ChaosTitan
10-01-2009, 10:24 PM
Having no sales may not kill (obviously some people get an agent with no sales record), but I guess I'll disagree that it doesn't hurt, at least with some agents. Otherwise, why would they all ask for previous credits?

caw

Why wouldn't they ask, though?

If you were considering someone for a position, even if you advertised "no prior experience required," wouldn't you want to know if they had prior experience? For your own knowledge, if no other reason?

Sure, it helps to be able to say "I've published eighteen short stories is X Magazine in the last two years," but short stories are not novels. Short story sales won't necessarily increase your chances of being picked up by an agent. Maybe it even helps to say "My novel was released by Medium-Sized Press last year," but unless it sold relatively well, it won't increase your chances, either.

Not all previous credits are made equal, or are seen equally in the eyes of an agent. But knowledge is useful, so they ask.

happywritermom
10-01-2009, 10:38 PM
You people are feeding my fears!!!
I have only so many fingernails left to bite!

Ken
10-01-2009, 11:48 PM
... how impressed agents are with writing credits and curriculum vitaes, etc, is something only agents could answer for sure. And since none of us are agents, all opinions offered here remain speculative and should be presented across as such. Otherwise our opinions may be taken with more authority than justified, with the potential to lead members astray if we happen to be wrong. The solution is simple: posts suffixed with 'imo.' Imo.

As to writing credits, my own view is that they figure in, some. So alongside writing manuscripts it pays to submit to magazines and lit journals. Being able to say you've had a story published in the Atlantic Monthly or Paris Review will most definitely work in a writers favor, imo. And agents and eds do scout through these pubs in search of clients. Happened to someone here I know.

Saskatoonistan
10-02-2009, 04:07 PM
I have a very good publisher, but no agent ... yet. Sigh...:flag:

maestrowork
10-02-2009, 06:33 PM
Having no sales doesn't much help getting an agent, though.

caw

First-time authors get agents all the time.

ChaosTitan
10-02-2009, 09:50 PM
First-time authors get agents all the time.

I swear to God, I'm going to ask Mac to make this a banner headline on this site. :e2hammer:

Ton Lew Lepsnaci
10-02-2009, 11:46 PM
... refusing to adhere to your decree, I will quote percentages anyway! ;-)
About a year or two ago, I read that 60-65% of agented manuscripts end up being sold to publishers. If an agent sells your first book I'd suppose it is highly likely they'll rep your second, so long as it rates fairly well. Having a successful track record is alluring to publishers, and agents can make use of that when pitching a client's stuff.

That's an encouraging percentage. Putting my fate in the agent's ability to sell. I guess I'm an incurable optimist :)

Ton.